Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the enormously popular new Netflix television show, Heartstopper. This show is based on a series of graphic novels of the same name, written by Alice Oseman, which are now also wildly popular (and continually running out of stock everywhere!)
Given all the hoopla surrounding the television series, which was just renewed for two more seasons, I’m rather proud to admit that I read the graphic novels two or three years ago when they first released in the U.S. I found them absolutely charming, and I added them to my small collection of graphic novels (that includes The Magic Fish, The Prince and the Dress Maker, Blankets, Witch Boy, and Bloom, all of which I can highly recommend because, well, I read them and kept them in my library to re-read!)
Many have probably been wondering What’s So Heart-Stopping About Heartstopper!? What the television show has brought to light is just how badly this story was needed, not only for young people today, but perhaps even more so for those of us Millennials and Gen X’ers (and even the elders) who never got to see ourselves in normal, adorable, cutesy stories of any medium. If you’ve read my book, you know that there’s a lousy, long history of queer stories that end in tragedy. The tropes for LGBTQ-centered stories (that ever reached any popularity), usually reinforced a certain kind of homophobic morality by killing off the gay characters, either through illness, violence, or suicide. Most of us who grew up prior to the turn of the millennium and who went on secret hunts in our local libraries for any LGBTQ+ or near-LGBTQ+ novels we could find, were completely unsurprised to be confronted again and again with stories that were almost good for us, until the part where the gay people died. Again. And again.
What LGBTQ+ readers have been lacking for a very long time is a totally, unabashedly fairy tale-like romance. A story where, while not everything is perfect or easy, the gay (and bisexual and transgender) characters are treated simply as human beings with ordinary lives, facing ordinary challenges. Heartstopper certainly isn’t the first story to do this or to get it right, but the telling of it is uniquely charming and truly heartwarming, without nearly as much drama or moralizing or editorializing as has been common in stories like this one. It has resonated so profoundly not just because it’s sweet and not just because many of us read (or watch) it with a yearning for a “re-do” of our own high school years, but because we can recognize in it everything that needs to be protected now–the simple act of falling in “like” and of pursuing a crush, of living openly and authentically–things that are again being threatened all over the country.
I was absolutely delighted by the graphic novels. I was over-the-moon about the television series. And it’s a real joy to offer a complete set of all four graphic novels to subscribers of my blog, in celebration of Pride Month 2022!
All you need to do to be entered is complete this Rafflecopter!*
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Great giveaway! I’ve been meaning to read this series!
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I’m so glad you enjoyed this series. What I was particularly pleased about was the portrayal of the parents, they were neither horrified or ‘best friend’ but just caring and supportive. When Olivia Coleman recognised that her son was ‘more himself’ when he was with Charlie, I felt so grateful for her quiet understanding of her child.
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