Book Review – ‘Heartstopper : Volume Three’ (#3 Heartstopper) by Alice Oseman

Love is in the air with a field trip to Paris.

Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQIA+, Graphic Novel

No. of pages: 384

 The Heartstopper gang go on a school trip to Paris! Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private…

Meanwhile Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?

This volume of ‘Heartstopper’ just upped the adorable factor! We start to get developed side characters and their own arcs, there’s more complexity in the plot, and Charlie and Nick are facing greater challenges. Again this is not a self-encapsulated story, rather just an episode in the growing closeness of Charlie and Nick.

The representation is handled with kitten gloves, but does not water down the fears minority groups face. ‘Heartstopper’ still manages to encapsulate that innocent charm from the previous volumes.

’Heartstopper : Volume Three’ deals with more issues around Nick’s coming out to a wider circle of people, and the pair heading off on a school trip to Paris. There they also start to address intimacy, and how far they are willing to go… and getting close to using the ‘L’ word. It’s nice to read a story that builds the relationship at a more realistic pace and have frank honest discussions about becoming intimate, and comfort levels. It feels like such an intelligent approach and is a great example for today’s youth. I’m sick of the trope when teens get into relationships and weeks later (sometimes much sooner) they sleep together and it’s a magical experience and like a love they could never imagined. That is so unrealistic and robs the characters of being able to grow the foundations of real (loving and intimate) relationships.

Queer relationships from others characters in Charlie and Nick’s immediate circle are also getting air time in the narrative, again giving examples of the many different hues of the rainbow. Tao and Elle. Tara and Darcy. Mr. Ajayi and Mr. Farouk.

We also get a touch on the bullying that Nick suffers from his older brother, and I’m interested to see how the family is going to handle this issue. There is a little more about Charlie and his eating disorder. And the friendship dynamics the pair face in their separate friend circles. There is a lot to unpack from these graphic novels – Such a master of subtext and frank observations on the issues raised.

I’m loving the complexity and scope of this series now, and am eagerly ready to jump into Volume 4. Also with all the updates coming in about the screen adaptation by Netflix with casting and shots from filming on set, I’m incredibly eager to see what they churn out. Looks like we are getting eight 30 minute episodes, but no release date as yet.

Again, ‘Heartstopper : Volume Three’ was another quick paced tome I finished in about an hour. So sweet. I’ve become a major stan.

Overall feeling: Gushing over this!

© Casey Carlisle 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Heartstopper : Volume 2’ by Alice Oseman

A gentle tale of discovering feelings.

Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT, Graphic Novel

No. of pages: 320

Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie’s gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t.

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself.

I liked volume 2 more than the debut. There is still that overwhelming cuteness in the narrative that simply captures your heart. Nick and Charlie are adorable innocence personified.

In this sequel, we see Nick and Charlie grow closer and come out, forming friendships with other LBGTQIA+ youth. Where Vol. 1 deals more with Charlie’s anxiety over his feelings for Nick and worries about getting his heart broken; this edition deals with Nick coming to terms with his feelings and coming out to those close to him. It’s all about Nick sorting things out in his head.

Again another quick read, and it’s getting me to like the graphic novel medium. I recently heard that there is a screen adaptation underway, and I am really excited to see that comes to fruition.

The plot isn’t all that complicated, we get some resolution to an issue, but this is really an episode in a much bigger tale. So don’t expect any theatrics or magical reveals, ‘Heartstopper’ remains true to its core about LGBTQIA+ representation and the story of Charlie and Nick navigating the world and their relationship. We do get new introduced elements which will no doubt get explored in following editions of this series. And it all got me hooked!

The presentation of this story in graphic novel form lends to a fast paced storyline. It took me just over an hour to complete the novel in full. And ‘Heartstopper’ has got me wanting to venture into Alice Oseman’s back catalogue.

Again, the story is easy to predict, but we do get a few little bumps in the road that I did not foresee that were a joy to read.

There’s not a lot to say without spoiling or repeating what’s in Volume 2, it’s a sweet progression of Nick and Charlies love for each other that I found endearing. Love the rainbow representation and I’ll recommending this to all my friends. It’s also accessible to younger audiences, not only because of its medium, but because it tackles issues of identity and community in a gentle way.

Overall feeling: Beautiful.

© Casey Carlisle 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Heartstopper : Volume 1’ by Alice Oseman

Heart-warming innocence.

Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT, Graphic Novel

No. of pages: 278

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…

I was encouraged to pick this up from many, many of my friends recommending this. I’m not one to read a lot of illustrated novels, but ‘Heartstopper’ is charming in its innocence. We meet Charlie, an out gay year 10 student who gets paired with a year 11 student, Nick in peer group for school. They become friends and need to learn to navigate their new feelings and what they mean. Charlie is determined not to fall for a straight boy, and Nick is surprised by his attraction to Charlie.

‘Heartstopper’ is cute! The story is paired back and sticks to the main storyline without too much dramatics. I’ve read manga in the past, where it’s melodramatic and packs a lot into the narrative – ‘Heartstopper’ keeps the main couple in its crosshairs from start to finish. In this fashion, I found the novel to be a little, well, plain. I wanted stronger emotion and some more plot. But I guess that is the charm of ‘Heartstopper,’ it’s a light romance of two boys finding each other in high school.

We get some character development from both boys, it’s not a lot, but enough to have me invested in their story and I have already ordered the rest of the published volumes to find out what happens next.

The illustrations are expressive and have a stylistic grungy aspect to set it apart from the common manga fare. I kind of wanted a more finished look on the page though – but that is a personal preference on my behalf. ‘Heartstopper’ is a happy addition to my library.

Because of the graphic novel treatment I flew through this novel in about an hour, the scenes weren’t too emotional and the characterisation in the illustrations didn’t really have me starting at the page to soak up tone or additional undertones in the scenes. This is paired back, simple, fitting of quiet and understated Charlie and Nick’s slow burn relationship.

It ends on a cliff hanger, so be prepared to invest in this series as a whole.

If you like queer stories and graphic novels without all the melodrama than this one is for you. Excited to hear it is being adapted for a Netflix series and eager to see their take on Charlie and Nick’s story.

Overall feeling: First kiss angst!

© Casey Carlisle 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘New Moon : The Graphic Novel Part 1’ by Stephenie Meyer & Young Kim

Revived my excitement, but smelt like a wet dog in places.

New Moon Graphic Novel Vol 1 Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Fantasy, Romance

No. of pages: 160

From Goodreads:

In the first installment of New Moon, Bella and Edward find themselves facing new obstacles, including a devastating separation, the mysterious appearance of dangerous wolves roaming the forest in Forks, a terrifying threat of revenge from a female vampire and a deliciously sinister encounter with Italy’s reigning royal family of vampires: the Volturi. 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

Continuing with my journey to revisit the Twilight saga story again in graphic novel form, New Moon Part 1 gave me a lonely, fragile, yet funny version of Bella.

The illustrations were great, but lacked the climatic effect that the two Twilight volumes did. Most of the graphics were black and white with the exception of two or three short scenes. This volume lacked to capture the tone as effectively as I have come to expect. After Bella discovers Edward has left, I wanted to see her state of mind reflected more in the artwork, but this aspect of the story was glossed over. For something that impacted me so heavily in the novel and film versions, I was left feeling let down. The black and white drawn in grey shades, when I’d have liked it to be represented more visually desperate than a white-wash treatment.

With that said, I still liked the darkness – the more sinister aspects of the storyline: the wolves, Laurent, Victoria. While the movies only hinted at this, in the novel it was meant to make you feel uncomfortable, or in the least, shiver. The artwork here captures the impact more in the tone of the novel, and I enjoyed getting more tension for Bella than I had from the film franchise.

Though, my favourite pages from this volume would have to be the end pages, which I feel really captured the soul of the first half of New Moon – desolate, haunting and dark.

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So while I appreciated the artwork, the story felt flat. Admittedly there was a lot of detail in there that I did not expect, but there was something about it that failed to punch in its weight class. Possibly because some of my expectations went unmet.

Really looking forward to Volume 2 later this year. And upon searching the internet, it doesn’t appear Young Kim is continuing with the series. Sad. I’d really like to see where her illustrations could have taken the saga.

Overall feeling: A little shy of the mark, but wistful.

New Moon Graphic Novel Vol 1 Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

New Moon Graphic Novel Vol 1 Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Book Review – ‘Twilight : The Graphic Novel Part 2’ by Stephenie Meyer & Young Kim

The hues of Twilight dance and glimmer in another great installment to the franchise.

Twilight Graphic Novel Part 2 Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Fantasy, Romance

No. of pages: 240

From Goodreads:

Having uncovered the dark secret of her enigmatic classmate, Edward Cullen, Bella Swan embraces her feelings for him, trusting Edward to keep her safe despite the risks. When a rival clan of vampires makes its way into Forks, though, the danger to Bella has never been more real. Will she make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the people dearest to her? 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

Loving the artwork and new incarnation on the book that jumpstarted my reading and writing enthusiasm, I enjoyed ‘Twilight The Graphic Novel Volume 2’ more than the first volume.

My favourite scenes include the backstory of The Cullens (Carlisle and Edward) – the flashback was illustrated incredibly well. Also, I practically devoured the final fight scene and the parts of the original manuscript that were used, the reveal was done fantastically.

Twilight Graphic Novel Part 2 Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpgThe use of colour in the fashbacks was a masterful touch, as to was the blur effect when Bella went under sedation. It is wonderful to explore ‘Twilight’ again in illustrated form.

Colour in the final scene felt a little washed out – I guess it was symbolising “twilight” but I wanted to be dazzled like I was in the meadow scene from Volume 1. This felt a little lack lustre for the climax of the story. Additionally, the tone this version of ‘Twilight’ ended on was a little cheesy.

But Volume 2 definitely captured more of the essence of ‘Twilight’ that was missing from Volume 1. We get the comedy and sarcasm, as well as some of the darker moments – and that was something I was praying for… thank heavens to betsy ;p

Again another fantastic addition to any twi-hard collection.

Overall feeling: Magical memories

Twilight Graphic Novel Part 2 Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Twilight Graphic Novel Part 2 Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Twilight : The Graphic Novel Part 1’ by Stephenie Meyer & Young Kim

Revisiting a classic never looked so good.

Twilight Graphic Novel Part 1 Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Fantasy, Romance

No. of pages: 224

From Goodreads:

When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret… 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

This brought me back to my first ‘Twilight’ experience. The movies are great, but as an adaptation there are many differences to the narrative of the book. This version remains faithful to the original story line I was first introduced to.

The illustrations are beautiful and depicted in a way that more fits the descriptions imagined by Stephenie Meyer. I could gaze at them all day. It is primarily in black and white, with a few colour pages at key points in the story where colour makes artistic sense.

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The story itself though, (because realistically we can’t use all the material,) felt flat. A lot of the humour and angst got cut out, the novel being squashed down to a couple of pages of dialogue… so if you have not read the original book, you’ll not have a very high opinion of ‘Twilight The Graphic Novel Part 1.’ It is also the reason I deducted a point – it felt like part of the soul of ‘Twilight’ had been ripped out. I’d recommend this more for fans, who what to enrich their experience, or revisit the novel in a different medium.

I liked the reveal (climax) for this first volume, the way it was drawn and the parts of the story Young Kim used was masterful. It gave a new edge to the events that happen in ‘Twilight.’

The dust jackets are cute how they match up to a larger poster for volumes 1 & 2. And I’ll be reviewing Part 2 soon.

Definitely recommend this for all Twilight fans.

Overall feeling: Still in love

Twilight Graphic Novel Part 1 Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Twilight Graphic Novel Part 1 Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.