Yes, I will listen to the rain. I will listen
to the mountain bird. Oh, a heartstopper is
the solitaire’s one note – high, sweet, lonely,
You hold your breath to listen… No… Gone.
What was I to say to her?
– Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
This. Is. The. Softest. Thing. I’ve. Ever. Read.
I haven’t stopped smiling since I finished this gorgeous webcomic.
Heartstopper, a free, queer webcomic by literal genius Alice Oseman, is about two boys falling in love: Charlie is fifteen and one of the only openly gay kids at an all boys grammar school in England; Nick is sixteen and on the rugby team and, for all intent and purposes, straight. The two boys sort-of know each other in the way you kind of know some kids in your year level, but become close when Charlie is put into a new form group. He is placed next to Nick … and the meet cute begins.
Honestly, every bit of this webcomic is so fluffy and pure. The plot is about these two soft boys slowly falling in love, while one of them, Nick, trying to understand his bisexuality. There’s so much tension, but no angst – the tension is in the waiting for them to realise they both like each other. And it’s wonderfully done.
What I absolutely adore, though, is the way the friends to lovers trope is developed. Friends to lovers is my second favourite trope – behind, of course, enemies to lovers – and to say this is the best representation of the trope that I have ever seen is a massive understatement. Charlie and Nick’s friendship starts off over friendly ‘hello’s’ in the morning, to Nick encouraging Charlie to join rugby, to Nick inviting Charlie over to meet his dog, to spending Easter holidays together … and develops from there. It’s a natural progression from friends to best friends to boyfriends, and it’s incredibly heartwarming. I just adore them.
In the ‘About’ page of the webcomic, Alice Oseman explains that Charlie and Nick are side characters in her debut novel, Solitaire. In the book, Charlie and Nick are already together, but they went through a difficult time getting there – namely, Charlie’s descent into mental illness and Nick helping him. This webcomic is the story of how they got together, set before the events of Solitaire. So far, you can see elements of Charlie’s illness, but nothing big has happened yet, and honestly, I’m terrified for it. But I know it has a happy ending, and I’m dying to see that. However, they also have a novella called Nick and Charlie, set just after Nick’s final year at school and before he has to go to uni, and it shows that everything is going to be ok, in the end.
I don’t know how much more I can say aside from PLEASE READ THIS WEBCOMIC. It’s adorable and sweet and will make you cry from happiness. I am anxiously anticipating the next update… and the one after that… and the one after that. I am also desperate for the physical copy.
Heartstopper is an ongoing webcomic. It updates on the 1st, 15th and 22nd of each month. Read it here.