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Review: Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman

TW/CW: eating disorder - discussion, behavior, and one scene in which a character passes out, reference to past self-harm (cutting), references to past bullying, and homophobia

Synopsis: In this volume we’ll see 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…?

Thoughts: The great thing about the Heartstopper series is they're available online for FREE. You don't have to wait for the physical copies. However, I highly recommend them because they're so wholesome. On the surface Heartstopper is about two boys discovering their sexual identity and falling in love. But you know the infamous iceberg picture where the surface of the iceberg looks big until you see everything hidden below the surface? Heartstopper is like that. Yes, Nick and Charlie are completely adorable, but the challenges they face are real.

In this third volume we get to see Nick and Charlie officially together and head over heels in love with one another. There's lots of kissing and cute moments shared between the two. They head to Paris on a school trip which sets the perfect stage to explore the struggles of newfound love, especially for young queer couples. One of the main topics explored is finding the right time to come out to their family and friends.

There's this idea that if you're not straight, you HAVE to tell all your family and friends immediately, like you owe it to them. But you don't. You don't have to do anything until you're ready.

Not only does Heartstopper have a diverse cast (gay, bi, trans, etc.), but it sheds a light on serious matters. Nick notices that Charlie is not eating much. He remains supportive but is also concerned. In one scene Charlie passes out. Please practice self care and avoid reading if you will be triggered by this content. Charlie also confesses to Nick that he has self harmed in the past. While utterly heartbreaking to read Oseman does an excellent job of handling these moments with the utmost care and precision.

If you've been putting this webcomic off, now is the perfect time to try it out! Celebrate Pride month by reading about Nick and Charlie and as a special bonus you get a Tao/Elle mini comic in this 3rd volume.

Rating: ★★★★★