Released on April 22, Heartstopper brings Alice Oseman’s graphic novel series to life.

Abby Lincks, Editor

The following review is spoiler-free.

Drawn from author Alice Oseman’s graphic novel series, Heartstopper follows teenagers Nick and Charlie as they try to navigate their growing feelings for each other. And, it’s absolutely phenomenal. 

Heartstopper, directed by Euros Lyn, released its first eight-episode season on April 22, now available on Netflix. The TV series is based on author Alice Oseman’s ongoing graphic novel series beginning in 2016. As the writer for each episode, Oseman creates a series that is incredibly similar to the novels, yet entertaining in an entirely new way. The Heartstopper graphic novels are phenomenal, and though book to series adaptations can be worrisome, the TV series does not disappoint. 

From an unexpected friendship to something more, Heartstopper follows teenagers Nick and Charlie as they try to navigate their growing feelings for each other. Additional themes of young love, mental health, identity, sexuality, school life and the anxiety-inducing transition from teen life to young adulthood, Heartstopper captures a state of in-between that feels crucial to finding out who we really are. 

The first season for the TV series covers the main plot of the two graphic novel volumes of Heartstopper. Presumably, if hopefully revived for another season, the TV series will cover the latest two. There are currently four volumes of Heartstopper available online and in print with Oseman actively releasing new chapters of volume five each month over Webtoon. Because Oseman chose to have the majority of the cherished novels’ content in the TV series, the storyline came to life beautifully, heightened with signature Oseman illustrations like her fluttering flowers, which can be seen surrounding the characters as moments of intense emotions are all-around. 

The casting for this series was phenomenal, from leads Kit Connor (“Nick”) and Joe Locke (“Charlie”) toside characters like William Gao (“Tao”), Corinna Brown (“Tara”) and Yasmin Finney (“Elle”). Unlike other popular TV series centered around teens, Heartstopper is ACTUALLY played by a teen to young adult aged cast. This made each scene seem all the more real and relatable from a teenage audience, like myself. Also, don’t forget about the wonderful Olivia Coleman as Nick’s mom (“Sarah Nelson”). 

Though the TV series had proven to do the graphic novels justice, there are some differences like tons more time dedicated to side characters, which aren’t as apparent in the novels. Contrary to a majority of Charlie and Nick, Tara and Darcy with Tao and Elle offer new perspectives unseen before. So, if you need a break from romance or a focus of two people, this show perfectly encapsulates why side characters are imperative to a story.

To sum up Hearstopper, the series is as if a wholesome storyline and refreshingly non-toxic relationships meet, whilst capturing struggles many teens can relate to. It genuinely made me smile all throughout. Oseman’s story manages to deal with difficult topics and stressful situations in a mature, healthy way whilst creating an environment that’s not engulfed with negatives. Definitely ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars for me.