Review: Heartstopper Vol. 4

Heartstopper Cover –

Katie Wilson

The coming-of-age graphic novel series, Heartstopper, written by New York Times Bestselling author, Alice Oseman, is about Nick and Charlie, their coming out, and their relationship. If you have yet to read the first three books in this series, do not continue reading as there are major spoilers ahead. In this volume, the topic of mental illness is finally discussed, after being teased in prior novels. Charlie suffers from anorexia and has a challenging time admitting it to himself, let alone anyone else. While Charlie figures out how to tell his parents he needs help, Nick attempts to figure out how to ‘fix’ Charlie, because he feels he can’t sit on the sidelines.

The number one thing I love about the Heartstopper series is that you don’t need to purchase them or find them in a library to read them. All you need is a device that has access to the internet! Oseman has the series available via PDF on three websites: Tapas, Tumblr, and Webtoon. On Patreon, you can financially support the series if you have the means.

Oseman has made it known she wanted this series to showcase struggles with mental health disorders that are overlooked. The fourth novel has the most representation overall. All topics include but are not limited to anorexia, self-harm, OCD, and bullying. Oseman brings a light that shines on these intense topics but displays them in a bright way that doesn’t bring down the mood of the book. Although, in the content warnings for these books, these topics are brought up, but not accurately portrayed. As the topics were stated, the fourth novel has severe mentions of anorexia and OCD, past mentions of bullying, and current references to self-harm, but no pictures are shown of the actions. I wish these content warnings were more descriptive, so as not shy anyone away from the novel.

What I loved about volume four, is that it shows the perspective of the other partner in a relationship who supports their partner with a mental illness. While most of the time Nick feels like he can ‘fix’ a mental illness, he comes to realize that Charlie can’t simply ‘be fixed’. A mental illness is chronic, meaning it may never fully go away or ‘be cured’. I love that we get to see Nick come to terms with not being able to help, but still being the most supportive partner he can be to Charlie.

Oseman has created a new title, The Heartstopper Yearbook, which is set to release on October 13, 2022. The Heartstopper Yearbook is a collection of colorful, never before seen content: illustrations, an exclusive mini-comic, character profiles, trivia, and much more.

The yearbook is not the only new release in the Heartstopper Universe. Heartstopper the TV show is coming to Netflix April 22, 2022! The final volume, Heartstopper Vol. 5, is also set to be released February 2, 2023! The fandom is thrilled to have upcoming dates for all of these new and exciting Heartstopper items!

Overall, Nick and Charlie have one of the healthiest relationships depicted in the YA media. Volume four is my general favorite Heartstopper novel, and it is bittersweet to see the wonderful series come to an end next year.