Thursday, 21 May 2020

Review: Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman

The third volume in the Heartstopper series sees Charlie and Nick travel to Paris with a number of their friends on a school trip. There they are provided with new challenges, in particular Nick, who is slowly coming out as bisexual to his friends ... which in turn means that Charlie and Nick are slowly coming out as a couple. 

Heartstopper Volume 3 gets off to a strong start, but sadly fails to live up to its potential. In particular, a major plot line that involves Nick expressing a desire to come out to his dad, which is then followed by the revelation that his Dad lives in Paris, had a lot of potential, which is then squandered in a few short frames where [[[spoiler alert]]] Nick receives a phone call from his dad to say that he is too busy to catch up this week, and Nick just shrugs it off as though it is nothing and it's not like he and his dad live in different countries and he doesn't have something rather big and important to tell him, and that his reaction (good or bad) could help shape a part of the novel. I have a few other quibbles with the story, for example a subplot where two teachers hooked up on the trip felt somewhat superfluous in a YA novel. Even Charlie's eating disorder appeared to be mentioned purely for shock value, rather than offering readers any real insight into his behaviour or problems. There is a pleasing moment where Charlie stands up to a bully, which will be relatable to anyone who has been on the receiving end of extreme bullying. 

Overall, this felt less like a story that had been carefully constructed and more like a fan fiction featuring the same characters as the first two books in the series. There is no depth, no moments of great insight and no reason whatsoever for me to read on should there be a volume four.

Not really recommended.