I’m thrilled that Heartstopper vol. 3 is finally out – since the cover reveal I’ve been pretty excited to get my hands on it. Despite keeping up to date with the webcomic updates, I always like to read the physical copy so that I can A) support the author, and B) relive the joys of one of my favourite comics all over again!
Please note that this volume of Heartstopper does contain some content that may be triggering to some readers, including mentions of self harm and eating disorders. Please take care when reading this one.
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…?
Things get a little more concrete in this volume, with Nick and Charlie cementing themselves as boyfriends and discussing how to go about their future, which includes whether they feel confident enough to come out to anyone as a couple. It’s lovely to see how gentle they are together and how they ensure that they’re on the same page before doing anything! What I love so much about Heartstopper is that it’s showing readers what a loving and healthy relationship looks like – there is trust between partners, lots of talking and they really look out for each other! It’s absolutely what’s needed in books right now.
As well as handfuls of bravery and tons of adorably cute scenes between Nick and Charlie, we also get some insight into the other characters who make up the world of Heartstopper. Aled drops hints about who he has a crush on, Tao and Elle are taking small but certain steps towards finally talking about their feelings, and we learn more about Tara and Darcy as they share their own first hurdles of their relationship. It’s great to always have this constant character growth from the supporting characters, as it lets us see how truly important these people are to Nick and Charlie.
The art style, as ever, is beautiful, and we’re treated to some real gems of panels – the page near the end that is half made up of Nick and Charlie’s joined hands is so pretty with the petals flowing around them. We’re also treated to some amazing backgrounds of Paris!
As well as happiness, Heartstopper 3 deals with some heavier topics. Nick’s brother is insistent on being biphobic to his brother, and we also see how Nick is affected by his dad not making more of an effort to see him. We also get more hints towards Charlie having an eating disorder, and how lightly he brushes things off while Nick is very obviously concerned. It’s definitely important to have these topics in a book like Heartstopper, as they can be tackled maturely. This book series is such an important one for many reasons, but this is just another reason why I love it so much and am thrilled that it’s being read by so many teenagers.
Final thoughts: Another warm and welcoming journey with Nick & Charlie. 5/5