Graphic by Elise Bechtel
By Megan Shipston
Happy holidays, Dolphins! I cannot believe the semester is almost over and I hope everyone will do well on their finals! With winter break upon us, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite authors, Alice Oseman, and introduce you to her work! During breaks, I love to read books that are fun, easy and heartwarming to allow my brain some rest before a new semester. Oseman’s novels do exactly that and highlight the importance of friendships and not allowing societal expectations to define you or your future. I want to highlight her graphic novel series and my two favorite novels from her.
What is the Osemanverse?
Oseman currently has 10 published works. These include four volumes in the “Heartstopper” series: “Radio Silence,” “Loveless,” “I Was Born for This,” “Solitaire” and its spin off novellas “This Winter” and “Nick and Charlie.” So, why are all of these novels and graphic novels collectively called the Osemanverse? Well, all these books are connected! Each book takes place in the same universe, and many characters from her novels make appearances in her other novels. Some examples of this would be that the main character’s brother in “Solitaire” is the main character of “Heartstopper.” Or a main character of “Radio Silence” appears in “Heartstopper” and is referenced in “Loveless.”
Now, does this mean you have to read the books in a certain order? Nope! These little crossovers are just Easter eggs for fans of her work and do not impact any of the stories. The best way to read her books is to start with the one that sounds the most interesting to you. However, if you are interested in reading the novels in a chronological order, the timeline Oseman created herself is linked here.
“I like Charlie Spring! In a romantic way, not just in a friend way!” Volume 2, Page 536
First, we will start with her graphic novel series “Heartstopper.” This story follows a 15-year-old boy named Charlie Spring and his relationship with Nick Nelson. We get to watch their relationship begin and how it matures as they get older. We are also introduced to a whole cast of characters who have their own storylines interwoven throughout the series. “Heartstopper”is the definition of a comfort read and I always find myself picking up these novels whenever I need to smile.
While “Heartstopper” does deal with serious topics such as bullying, homophobia, depression, eating disorders and self-harm, I never felt like Oseman was glorifying any of these. I liked that she never shied away from the struggles her characters face as LGBTQ+ youth. However, these are never the center point of the story and instead she highlights their joy and triumph over everything else. At the end of the day, these graphic novels are a story about Nick and Charlie and their group of friends finding love, friendship and happiness and I could not recommend it enough. (Also go check out the award-winning Netflix series after you are done!)
I hope this list gave you some ideas on what your next read could be! All Oseman’s books are amazing in their own way and have a diverse set of characters that go through the same struggles that many of us do. Reading books with characters that we can relate to can help us feel less alone and that’s exactly how I think Oseman’s books have made a lot of people feel. I hope you can find the same joy in these books as I have, and I also hope everyone has a restful break!