Trigger Warning – bullying, homophobia, eating disorders, self-harm, mental health issues.
Heartstopper Volume 4 is a continuation of the themes set in Volume 3. Alice Oseman has done a brilliant job of exploring serious topics in this volume. She addresses mental health, eating disorders, the stress of coming out, family struggles, and even getting admitted to a psychiatric facility.
The volume starts on a light and adorable note with Charlie trying to say the magic words. But it soon takes a serious turn. On the one hand, Nick is concerned over Charlie’s eating disorder. And on the other, Charlie fails to connect with his parents. This was a bit surprising because from the previous volumes I was under the impression his parents were absolutely supportive.
Though there are quite a few light-hearted and fluffy scenes, the overall mood is on the heavier side with the discussion of several sensitive themes. But it was heart-warming to see Nick and Charlie get closer and be there for each other. There’s a subtle maturity in their relationship as they understand what love means.
Oseman has given sufficient space to all the characters in this volume too. Each and every character has grown from the previous volumes.
Nick’s mum is an absolute darling, and Nick is truly lucky to have her as his mother. I wish all parents could be this supportive and understanding.
Oseman’s illustrations are as warm and charming as ever. Even though the themes in this volume are heavy, her sensitive and insightful approach makes it easy and relatable. But she also sends across important messages – recovery is not a smooth sail, and romantic love does not cure mental illness.
Heartstopper Volume 4 is an emotional read. It is fluffy and adorable, and yet, sensitive at the same time.
I can’t wait to read Volume 5. I am sure Oseman has planned a happily ever after ending (rather start) to their story.
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