When I checked my social media, I saw that this book series was trending on Bookstagram, Booktube, and even Booktok. I’m a huge judge of a book by its cover person, it was evident from the covers what these novels were going to be about: just another trendy high school love story about the LGBTQ community.
Despite the fact that I appreciate LGBTQ novels, my typical rationale for selecting an LGBTQ book would be the challenges, physiologies, and substantial issues overcome by the community. Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin, Bestiary by K-Ming Chang, and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong are some notable examples.
I typically avoid reading romance as a genre and graphic novels as a medium because I assumed I would not enjoy them. I started reading the Heartstopper series thinking it was just a story about two adolescent boys falling in love, but as I finished all four volumes in one night I have already fallen in love with the entire series. Yes, there were definitely sections of the book that I found too corny, but the books addressed the same topics that I enjoyed in Ocean Vuong’s and Qiu Miaojin’s works.
You don’t have to come out to everyone in your life; just the people that matter the most
One of the amazing pieces of advice this book gave out to anyone who is worrying about how to come out of the closet to the world is “you do not need to come out to the whole world, just whoever that is important in your life needs to know”. The characters’ portrayal of this setting is just amazing and realistic in that sense. I thought that was a great piece of advice a book could give to anyone who is in the closet at the moment fretting about how to tell the world.
Your parents may not always understand or support you.
The majority of the time in literature and film, we witness how supportive the parents and relatives become of the gay characters. In reality, this is not always the case. The upper generations’ ideals and rigid mindsets may reject and deny their child’s sexual orientation due to the generational difference. They would just refuse to comprehend, even if they knew it fuels the child’s mental health issues.
Heartstopper had one such character whose parents just did not accept her for who she was. Through her, the writer portrayed how she had constant disputes at home and how her friends helped her to overcome her problems. Furthermore, her situation at home did not change at the end of the story miraculously. It was a sad scenario, but it felt more realistic and fresh to see such a change in a book like Heartstopper.
We require friends, teachers, parents, and even pets in addition to our partners.
The series also tackled mental health as a subject. It delves into how we need everyone around us to enjoy a healthy existence, not just our relationships. If you just hang around with them, you will be able to hear their everyday difficulties, what they are going through in their lives and every minute aspect of their lives. That will undoubtedly fatigue or stress anyone. Taking some time apart to mingle with your parents, friends, or even a pet, on the other hand, may help you think clearly and then return to your spouse and be greater support.
Those who suffer from mental illnesses will not be completely healed magically, but that is okay. There will continue to be good days and bad days.
The book also discussed how we all have mental health difficulties. One of the story’s characters, who suffers from an eating disorder, resolves to seek medical attention as well as support from others around him. He does not, however, totally recover. He continues to have both good and bad days. Regardless, he learns that it is good to be that way. As inspirational as that sounds, it is also the closest to reality. Rather than a ‘happily ever after,’ the lesson was about discovering your own happy and sorrowful days.