Review – Nick and Charlie

Posted April 5, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – Nick and Charlie

Nick and Charlie

by Alice Oseman

Genres: Romance
Pages: 176
Series: Heartstopper
Rating: two-stars

"CHARLIE: “I have been going out with Nick Nelson for two years. He likes rugby, Formula 1, dogs, the Marvel universe, the sound felt-tips make on paper, rain and drawing on shoes. He also likes me.”

NICK: “Things me and Charlie Spring do together include: Watch films. Sit in the same room on different laptops. Text each other from different rooms. Make out. Make food. Make drinks. Get drunk. Talk. Argue. Laugh. Maybe we're kind of boring. But that’s fine with us.”

Everyone knows that Nick and Charlie are the perfect couple – that they’re inseparable. But now Nick is leaving for university, and Charlie will be left behind at Sixth Form. Everyone’s asking if they’re staying together, which is a stupid question – they’re ‘Nick and Charlie’, for God’s sake!

But as the time to say goodbye gets inevitably closer, both Nick and Charlie question whether their love is strong enough to survive being apart. Or are they delaying the inevitable? Because everyone knows that first loves rarely last forever…"

I wish I’d really loved this novella, Nick and Charlie, set in Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper universe and following the period just at the end of year 13 and the beginning of university for Nick. We’ve seen the foreshadowing of this in volume five of Heartstopper proper, so it felt a bit superfluous (though of course this was actually written first, I’m just speaking of the reader’s experience here) — and unfortunately switching to this format rather than the graphic novel makes it feel… well, a bit too YA for me.

I don’t know why it’s okay in the graphic novel and less so here: perhaps because we have more direct access to Nick and Charlie’s thoughts, and probably also because the conflict feels compleeeetely manufactured. It grows out of Charlie’s insecurities in a totally normal sort of way, sure, but his drunk outburst and their refusal to then communicate properly with one another doesn’t match up with the way they normally interact.

Pile on top of that the stupid coincidence of Nick’s phone supposedly being unable to receive picture messages due to being dropped even though everything else works okay (??? not the way it works), and it just feels like needless drama, manufactured so there’s even a story at all.

I really hope the final volume of Heartstopper is better than this. Charlie and Nick do need to reckon with their relationship, and what it means to be the unit that is Nick-and-Charlie… but this novella doesn’t work for me beyond some of the cute moments between them.

Rating: 2/5

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