Cheers for Heartstopper! The love story of Nick and Charlie has gripped the world ever since Alice Oseman debuted the Heartstopper webcomic back in 2016, and from 4 physical copies later, readers alike can’t get enough of Heartstopper. And with the Netflix series hitting our small screens last month, a wider audience deeply fell in love with a story and a setting that you can’t help but not smile! Heartstopper has a special place in my heart because I discovered it through lockdown, but it also helped me get through and take my mind off the world around me. And I believe that same sentiment is similar to other readers.
Now, Netflix has renewed Heartstopper for two more seasons, and we fans can’t be more ecstatic. But that means waiting until the new season’s premiere. So if you need that heartwarming fix until that day comes or awaiting for following (and final ) volume of Heartstopper, here are some great readalikes that will still give you those feels:
Bloom by Kevin Panetta and illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau
Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band–if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything. (Credit: First Second)
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and illustrated by Wendy Xu
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods.
As a genderqueer werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery. (Credit: Oni Press)
This was just such a heartwarming graphic novel that had a mixture of supernatural and fantasy elements with a pinch of romance and self-discovery. It was just such a cute and fun read that I have a hard time believing fans of Heartstopper not enjoying this one!
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:
Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride–or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia–the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!
Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances–one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. (Credit: First Second)
Snapdragon by Kat Leyh
Snap’s town had a witch.
At least, that’s how the rumor goes. But in reality, Jacks is just a crocks-wearing, internet-savvy old lady who sells roadkill skeletons online–after doing a little ritual to put their spirits to rest. It’s creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it’s kind of cool, too.
They make a deal: Jacks will teach Snap how to take care of the baby opossums that Snap rescued, and Snap will help Jacks with her work. But as Snap starts to get to know Jacks, she realizes that Jacks may in fact have real magic–and a connection with Snap’s family’s past. (Credit: First Second)
Fence Series by C. S. Pacat and Rebecca Nalty and illustrated by Johanna The Mad
Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama…(Credit: Boom Box)
Forward March by Skye Quinlan
Harper “Band Geek” McKinley just wants to make it through her senior year of marching band–and her Republican father’s presidential campaign. That was a tall order to start, but everything was going well enough until someone made a fake gay dating profile posing as Harper. The real Harper can’t afford for anyone to find out about the Tinder profile for three very important reasons:
1. Her mom is the school dean and dating profiles for students are strictly forbidden.
2. Harper doesn’t even know if she likes anyone like that–let alone if she likes other girls.
3. If this secret gets out, her father could lose the election, one she’s not sure she even wants him to win.
But upon meeting Margot Blanchard, the drumline leader who swiped right, Harper thinks it might be worth the trouble to let Margot get to know the real her.
With her dad’s campaign on the line, Harper’s relationship with her family at stake, and no idea who made that fake dating profile, Harper has to decide what’s more important to her: living her truth or becoming the First Daughter of America. (Credit: Page Street Kids)
Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare Vol. 1-4 by Yuhki Kamatani
This is such a beautiful and touching series. It touches on acceptance and finding a way to love your true self. It is such a beautifully depicted manga series . I loved the magical realism that was incorporated into the story but at the same time, having themes and actions detailing characters’ true feelings. This manga is really reflective of how most feel in the LGBTQ community of finding a place where they can be themselves and finally coming to terms with their true nature.
Given Series by Natsuki Kizu
Sometimes a song can save your life.
Love of music unites the four members of the band Given: hotheaded guitarist Uenoyama, playboy drummer Akihiko, gentle bassist Haruki, and Mafuyu, a singer gifted with great talent and burdened by past tragedy. Their struggles and conflicts may drive them apart, but their bond to the music–and to one another–always brings them back together again.Ritsuka Uenoyama is bored with it all–with school, with his basketball club, and even with his one true passion: playing guitar. That is, until the day he finds his favorite hidden napping spot occupied by a strange boy cradling a broken-stringed guitar. At first, Uenoyama is nonplussed by Mafuyu Sato and his slightly odd behavior, but when, on a whim, he asks Mafuyu to sing, the power of that song pierces him to the core. (Credit: SuBLime)
Seven Days: Monday–Sunday by Venio Tachibana and illustrated by Rihito Takarai
On a whim, high school third-year Yuzuru Shino asks out first-year Toji Seryo, who is notorious for being a weeklong lover—he’ll date the first girl to ask him out Monday morning and then promptly dump her by the following Monday! The boys start dating, and by Tuesday, the first inklings of attraction hit. Can these two put words to their feelings before Monday comes, or are old habits too hard to break? (Credit: SuBLime)
The Avant-Guards Series by Carly Usdin and illustrated by Noah Hayes
As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind…until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be. (Credit: Boom Box)
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Felix Love has never been in love–and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many–Black, queer, and transgender–to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages–after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned–Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle….
But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself. (Credit: Balzer + Bray)
The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons
Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother, and a David Beckham in training. He’s also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of isolation and bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio.
At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boys’ soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans–he’s passing.
But when a discriminatory law forces Spencer’s coach to bench him, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even though it would mean coming out to everyone–including the guy he’s falling for. (Credit: Dial Books)
Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala
Raffy has a passion for bedazzling. Not just bedazzling, but sewing, stitching, draping, pattern making–for creation. He’s always chosen his art over everything–and everyone– else and is determined to make his mark at this year’s biggest cosplay competition. If he can wow there, it could lead to sponsorship, then art school, and finally earning real respect for his work. There’s only one small problem… Raffy’s ex-boyfriend, Luca, is his main competition.
Raffy tried to make it work with Luca. They almost made the perfect team last year after serendipitously meeting in the rhinestone aisle at the local craft store–or at least Raffy thought they did. But Luca’s insecurities and Raffy’s insistence on crafting perfection caused their relationship to crash and burn. Now, Raffy is after the perfect comeback, one that Luca can’t ruin.
But when Raffy is forced to partner with Luca on his most ambitious build yet, he’ll have to juggle unresolved feelings for the boy who broke his heart, and his own intense self-doubt, to get everything he’s ever wanted: choosing his art, his way. (Credit: Sourcebooks Fire)
Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier and illustrated by Val Wise
Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend Bebe is a people-pleaser–a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.
Only On The Weekends by Dean Atta
Fifteen-year-old Mack is a hopeless romantic–likely a hazard of growing up on film sets thanks to his father’s job. Mack has had a crush on Karim for as long as he can remember and he can’t believe it when gorgeous, popular Karim seems into him too.
But when Mack’s father takes on a new directing project in Scotland, Mack has to move away, and soon discovers how painful long-distance relationships can be. It’s awful to be so far away from Karim, and it’s made worse by the fact that Karim can be so hard to read.
Then Mack meets actor Finlay on set, and the world turns upside down again. Fin seems fearless–and his confidence could just be infectious. (Credit: Balzer + Bray)
More Books by Alice Oseman Is Always The Perfect Choice!
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