A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers may learn about the British school system and British slang. There's a nine-page section at the back of the book, "Some Bonus Explanation for American Readers," written by the book's US editor. It explains how the British school system differs from the American one, including exams, forms, and years. There are explanations of various "Britishisms" having to do with food ("biscuits" and "crisps") and other topics.
Communication is key. Misunderstandings occur if people aren't honest and open with one another. Humility, including admitting mistakes and apologizing, can heal relationships.
Positive Role Models
Supportive family and friends try to nudge Charlie and Nick toward a reconciliation or resolution in their relationship. Charlie admits getting drunk and picking a fight with Nick was a mistake. Charlie apologizes, and Nick forgives him.
This installment focuses mostly on Charlie and Nick, a queer, White couple. The racially and ethnically diverse cast of characters from other volumes is less present in this one.
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Violence & Scariness
There are references to Charlie's past experiences with bullying, an eating disorder, and hospitalization for mental illness. Charlie and Nick have a strong verbal argument at a party where Charlie has gotten very drunk.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Charlie and Nick refer to having sex regularly. There's a sex scene in which they undress each other and use a condom. There's an illustration of them shirtless lying in bed together. They take a "post-sex candid" selfie.
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Frequent swearing includes bloody, bulls--t, c--kblock, d--k, d--khead, f--k, f--king, piss, and s--t. Charlie gives Nick the middle finger.
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Products & Purchases
Charlie uses Tumblr a lot. YouTube, FaceTime, Facebook, and Xbox are mentioned. Frequent pop culture references include Marvel, Disneyland, Alien, Bridesmaids, Mario Kart, and High School Musical. Musicians mentioned are The Vaccines, Mac DeMarco, Sufjan Stevens, and Shura Khalid.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There's a reference to Charlie getting drunk on wine at the school parent's evening. Charlie and Nick talk about getting drunk together. It's mentioned that teens always get drunk and high at a certain host's parties. Charlie drinks vodka lemonades and shots at a party and gets very drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nick and Charlie: a Heartstopper Novella by Alice Oseman, is part of the popular Heartstopper universe and takes place a year after the events in Heartstopper, Volume 4. Charlie and Nick narrate alternating chapters from their points of view. Communication, forgiveness, honesty, and humility are key themes. The novel refers to anorexia and hospitalization for mental illness. It's implied that teens drink regularly, and one character gets very drunk at a party. A sex scene includes characters undressing each other and using a condom. Swear words include "bloody," "bulls--t," "c--k," "d--k," "f--k," "piss," and "s--t."
Is It Any Good?
This short and sweet novella will definitely appeal to fans of the Heartstopper series. In Nick and Charlie, the couple struggle with how to feel about Nick going off to university and an impending long distance relationship. Readers may relate to the end-of-school-year stress of exams and the unknown changes when a partner or close friend moves away. The feelings are somewhat realistic, but Charlie is over the top at times. His immaturity and the couple's several weeks of not talking seem overly dramatic given their honest and open communication in previous volumes. Overall, however, the endearing couple and their supportive family and friends keep readers engaged. Fans will be interested to see how the story and relationship move forward.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.