WHO I WAS WITH HER by Nita Tyndall

There are two things that Corinne Parker knows to be true: that she is in love with Maggie Bailey, the captain of the rival high school’s cross-country team and her secret girlfriend of a year, and that she isn’t ready for anyone to know she’s bisexual.

But then Maggie dies, and Corinne quickly learns that the only thing worse than losing Maggie is being left heartbroken over a relationship no one knows existed. And to make things even more complicated, the only person she can turn to is Elissa — Maggie’s ex and the single person who understands how Corinne is feeling.

As Corinne struggles to make sense of her grief and what she truly wants out of life, she begins to have feelings for the last person she should fall for. But to move forward after losing Maggie, Corinne will have to learn to be honest with the people in her life…starting with herself. 


Title : Who I Was With Her
Author : Nita Tyndall
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : Contemporary YA, LGBTQIA+
Publisher : Harper 360
Release Date : September 15, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

I went from being unsure about this book to being impressed by the end. This was definitely the kind of story that built into a fuller appreciation of the characters. WHO I WAS WITH HER was a story of loss, grief, discovery, confusion and pressure to come-out. There were definitely difficult themes here but they were written with sensitivity and realism in terms of the age of the characters.

The story plunged the reader into the immediate death of Corrine’s girlfriend, Maggie and it was a tough start. I felt a little jarred by this but in retrospect, I get why this was the right way to start the narrative. The author used past and present really well to tell the story both of Maggie and Corrine but also the story of Maggie’s understanding of her own bi-sexuality. All the time frames were very clear.

Corrine was understandably messed up by Maggie’s death, but being unable to talk to anyone about her loss was a tough ride. She was closeted to her friends and family and finding someone to talk to was crucial to her being able to get through those early days of grief. Corrine made some rushed decisions and you could judge she was foolish but I totally got why she did some of the things she did; it felt realistic.

I loved her friendship with Julia, how they evolved to understand one another. I liked how Julia’s self discovery was a conduit for Corrine. I was less enamoured by her friendship with Elissa but the need for this outlet became clear. Corrine’s home life, her running life, college expectations and closeted-life all came to a cresendo. I appreciated the culmination and how things were resolved.

I feel that this story is potentially important for young people who aren’t out. There shouldn’t be any pressure from anyone to be out until you’re ready. I think this story tackled those issues well and I’d definitely like to read Nita Tyndall again.

Please be sure to check out some own voices reviews on this one too.

Thank you to Harper 360 for the review copy.

BLOODY ROSE by Nicholas Eames

Live fast, die young.

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all rolls into town, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.

It’s time to take a walk on the wyld side. 


Title : Bloody Rose
Author : Nicholas Eames
Series : The Band (book two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 479
Genre : fantasy
Publisher : Orbit
Release Date : August 28, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

This is a hard review to write because there’s so much of what I adored about KINGS OF THE WYLD in here, not to mention some great writing by the author, and yet I feel like the magic wasn’t as present? This just didn’t draw me in, or keep me entralled, the same way.

Maybe it has to do with how much more serious this installment feels. Gone are the heroes of old, aged and out and shape, and here is the new generation; still fighting monsters but not for the same reasons. There is a sense of manufactured fame and glory to this new crop of mercenaries, to the new world order where monsters are caged and fought in arenas, as opposed to out on the road, and I love how Eames explored that — how he gave us Tam’s point of view where the glow and awe of the legends one grew up with faded into something more like sadness, shame, and disillusionment. It was a fascinating element. I just wish I had loved everything else as much as I loved that.

Another bit that didn’t quite measure up to book one was the characters. I feel like I enjoyed the group, the band, the pack’s, dynamic and even some of them individually. But as a whole I didn’t quite feel as much chemistry as I would’ve expected. And I mean that both platonically and also romantically, for those who were. Something was just missing and I again go back to that bit of magic, that wonder, I felt in book one. It just wasn’t really here.

But this world, this writing? I really love it, I do. It’s creative, it’s weird, it’s wonderful. I would still recommend you pick this up, particularly if you loved the first installment, and if there’s anything more to come? I will definitely read on (GR has a third title listed but no plot or date, so, who knows! fingers crossed).

BROTHERSONG by TJ Klune

In the ruins of Caswell, Maine, Carter Bennett learned the truth of what had been right in front of him the entire time. And then it—he—was gone. 

Desperate for answers, Carter takes to the road, leaving family and the safety of his pack behind, all in the name of a man he only knows as a feral wolf. But therein lies the danger: wolves are pack animals, and the longer Carter is on his own, the more his mind slips toward the endless void of Omega insanity. 

But he pushes on, following the trail left by Gavin. 

Gavin, the son of Robert Livingstone. The half-brother of Gordo Livingstone. 

What Carter finds will change the course of the wolves forever. Because Gavin’s history with the Bennett pack goes back further than anyone knows, a secret kept hidden by Carter’s father, Thomas Bennett. 

And with this knowledge comes a price: the sins of the fathers now rest upon the shoulders of their sons. 


Title : Brothersong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book four)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 522
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : BOATK Books
Release Date : October 13, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 5 star review

When I tell you this book made me cry a lot.. I don’t think that is going to come across in a way that you’ll understand until you read this book. I shed tears, I wept, I held back sobs. Over and over again. I don’t know what it is about this author and his ability to wreck me (us) with his words but oh god. Prepare youself for devastation, for beauty, for heartbreak, for healing, for sadness, for quiet moments.. everything.

We weren’t Ox and Joe. Or Kelly and Robbie. Or even Gordo and Mark, though the fuck you vibe was apparently a family trait.

I can’t really say anything about this beyond that. Not only is BROTHERSONG a sequel but it’s an end. For us. Whether something new might begin? Who is to say. So many songs have been sung along the way; from wolves, to ravens, to hearts, and brothers. This series is about bonds, formed out of blood or built out of friendship, connection, and the fact that I’m tearing up as I write this, when I should long have run out of tears, says it all.

Three years. One month. Twenty-six days. I lived through that. I lived through the thirteen months it took for us to get [spoiler for book three] back. I saw firsthand what happened with Mark and Gordo. And then you decided to.. what? Be wholly original and leave, too?
Whoa. That was a bitchy thing to say. Go Ox.”

I reread the books leading up to this, thinking I needed it all fresh in my mind, needed to once again be close to these characters before I could say goodbye, and while I’m sure many Klunatics are doing so? It’s not needed. So much of this book hashes out previous events, prior wrongs, in an attempt to come together, to finally do more than just apply bandages on still lingering wounds, so they can let go and face this big conflict that might be the end of them. This family, this pack (packpack), has so much baggage and Klune makes them work through it. It can be agonizing at times, to go through it over and over again, to see the same choices lead to the same mistakes, but it’s utterly human; for all that these characters are mostly not.

Will, sit your ass down and leave my customers alone.”
I’m his constituent. I have a right to know what’s going on in my local government, especially when it involves shape-shifters. Huh. Of all the sentences that have ever come out of my mouth, that one was the strangest.”

Is it perfect? If I were to reread it, would I award it full marks, or would I downgrade like I did on my WOLFSONG revisit? Hard to say. But right now? It gets everything. Not just because I cried an ocean but because I couldn’t tear myself away. In a time when even when I’m loving a book I’m still occasionally distracted, reaching for my phone, I didn’t do that once. The only moments I stepped away were to blow my nose (seriously, the crying, it was ridiculous) so, I mean, there were a lot of those moments. But it was impossible to look away for anything else.

Don’t take the chance that he’ll always be there. We must remember to say what’s in our hearts aloud because we can never know if it’ll be the last time we’ll ever get the chance.

I can’t wait for this book to be out in the world, I can’t wait for all the longtime fans to get their paws on it, I feel so lucky to have read this early, particularly as I’m rather new to this world, but I promise you it’s worth the wait. You know the drill by now; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll do both at the same time, you’ll break apart only to be stitched back together. Again and again. Because that’s how it goes.

Packpackpack 4ever.

** I received an ARC from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

HEARTSONG by TJ Klune

All Robbie Fontaine ever wanted was a place to belong. After the death of his mother, he bounces around from pack to pack, forming temporary bonds to keep from turning feral. It’s enough—until he receives a summons from the wolf stronghold in Caswell, Maine. 

Life as the trusted second to Michelle Hughes—the Alpha of all—and the cherished friend of a gentle old witch teaches Robbie what it means to be pack, to have a home. 

But when a mission from Michelle sends Robbie into the field, he finds himself questioning where he belongs and everything he’s been told. Whispers of traitorous wolves and wild magic abound—but who are the traitors and who the betrayed? 

More than anything, Robbie hungers for answers, because one of those alleged traitors is Kelly Bennett—the wolf who may be his mate.

The truth has a way of coming out. And when it does, everything will shatter.


Title : Heartsong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book three)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 464
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : BOATK Books
Release Date : October 22, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 5 star review

I think it’s official. I think this might be my favourite of the bunch (so far!). And while I admitted to downgrading book one from a full five to a four and a half.. this one goes the other way. My original GR rating was four but I’m rounding right up to top marks.

Memories are funny things. I carried them like scars.

Overall this story is the one with the most surprises, in all manner of speaking, and it’s also the most.. tender. It’s both quieter but also more devastating. Which won’t make sense when you get to the big showdown, as it’s anything but quiet, but it makes an interesting contrast.

I swear to god, witches and wolves are the most dramatic bitches I’ve ever known in my life. Like for once can we just have a norma day without stupid shit happening?

I also just feel like Klune really hit his stride with this book. Sure, he’s gearing up to the end, he’s laying out some cards, but by now we’re so in love with these characters, this world, and he’s still treating them with care as opposed to tossing them around into positions he needs them to be in for everything to make sense. You know what I mean? Maybe not. But it’s there anyway. It could also be because he did something very different with this one, both in the telling and with the couple, and I absolutely love a break in formula.

Instagram. You want me to look at your Instagram.
Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever heard so much disdain in such few words.”

There may have been a few less laugh out louds than there were in book two (though there was one rather casual exchange that had me, no pun intended, howling) but I think this is the one that made me cry the most. And for me that’s an upside.

Last time I read these books there was only one novella/short post-book three. This time there are two. I’m preparing for more tears because I cried my way through 2.5. And oh yeah, hey, if you didn’t know.. Klune has these extras available for free on his site. Definitely go check them out. That said, next time we talk (aka I talk at you, reader) I’ll have read BROTHERSONG. Eep.

RAVENSONG by TJ Klune

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

It should have been enough.

And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.

Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.


Title : Ravensong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book two)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 480
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (originally, now BOATK Books)
Release Date : July 31, 2018 (re-released September 26, 2019)

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

My first time around with RAVENSONG I wrote maybe one of the most negative four star (though apparently I equated it more to 3.5) reviews I’ve probably ever written. I don’t necessarily disagree with my previous thoughts (it’s on GR if you’re curious!) but maybe knowing what is to come, maybe loving these characters a little more, I just feel less.. critical? To me this definitely is a solid four, no question.

You could have become the villain, Gordo. And it would have been within your rights. Instead you just chose to be an asshole.
Are you.. complimenting me? Because if you are, you’re doing a really bad job of it.”

Overwhelmingly the themes of family, both blood and found, of friendship, of love, of forgiveness.. everything is strong. Everything is lovely and wonderful even when it aches and breaks you apart. For me, at least, that is the standout beyond anything else I could be nitpicky about. However I’ll still break some of those down for you because.. of course I will.

They were all so different, these lost boys. But they did have one thing in common. All three were assholes who didn’t know when to shut the fuck up. And I was stuck with them.

There are elements to this installment that do feel a little samey to book one in build up but for very different reaons; so that makes it both the same and very much not, I guess. But some elements manage to stand out, too. Team Human? The best. That bar scene? Pure gold. There are very moving moments (tears, they were shed), exchanges of utter hilarity (my house echoed with the sound of my cackling), and this one might have some surprises for new readers who might not see certain things coming, might not pick up on the foreshadowing. Which, by the way, was fun to see this time around. Klune is tricksy.

Does she live in a broken-down cabin in the middle of the woods? Like, eating children and shit? Is that offensive to witches? Are you offended? I’m sorry if you’re offended.
[she] lives in an apartment in Minneapolis.
Oh. That’s.. disappointing.”

Thankfully book two doesn’t lean into that one particular annoying mantra from book one as much, though it does make a few appearances, but my biggest gripe the first time I read this (and stays true!) were.. the monologues. So long. So many. So much nope. But it’s fine, we’re moving on.

Other than finally getting to read BROTHERSONG (I hear you calling my name!), I might be most excited about book three, actually. I think they might be my favourite couple (which might get revised after book four!) and I just remember certain things.. breaking me. So, yes, it with both much anticipation and a healthy heaping of dread that I gear up for the next installment.

WOLFSONG by TJ Klune

lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them. 


Title : Wolfsong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book one)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 494
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : Dreamspinner (originally, now BOATK Books)
Release Date : June 20, 2016 (re-released September 24, 2019)

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

As we approach the final countdown towards BROTHERSONG, the final book in the Green Creek series, I’m sure I’m not alone in rereading this series; I didn’t think I would, having read them for the first time back in January — so fairly recently — but I knew to do justice to this finale it would be best to revisit all the events, all the couples, all the f e e l s, that brought us to what awaits us as the end.

I would always choose you. I don’t care if it’s a biological imperative. I don’t care if it’s some destiny. I don’t care if you were made specifically for me. It doesn’t matter. I would choose you regardless.

And oh boy were there feels.

I’ll admit I maybe didn’t feel “omg uber five stars!” this time around but I still got weepy, I still laughed, I still outright cried (not a lot but mine eyes did spillage over), I found even more to highlight, and I was still just as annoyed about a certain repetition used as touchstone within this story. But at least this time I knew about that last one.

Oh my god, Ox, your life is like those shitty sparkly vampire movies. That I’ve never seen and don’t like at all, shut up.”

If you’re one of the ten people still in the world who haven’t read this? Maybe I should actually review the book in order to convince you to do so, ahem. Well it’s a paranormal world full of werewolves and witches! It’s set in a small town, with a lot of magic and history, and there is a family of soft boys, mostly loveable idiots, and a sweet budding romance.. and then some terrible heartbreaking stuff happens. Violence, devastation, betrayal, abandonment. Angst ensues. And then.. spoilery things I won’t even hint at. But it’s good. You’d like it.

She pretty, papi?
There’s no girl.
Oh? A boy, then? We don’t discriminate here at the Casa de Gordo.”

Oh, did I mention it’s queer?

You should read this.

CHECK, PLEASE! BOOK 1 : #HOCKEY by Ngozi Ukazu

Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!

Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.


Title : Check, Please! Book One : #Hockey
Author : Ngozi Ukazu
Series : Check, Please! (book one/volumes one & two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 288
Genre : YA LGBTQIA+ sports graphic novel
Publisher : First Second
Release Date : September 18, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 5 star review

This rating isn’t much of a surprise for me, and maybe not for those who follow me on GR, as this was a reread and I already gushed about this back in 2018. I had initially read this via the author’s website, as it was (is?) being posted as a webcomic, but decided to reread this one as I prepare to read the most recent bundle/release now that my library has it.

And okay am I as gushy the second time around? Maybe not quite. But this is still the sweetest, purest, funniest, most adorable, graphic novel.. ever. This is everything hockey, everything pure and soft, but also very realistic, and watching Bitty become more of himself as he starts college, as he bakes, belts out Beyoncé, and maybe harbors a bit of a crush? Just a delight. The whole cast is, really.

If you want a fun feel good experience, look no further.

BOYFRIEND MATERIAL by Alexis Hall

Wanted:
One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.


Title : Boyfriend Material
Author : Alexis Hall
Narrator : Joe Jameson
Format : audiobook
Page Count : 13 hours 10 minutes
Genre : LGBTQIA+ contemporary romance
Publisher : Dreamscape Media
Release Date : July 7, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

This audio gave me all the feels, most of the time and there just isn’t anything better than a read that does that. Two guys, a few complications, lots of chemistry and a fake romance. Everything about this book worked for me, the story depth, the characterisation and the Bridget-Jones-ness of the whole feel.

Luc(ien) and Oliver were complete opposites and both a bit relationship-stunted. They both needed a relationship of convenience and their friends conspired to connect them for this purpose. There wasn’t a lot of common ground or like initally with these two but there was banter for days. I adored Oliver’s intelligence with ten slices of awkward and Luc’s foot in mouth tendencies and emotional ineptitude.

Their move to friendship was pretty gorgeous to witness. As they moved into feeling more connection, I had all sorts of swoon gifs running through my head. Behold…

There were some serious storylines running through. Luc’s dad and that story resonated very much with a personal experience and it felt wholly realistic to me. The friendship circle made me giggle with exasperation and fun but they were also there when it came to need.

The narration was simply perfection. The accents, dialogue and tonation raised this to exceptional and for me, this is the format for this book. Joe Jameson held the stage and I listened to every word. Alexis Hall has outdone himself with this story and I am off to purchase myself a physical copy as it’s become rather precious to me.

Hollis already read the eARC of this and we have a very chalky cheese experience! Her review is here.

Thank you to LibroFM for the ALC.

https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781662016738-boyfriend-material

BETTER THAN PEOPLE by Roan Parrish

It’s not long before their pet-centric arrangement sparks a person-centric desire…

Simon Burke has always preferred animals to people. When the countdown to adopting his own dog is unexpectedly put on hold, Simon turns to the PetShare app to find the fluffy TLC he’s been missing. Meeting a grumpy children’s book illustrator who needs a dog walker isn’t easy for the man whose persistent anxiety has colored his whole life, but Jack Matheson’s menagerie is just what Simon needs.

Four dogs, three cats and counting. Jack’s pack of rescue pets is the only company he needs. But when a bad fall leaves him with a broken leg, Jack is forced to admit he needs help. That the help comes in the form of the most beautiful man he’s ever seen is a complicated, glorious surprise.

Being with Jack—talking, walking, making out—is a game changer for Simon. And Simon’s company certainly…eases the pain of recovery for Jack. But making a real relationship work once Jack’s cast comes off will mean compromise, understanding and lots of love.


Title : Better Than People
Author : Roan Parrish
Format : eARC
Page Count : 256
Genre : LGBTQIA+ romance
Publisher : Carina Adores
Release Date : August 25, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

I wish I had loved this one because pretty much everything about it should’ve worked. It’s a sweet m/m contemporary, features a lot of pets, and is authored by Parrish. But right from the get-go this was giving me some vague THE REMAKING OF CORBIN VALE vibes (and, spoiler, it’s set in the same ‘world’ I guess? as the self-titled character of said book is mentioned) and while I was utterly wowed by the writing in that book, it wasn’t my favourite by this author, either. I think I just prefer this author’s darker or angstier work? I don’t know what that says about me.

Not much really happens in BETTER THAN PEOPLE. One of our MCs breaks his leg, necessitating the need for a dog walker for his many dogs (and cats), and in walks the love interest. Simon is more than just shy, he has crippling anxiety, and yet somehow, and actually miraculously, considering Jack’s near constant grumpiness, they connect. I found the progression of that very sweet but it also transitions from tender and tentative to like.. (fire emoji fire emoji) very quick. Jack is seriously into Simon and he lets him know. Which, great! But, I don’t know, it almost didn’t fit the vibe?

Characterization-wise, I found Jack a little all over the place but he’s dealing with some setbacks, has stuff to navigate, however the dynamic with his brother just kind of baffled me. I felt like we saw his true colours when dealing with Charlie and it would sort take the sweetness out of the moments with Simon. I don’t know. In some ways this is very soft, with some real meat to some of the topics and issues needing to be navigated, but.. it wasn’t a book I could really lose myself in and maybe that was because of the characters. I could feel for them both but didn’t think they were a good fit, I guess? Mostly I was just wishing for better for Charlie. I hope he gets a book.

If you are a fan of THE REMAKING OF CORBIN WALE, I think you’ll love this (in fact, I think I actually liked that one more? the rating is definitely higher..). I think a lot of readers will love this. But it’s just not going to be a favourite.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

NICK AND CHARLIE by Alice Oseman

A short novella based on the beloved characters from the graphic novel Heartstopper and Alice Oseman’s debut novel Solitaire, which was praised as ‘The Catcher in the Rye for the digital age’ by The Times.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

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 …


Title : Nick and Charlie
Author : Alice Oseman
Series : Solitaire #1.5
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 176
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Harper Collins Childrens UK
Release Date : August 6, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Being back with these guys a little older, was a delight. Nick was 18 and Charlie 17; with University and long distances afoot, their relationship moved to a position of insecurity for the first time in a while. Their journey in this novella was a bit painful to read for fans, seeing them go through couple stuff was hard. It all felt super realistic to that age group.

That said, I loved reading about later teen life. Their routines, their coupledom and how they were perceived by others as a couple. The changes in their future unsettled Charlie the most and his anxiety seemed to become overwhelming. I appreciated the bits of insight we got into where Heartstopper 3 had left Charlie and his problems. I’m wondering if we’ll get more of this in focus in Heartstopper 4.

I don’t want to visit the plot too much and its a short novella so a shortish review is inevitable. This novella, these characters made me feel everything (not unexpected) and even though this wasn’t a graphic novel, I enjoyed it just as much. There were pages with some Alice Oseman classic illustrations though, which I really brought these guys to life, like always.

My fandom for Nick and Charlie continues and will probably never abate. This novella adds something special to the Heartstopper world. Seeing them older was everything.

Thank you to Harper Collins UK for the gifted copy.