How many Heartstopper books are there? Alice Oseman’s webcomic series explained - and possible season 2 plot

Everything you need to know about Alice Oseman Heartstopper books, how to read them, and what might happen in future seasons of the Netflix series

Netflix’s latest hit series – much needed on their part, given recent difficulties – is Heartstopper. The upbeat and likeable coming-of-age romance is based on a series of graphic novels, written by series showrunner Alice Oseman.

Fans of the Netflix adaptation will no doubt be particularly curious now about the original books, wondering how to read them, which order to read them in, how they tie into Alice Oseman’s other novels, and so on. They’ll probably also be wondering what the graphic novels might tell us about potential plotlines for a second or third series of Heartstopper on Netflix, too.

So! Here’s everything you need to know about the Heartstopper books, how to read them, and what the existing storylines might tell us about future seasons of the Netflix adaptation (though, be warned, in a roundabout sense that’s technically spoilers!)

When was the first Heartstopper book released?

Above, a drawing of Nick and Charlie from the Heartstopper comics; below, a picture of actors Kit Connor and Joe Locke in the Netflix series (Credit: Alice Oseman/Netflix)

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Alice Oseman published her first book – a prose novel rather than a graphic novel – in 2014. Solitaire follows Tori Spring, a name you might recognise as Charlie’s older sister in Heartstopper; Nick and Charlie were background characters in Solitaire before they lead their own stories.

In 2015, Oseman published the novella Nick and Charlie, which found the two of them coming to a crossroads after a two-year relationship. Nick, a year older than Charlie, was getting ready to leave for university, leaving the pair questioning whether their relationship would survive.

Shortly after, Oseman began working on a webcomic (available free online) which acted as a sort of prequel to both those stories – it covers how Nick and Charlie first met, and the early days of their relationship. These comics have been collected into graphic novels, which have been published yearly since 2018, and it’s these graphic novels that have been adapted into the new Netflix series.

Where can I read Heartstopper online?

You can read Heartstopper – which still updates regularly, though is reaching its end – on Webtoon, Tapas and Tumblr.

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You can also read more regular updates on Alice Oseman’s patreon.

When is the next Heartstopper book being released?

The fifth and final collected edition of Heartstopper will be published in February 2023.

Which books does Heartstopper the Netflix show cover?

The Netflix show covers the first two volumes of Heartstopper, from when Nick and Charlie first meet to when they are (officially) together. Some plot beats from later in the series have been rearranged slightly, bringing them forward to make a slightly more cohesive narrative – some of the tension between Nick and Tao happens later in the novels, for example, that kind of thing.

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Slightly confusingly, Heartstopper is also divided into chapters. Graphic novel volume 1 covers chapters one and two, volume 2 covers chapter three, volume 3 covers chapter 4, and volume four covers chapter five. The show, therefore, covers chapters one to three, more or less.

Okay, so, what happens in the next ones? What might series 2 be about?

So, again, just to be clear – while we don’t know what exactly future seasons might involve, they’d probably be quite similar to the books, so the following does constitute spoilers.

Volume 3 of the Heartstopper comics – which would presumably make up the bulk of series 2 – sees the students go on a trip to Paris. Nick and Charlie get closer, as do Elle and Tao, who have a tentative, mutually-requited-but-unacknowledged crush on one another.

The comics start to touch on different mental health themes, as Nick notices that Charlie doesn’t really eat much, and starts to fear he has an eating disorder. After fainting in public, Charlie admits that he often feels like food is the only thing he can control.

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Volume 4 delves much more into Nick’s family life. His brother comes home from university, and doesn’t respond well to Nick’s relationship with Charlie; meanwhile, Nick tries to find a way to come out to his estranged father, who he tried but failed to meet up with in France. Charlie’s eating disorder and body dysmorphia gets worse as his mental health struggles intensify, and after a bout of self-harm is admitted for a brief stay in a psychiatric hospital. He starts seeing a therapist called Geoffrey.

Though volume 5 is yet to be published, we know a little bit about the future of Nick and Charlie’s relationship from the Nick and Charlie novella, in which they’re still together in the months before Nick leaves for university.

Alice Oseman told NationalWorld they’d “love” to make more seasons of the show, and told RadioTimes it’d likely take three or four seasons to cover the full Heartstopper story.

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