Book Review: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Tori Spring enjoys blogging and sleeping… and that’s pretty much all she enjoys these days. Tori, a sixteen-year-old Year 12 student, is a chronic pessimist with few friends and little to no sources of happiness.

But when she follows a trail of Post-It notes to the computer lab, where she meets the mysteriously eccentric Michael Holden, she receives a message from a group called Solitaire that plots to take over the school.

Throughout the story, we follow Tori as she makes and breaks her friendships, struggles with her mental health, balances her schoolwork, learns to trust other people, and finds the motivation to get out of bed every morning. On top of everything going on in Tori’s life, she continually tries to be the best sister she can be to her brothers, Charlie and Oliver.

I absolutely loved this book, though it was a lot darker than many books I’ve enjoyed in the past. Nevertheless, I may go so far as to call Solitaire my favorite book as of now. Alice Oseman crafts a haunting, realistic, beautiful story in the mind of an imperfect main character. As usual, Alice Oseman includes lots of LGBTQ+ representation in Solitaire as well as in her other novels, which I strongly recommend as well!

Solitaire also introduces the characters Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson, who appear in the Netflix series Heartstopper. However, Solitaire may not be enjoyable for fans of Heartstopper, as it is much deeper and darker and does not work out to be a perfect happy ending. Solitaire is not a love story, the main conflict takes place inside Tori as she tries to figure herself out.

I loved that this book wasn’t like what I usually read—nothing like the cliche love story with nice characters that have a happy ending. I liked that Tori had good days and bad days, and I enjoyed diving into her introspective thoughts. I found Solitaire to be much more realistic to life, and I truly enjoyed this amazing book.

Happy reading!

-Lam T.

Heartstopper

Heartstopper

by Alice Oseman

This heartwarming collection of comics follows Nick and Charlie as they discover their growing attraction to one another that bloomed from friendship. Both attending the same private boy’s school, Nick and Charlie become fast friends after being placed next to each other in the class seating chart. While Charlie announced his sexuality last school year, Nick struggles to find himself as he discovers his feelings for Charlie are more than friendship. Heartstopper Volume 1 shows their friendship growing as they slowly gather the courage to approach the other about their feelings. Their relationship continues to grow throughout the other volumes as they near the end of their high school experience (there are a total of 4 so far).

Volume 1 of Heartstopper, while short, is the most genuine and wholesome romance comic I have ever had the pleasure of reading. This comic never fails to bring a smile to my face as I follow these two goofballs through their high school experience and watch as their romantic relationship grows. If you are looking for tension and drama, Heartstopper is not the comic for you. This book only contains healthy communication, friendship, bonding, and growing into oneself. It highlights the struggles each character faces and how they overcome them with the help of their friends and families. Each character offers a new perspective and challenges to overcome. The entire Heartstopper series toke me a day and a half to devour and as I eagerly await new volumes to be published, I remember the sweet and touching moments of this story.

This series has even become a Netflix series! Make sure to check that out. The entire Heartstopper series is also available for free on Webtoon and Tapas.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.