Review: Heartstopper: Volume 5 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper: Volume 5 by Alice Oseman cover shows two boys sitting on the ground facing each other and embracing, faces turned away from the audience.

Heartstopper: Volume 5
Alice Oseman
Hodder Children’s Books
Published December 19, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Heartstopper: Volume 5

Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. The bestselling LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between: this is the fifth volume of the much-loved HEARTSTOPPER series.

Nick and Charlie are very much in love. They’ve finally said those three little words, and Charlie has almost persuaded his mum to let him sleep over at Nick’s house … But with Nick going off to university next year, is everything about to change?

By Alice Oseman, winner of the YA Book Prize, Heartstopper encompasses all the small moments of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

Contains discussions around mental health and eating disorders, and sexual references.

Heartstopper: Volume 5 on Goodreads

My Review

I’ve been a fan of this series since the irresistible first book, which introduced readers to a shy and bullied Charlie and the sweet rugby player, Nick. Through the first four volumes, we’ve seen the two boys make decisions about their identities, decide when and how to go public with their relationship, and navigate preconceived ideas and prejudices of friends and family members. They’ve spent time together at school, home, and abroad on a class trip. We’ve gotten to know their friends and seen romance and friendships blossom among others in their group, too.

One of the cool things about the books in this series is that the story truly celebrates love and identity while speaking openly about issues like disordered eating, homophobia, and bullying. HEARTSTOPPER: VOLUME 4 explores Charlie’s disordered eating, and it’s referenced in VOLUME 5, but not as deeply explored here. One scene shows Charlie speaking with his therapist. Another couple of scenes show him feeling anxiety about his body. The story doesn’t center around this issue in this book, though.

At this point, Charlie and Nick have been together for a while, and things have been getting a bit intense between them physically. Both boys start to wonder if they’re ready to have sex. They talk to their friends, who offer a variety of suggestions and input. One tells them that having sex isn’t a big deal. Another friend says they haven’t yet because they want their first experience to be with someone special. They briefly discuss using condoms and the risk of STIs.

One thing that didn’t resonate with me so much was when Charlie basically demands to spend the night at Nick’s house, saying he has a right to since he’s sixteen. I can totally see a teenager saying that, so I suppose it’s realistic in that sense, but I thought it was kind of a weird argument.


Because the book is building up to whether Charlie and Nick will journey into this next stage in their relationship, there are a LOT of panels that show them snuggling and kissing and wanting to kiss. I think in terms of plot points and in the exploration of the side stories of the other characters, VOLUME 5 is a lot less dense than the other books in the series. I missed some of the other characters’ stories, and I think the book could have condensed some of the scenes between Nick and Charlie. They’re adorable, as always, but I’d have liked to see more of an exploration of conflict or character development in this one.

Still, I am glad to visit Charlie and Nick’s world again. I’d thought that this book would be the final book in the series, but a note on the final page says that HEARTSTOPPER will conclude with book six.

Heartstopper: Volume 5 on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Charlie is gay. Nick is bisexual. They have friends of other queer identities.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used very infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between two boys. References to sex and sexual touching. (Not shown in panels.)

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
References to Charlie’s past disordered eating.

Drug Content
Charlie and other teens drink alcohol at a party.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

4 Responses to Review: Heartstopper: Volume 5 by Alice Oseman

  1. Sara Davis says:

    I started to think that the message is like transition between Charlie and Nick as their characters are related to their relationship on the show is vey interesting to find love on someone else might feel different about their values of life to be more important for being in some way to be treated as person or a actress can understand the difference of their feelings are different to talk it out to express their emotions are going through their own identities .

    • Kasey says:

      I’ve only seen the first season of the show, but I think I know what you mean, and totally agree- it’s a very cool aspect of a relationship to show. It’s one of the things I love about the book series, too. 🙂 Thanks, Sara!

  2. Jacqueline Malandra says:

    This review is very interesting
    I would like to translate Mrs Oseman and others into French and Italian. Regards, J

    • Kasey says:

      Thanks, Jacqueline. That’s an awesome idea! I don’t know how that process works, but I think the author’s agent or someone with her publishing house would know. Might be worth looking them up! 🙂