Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman

Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman
A Heartstopper Novella
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA (16+), LGBTQ, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

From the mega-bestselling creator of Heartstopper, a must-have novella in which Heartstopper’s lead characters, Nick and Charlie, face one of their biggest challenges yet.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder… right?

Everyone knows that Nick and Charlie love their nearly inseparable life together. But soon Nick will be leaving for university, and Charlie, a year younger, will be left behind. Everyone’s asking if they’re staying together, which is a stupid question… or at least that’s what Nick and Charlie assume at first.

As the time to say goodbye gets inevitably closer, both Nick and Charlie start to question whether their love is strong enough to survive being apart. Charlie is sure he’s holding Nick back… and Nick can’t tell what Charlie’s thinking.
Things spiral from there.

Everyone knows that first loves rarely last forever. What will it take for Nick and Charlie to defy the odds?

Two young men navigating a world that’s hard enough when you’re older and treacherous when you’re a teen.

I read Heartstopper, Vol 1 and loved it, but I picked up this one next because it was available. I’m still reading Vol 2, 3 and 4. Having said that, I don’t feel like I missed much by reading this novella next. It’s the most recent in the Nick and Charlie saga, but it’s told in the form of a novella, not a graphic novel. That made a difference. It’s told through each character’s point of view and I liked that because the reader can get into the character’s head.

Nick and Charlie are at a crossroads. Nick is about to go ff to college and Charlie will be left behind. It’s a rough situation many teens go through–leaving their girlfriend or boyfriend behind. It’s relatable what these two go through and it’s heart rendering, too. It’s tough to be a teen. But in this story, the tale is told through the eyes of the characters and at a teen level. There’s no pandering here. I liked that.

If you want a story to get involved with, with characters that stick with you long after the last page, then this might be the one for you. It was for me.

Melissa by Alex Gino

Melissa by Alex Gino
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA, Middle Grade, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea


When people look at Melissa, they think they see a boy named George. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

Melissa thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. Melissa really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part… because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, Melissa comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

You have to be who you are, no matter what.

I loved this story. I did. I loved reading about Melissa coming into her own and finding who she was always meant to be. The writing was authentic and empathetic, too. I read this in one day and recommend it strongly.

Melissa was born George but she’s never felt like a boy. She feels like a girl. This is her story of coming into her own and being the girl she was always meant to be. This book won’t be for everyone, but it would definitely help a young person understand that the feelings they have—wanting to wear a dress or be a tomboy—isn’t bad. This is a young person’s story. It’s told like a young person would tell it. There are moments where things are awkward, where there’s acceptance and where Melissa shines. I loved the portrayal of Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web. That was the best.

If you’re looking for a book that explains how a young person sees themselves and how one young person born one way can feel another, then this is the book for you. I recommend it highly.