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Why Alice Oseman Is My Favorite Author

By Rebecca Nagel, Features Contributor

I was first introduced to Alice Oseman (she/they) in the fall of 2021, around the time I joined Goodreads. Of course, I started reading her “Heartstopper” graphic novels first. I read all three of them in one night and instantly pre-ordered the fourth book in the series. It was such a cute story, and I couldn’t get enough. After the fourth book came out, I was informed that Oseman posts the chapters to WEBTOON well before they put them in book form, meaning that I downloaded the app and read as far as I could into what will soon be a fifth book (no release date yet).

Once I devoured every last piece of “Heartstopper” I could find, I hopped over to explore her novels and novellas. At the time, none of their books were published in the U.S., but I was able to find them in a box set sold through Amazon. When the books finally arrived after what felt like forever, I dove into the novella, “Nick and Charlie,” to read even more “Heartstopper” — even if it wasn’t in graphic novel form this time around.

Within the last year, I have also read three other novels written by Oseman: “This Winter,” “Loveless” and “Solitaire.” While many readers claim that “Solitaire” is their least favorite out of all of the books in the Osemanverse, I honestly thought it to be my favorite. I see myself in Tori Spring (the main character), so I could relate to many of the things she thought, said and did throughout the story. In Oseman’s universe, she does an incredible job of diversifying her characters, including characters with identities like transgender, gay, bisexual, lesbian, asexual, etc.

In April of 2022, “Heartstopper” was adapted into a hit Netflix series, gaining so much love that it was renewed for another two seasons. This leads to another reason why Alice Oseman is one of my favorite authors: They made a point to hire actors who fit the description. Charlie Spring (one of the main characters from “Heartstopper”) is a gay character, so they made sure to hire a gay actor (Joe Locke) rather than a straight actor who agreed to act gay. The same goes for the character Elle Argent: As you may or may not know from the series, Elle is a transgender girl, meaning that Oseman made sure that a transgender actress (Yasmin Finney) played the part. By not only representing these characters but giving them the voice and background of LGBT+ actors/actresses, this story was able to be told with more emotion due to these people’s past experiences, identities and ability to truly understand what the characters were going through.

My final reason why Alice Oseman is one of my favorite authors is that she does not hold back when it comes to mental health. Rather than pretending that mental health disorders don’t exist, she shows things like eating disorders, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, LGBT+ people are twice as likely to experience a mental health condition. Oseman uses the connection between identifying as LGBT+ and having mental health issues to build onto these characters and make them even more relatable and realistic. Overall, between the masterpieces within the Osemanverse, her inclusivity and her ability to portray mental health in a necessarily powerful way, Alice Oseman is definitely top on my list of favorite authors.

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