‘Heartstopper’ Book Differences: Is Netflix Series Different From Graphic Novels?


Since Heartstopper Season 1 was based on the first two volumes of the book series, we expected Season 2 to cover books 3 and 4. But the focus solely remained on Book 3, with some delicious edits and additions from the writers. That makes us happy because it means more of the story for us. In this article, we will be covering the differences between Book 3 and Season 2 of Heartstopper. You can read the differences between Books 1 and 2 and Season 1 of Heartstopper here.

Let us say that everything leading up to the trip to Paris was pure fiction. It is true that Charlie’s mother is concerned about his grades, but there is not much pressure regarding the coursework. The friction between Charlie and his mother is mostly presented in the fourth volume, and unlike the series, the reason for it is explained: it is not that Charlie’s parents disapprove of Nick, but Charlie’s mother is just bad at communicating with her son. She wants to express her concerns to him gently, but the typical teenage resistance from Charlie makes her lose her temper. Charlie’s dad is better, though he is not the tough parent. On that note, his character in the series looks exactly like the one in the books.

One of the major differences between the books and the series is the character of Imogen, and luckily, we have grown to like her. Yet, it remains that Nick coming out to her or Imogen’s relationship with Ben is nonexistent in the books. For a while, we wondered why Ben’s character was given so much importance in Seasons 1 and 2 of Heartstopper when he had practically disappeared after his two appearances in Volume 1 of the book series. For those who have read Volume 4, they will understand that he is a crucial part of understanding Charlie’s mental health journey and why being told off by Charlie was an important change. In the book, Charlie doesn’t just refuse entry to Harry at Tara’s birthday party; the speech that he had given to Ben is what he gives to Harry, telling him that he shouldn’t be forcing Charlie into forgiving him by asking in front of everyone. We suppose the writers rightly thought that two speeches would be a little too much for a shy Charlie, so they kept it to just one.

Coming to the other characters, Elle and Tao’s story in the books simply showed them coming together in the museum. Everything else was a creation for the series. While that is alright, there is one particular change that bothered us. In the Heartstopper graphic novel, Aled tells Charlie about Tao’s accident that outed him the previous year. Charlie is not okay with it right away, and he takes time to come to terms with it. At this point, Tao is the only one of Charlie’s friends who doesn’t know about him and Nick, which is also why he offers to share the bed with him instead of letting Charlie share it with Nick. Additionally, while Tao is wary of Nick, he is never rude to him the way he is in the series. This particular arc wobbled from text to screen, and Tao told Charlie about his mistake. Considering Charlie’s fragile mental health and everything he had to go through when the school learned he was gay, it felt odd that he immediately forgave Tao. Also, if Tao knew that Nick and Charlie were together, as he found out in Season 1 of Heartstopper, he should have let them share a bed. Other than these changes with Tao and Elle, the only other thing is that Elle is not going to a faraway school in any of the four books. Maybe it is a plan for the fifth volume of the book series or is in one of the novels that we have yet to read.

For the other couple, Tara and Darcy’s story has also been expanded upon in Season 2 of Heartstopper. In the books, specifically Volume 4, Tara is aware of Darcy’s family and says that she wants to be there for her. But in the series, we got the impression that Tara came to know about Darcy’s family for the first time when she met them. Also, the character of Isaac does not exist in the books. It is Aled, and there is no reference to his sexuality. This means that there is an interesting change in regard to the character of James Wan, the boy that Charlie dared to kiss at the game of truth or dare. In the book, it is evident that the boy has a crush on Charlie, though the series shifts that to Isaac. On that note, neither the bonfire party nor the prom happens in the books.

One of the bigger changes, or, should we say, adjustments, is in regard to Nick’s dad, Stephane. He only makes an appearance in Volume 4, meaning that the boys don’t meet him in Paris in the books. The conflict between Nick and his dad remains the same from book to the series, along with David’s irritating behavior at the unfortunate dinner scene. But this is at the end of Volume 4, and Nick already had another new dog by that time named Henry. He is a cute little pug, and Charlie’s little brother, Oliver, throws a fit that they don’t have a dog in their house.

Finally, the last change is regarding the discussion of Charlie’s eating disorder. The change is more regarding the opportune moment and the place than the discussion itself, and to be honest, we have liked the series situation a bit more. It had a more natural flow to it, and the way it opened up the narrative for Season 3 of Heartstopper was commendable. Overall, Seasons 1 and 2 of Heartstopper have added a lot of their own bits to the story of the books, and other than the one aforementioned thing; we have liked all of it. The books are unique, and the series is a masterpiece, and both should be read and watched in their own right.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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