Jeff & Will announce the Super Summer Bonus Episodes event, which will feature weekly premieres through the end of June. Jeff also shares details on two upcoming author events that will be recorded for future shows.
The guys welcome the creator of the Heartstopper universe Alice Oseman to discuss the U.S. release of the novel Solitaire. Alice talks about Tori’s story in Solitaire and how that led to Charlie and Nick taking the lead in the graphic novel series. In addition, she also teases a few details about Heartstopper Volume 5 and season 2 of the Netflix series. At the end of the episode, we also have an audiobook excerpt from Solitaire, narrated by Jenny Walser who plays Tori on the TV series.
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Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. These links are current at the time the episode premieres, however links are subject to change.
- Capital Books website
- Joy, to the World by Lisa Bunker & Kai Shappley
- Venom & Vow by Anna-Marie McLemore & Elliott McLemore
- Alice Oseman Interview
- Alice Oseman website | Twitter | Instagram
- Solitaire by Alice Oseman
- David Levithan on Amazon
- Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman
- Heartstopper Volume 4 by Alice Oseman
- Heartstopper Volume 5 by Alice Oseman (pre-order until November 9, 2023 in UK, and December 12, 2023 in the US)
- Nick & Charlie by Alice Oseman
- Heartstopper on Netflix
- What We Do In The Shadows on Hulu
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast Links
- Rainbow Romance Reader Report Subscription Sign Up
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Patreon.com
- Libro.fm website (use this link to receive your Big Gay Fiction Podcast special offer)
- Frolic Podcast Network website
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Coming up on this episode, Alice Oseman joins us to talk about “Solitaire,” the book that introduced the “Heartstopper” universe.
Will: Welcome to episode 420 of the “Big Gay Fiction Podcast,” the show for avid readers and passionate fans of queer romance fiction. I’m Will, and with me as always is my co-host and husband, Jeff.
Jeff: Hello, Rainbow Romance Reader it is great to have you here for this episode of the show.
As always, the podcast is brought to you in part by our remarkable community on Patreon. If you’d like more information about what we offer patrons, including a monthly bonus episode that you’ll find nowhere else, and the opportunity to ask questions to our guest, just like Rebecca does in this episode, go to patreon.com/BigGayFictionPodcast.
Will: So this week’s show kicks off our special series of Super Summer Bonus Episodes featuring authors from across the queer creative spectrum. We’re going to be having new episodes every single week, all the way through the end of June. We have an amazing lineup planned to take us through Pride Month. And Jeff, you’ve got a couple events to tell us about that are part of the Super Summer Bonus Episodes as well.
Jeff: That’s right. We’re partnered with Capital Books right here in our hometown of Sacramento for a couple of great author conversations.
First up on Saturday, May 13th at 1 p. m. I’m going to be in conversation with Lisa Bunker, discussing her collaboration with Kai Shappley, which is called “Joy, to the World.” Now, Kai, as you may know, is an 11-year-old trans activist who, until recently, lived in Texas. Unfortunately, they were forced to leave their home. And has been fighting for trans rights along with her mother since they were five. So it’s a pretty amazing story.
Now they’ve collaborated with Lisa on this book about a young trans girl named Joy who is also living in Texas and fighting for her rights to stay on the cheer team at school. I’ve had an opportunity to read this book. It’s a great middle grade story that’s inspiring and empowering and I’m very much looking forward to this conversation with Lisa.
And then, just a couple days later, on Tuesday, May 16th at 6:30 in the evening, I’ll be talking with Anna-Marie McLemore and Elliott McLemore. This duo has co written a book called “Venom and Vow,” which is a fantasy about a kingdom that has all of the adults essentially have been locked into a sleep.
We’ve got teenage rulers who are trying to sort things out, there’s a lot of deception and miscommunication, and things going on and a lot of intrigue as they try to put things back together again in the right way. But there’s also a really delightful story between two members of rival royal families. Both of these people are trans, and they fall in love with each other. Oh, I just enjoyed this book so much. Anna-Marie and Elliott have really written some amazing characters here, so I’m excited to talk to them about that. And of course, Anna-Marie wrote one of our favorite books of last year, “Self-Made Boys,” so very excited to meet them.
Both of these conversations are going to be recorded, and you’ll get to hear them as part of Super Summer Bonus Episodes.
And now, how amazing is it that we’re going to kick off this eight week event with Alice.
Will: Well, if you’re fans like us, amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Jeff: I know, right? I got so into “Heartstopper” and all of it over the last couple weeks between reading “Solitaire,” and we have now rewatched “Heartstopper” for I don’t even know how many times we’ve watched it now.
I have to tell you, when the email arrived offering the opportunity to speak with Alice, I freaked out. I ran into Will and went, “Oh, my God. Look what just happened!” And I’m happy to report that I did manage to keep my inner fanboy mostly in check during our conversation.
We talk about the first US release of “Solitaire,” which is a story that focuses on Tori, who of course we know from the “Heartstopper” universe as Charlie’s sister. This book was the first time the characters from “Heartstopper” appeared, and it was so great hearing from Alice how everything evolved from “Solitaire,” which was also Alice’s very first book.
Now make sure to stay tuned after the interview. I’ve got my review of “Solitaire,” plus we’re going to have an excerpt from the audiobook, which features narration by Jenny Walser, who is the actress who plays Tori on the “Heartstopper” Netflix series.
And now here’s my conversation with Alice.
Alice Oseman Interview
Jeff: Alice, welcome to the podcast. It is amazing to have you here with us.
Alice: Hey, thanks for having me.
Jeff: We are excited to celebrate with you as “Solitaire” makes its official U.S. debut after all these years. For folks who haven’t discovered this book yet, which is actually the first story in what we’ve come to know as the “Heartstopper” universe, tell us a little bit about what this is about and how we meet Tori in this book.
Alice: “Solitaire” is the story of Tori Spring, who is the older sister of Charlie from “Heartstopper.” Tori is a 16 year old girl, she’s very pessimistic, she hates the world, she hates everyone around her, and she’s very bored with her daily school life. But one day at school, she discovers that this mysterious group called “Solitaire” have started to pull pranks in her school and she meets a boy called Michael who is very interested in finding out who is behind these pranks. And Michael is the complete opposite story. He’s super bubbly, quirky, cheerful. So it’s through her friendship with Michael that she starts to question her kind of pessimistic view of the world.
Jeff: You actually wrote this more than a decade ago now. What inspired you to take on this story and, like, the whole idea of “Solitaire” and everything as this group?
Alice: Well, I mean it was my first book, wrote it when I was still at school, and I just wanted a book that was about the world that I knew, which was an all girls school in Kent, in England. I wanted to kind of explore what that was like. And what I really wanted to write about in “Solitaire” was the kind of, like, Tori is dealing with some kind of undisclosed mental health issue. She’s very down and angry about a lot of things, and I was feeling a little bit of that at the time as well, and that was kind of what I wanted to explore when writing that book, and the idea that, you know, finding your people can really, really help because Tori is so alone at the start of the book.
She is solitary, and through, you know, her friendship with Michael, she starts to find a way out of that darkness. And the pranks and the kind of the Solitaire organization, that’s more the fictional part of the story for me, to be honest. That was kind of just the fun mystery detective part of the story that I had a lot of fun creating but wasn’t really based on anything that I knew from the real world. The real world stuff was the school environment and Tori’s kind of emotional journey.
Jeff: The Solitaire stuff is interesting how, without giving away any spoilers, it just ratchets up, ratchets up into the point where you’re like, “Oh my God, how is this happening?”
Jeff: And I kept alternating, like, who I thought was behind it too. So I liked having the mystery while also really feeling Tori’s journey because of course, I think all teens go through some version of that.
Alice: Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, she’s dealing with, like… So, when “Solitaire” first came out, everyone would just use the phrase teen angst because that is kind of what she is giving off is the kind of classic, you know, grumpy, moody, “I hate everything.” Like, that’s kind of the typical vision of teen angst. But hopefully “Solitaire” goes a little bit deeper and kind of shows that that is actually quite a serious thing that a lot of teens are dealing with and should be taken seriously and not just kind of, you know, shrugged at and laughed at as just a teenage thing.
Jeff: This isn’t the first time you revisited “Solitaire.” There was a 2020 re-release that happened in other parts of the world, and there’s a great interview with you and David Levithan in the back of this volume, and you talk about some of the edits you did in 2020, including labeling Michael as pansexual in that book. What was it like to revisit and what kinda led to some of the 2020 revision?
Alice: It’s so interesting to read the old version of “Solitaire” and see the queerness of the book that I completely wasn’t aware of at the time that I wrote it. One of those things being Michael. I think in the original version of “Solitaire,” he says something about, you know, “Oh, I like everyone. It doesn’t matter the gender. I could like everyone.” And I think at the time I wrote “Solitaire,” I’d probably never even heard the word pansexual before when that was literally what I was describing there. So, it is interesting to look at, I mean, how quickly things have changed and, you know, how much more I know now. And yeah, I was really thankful that I got to make some of those small changes in the 2020 version just to kind of update it a little bit.
Jeff: And so much of it though seems timeless. It feels like some aspects of this, including “Solitaire,” could easily happen today, you know, especially with how the world’s changed now. It seems more possible now than even 10 years ago.
“Solitaire” is also Nick and Charlie’s first appearance and I absolutely love… I’ll hold up the back cover for the folks who are gonna watch on video. There’s a little picture of them on the back cover which I absolutely adore. What grabbed you about them to bring them to the forefront of what we’ve come to know as “Heartstopper?”
Alice: Well, in “Solitaire,” Nick and Charlie are already in a relationship. It’s a very strong, very loving relationship. They’re so supportive of each other, but we don’t really learn much about their relationship outside of that. We don’t know how they got together or what their kind of relationship journey has been up to this point. So, after I finished writing “Solitaire,” I had these two characters who I really, really loved and I knew that they had a story. Like, I wanted to know what their story was, what their origin story was. So, a couple of years after “Solitaire” was first published, I started creating “Heartstopper,” which was Nick and Charlie’s origin story, and it’s just kind of grown from there.
Jeff: And “Solitaire” takes place in what we’ve come to know as “Heartstopper” Volume 4. And I have to admit, as I was reading “Solitaire,” I went back to “Heartstopper 4” and went, “What do I see and hear about this?” But other than seeing Michael, this is all Tori’s story because it’s all happening at Higgs and the boys are still at their school. What was it like to go backwards and, you know, even pick up Tori in a different timeframe from where you’d written her in the first place?
Alice: It was a challenge. It really was a challenge figuring out how to show “Solitaire” in “Heartstopper” because they are such different stories. They’re so different in tone. And some of the events of “Solitaire,” if I suddenly put them in “Heartstopper,” readers would be so confused. So I really had to think very carefully and choose carefully what parts of “Solitaire” to put into “Heartstopper.” Yeah, it was a real challenge but one that I’m really…I’m happy with the outcome with. You know, some people have questions. You know, they ask me, “Why didn’t you put this scene from ‘Solitaire’ into ‘Heartstopper’?” But I know that I made the right choice in which parts to put in there and to keep “Heartstopper” what it is as well, and not turn “Heartstopper” into some kind of “Solitaire” adaptation. Yeah.
Jeff: Because it’s interesting. I actually…you know, because I went back to see if certain things, especially towards the end of “Solitaire,” you know, had I forgotten those in Four, and it all made sense to me in a lot of ways, and it’s interesting to me how the two overlap because without giving too much away for people who for whatever reason may not have gotten to “”Heartstopper 4” either, the Spring family has a lot going on because Tori has what’s happening in “Solitaire” but also this is where Charlie’s mental health, you know, it’s been bubbling up through especially Two and Three, but he also has his things going on in Four. And I feel for all of them and I love how you deal in the mental health space trying to, you know, help these characters and keeping Nick and Charlie strong, and it seems like a lot to balance between the two different stories.
Alice: Yeah, absolutely. And they are very different stories, you know? “Solitaire” is so much darker and it’s a much more visceral look at what having a mental illness is like, whereas the “Heartstopper,” the focus is always on recovery, you know, optimism and hope, you know, things are gonna get better and we know that. So yeah, it’s difficult to tell those two different kinds of stories about the same events essentially, you know, about the same characters. You know, that’s just the challenge of it, and I knew that that was gonna happen when I started making “Heartstopper,” so I had a lot of time to really think about it and figure out how I was gonna do that, so yeah.
Jeff: And especially going to the backwards material as well, because you’re not only sorting out Nick and Charlie but also Tori, I feel like between the two, you know, the series of “Heartstopper” and “Solitaire,” we get to know a lot about Tori because things happen to her that obviously we don’t know that lead her to “Solitaire,” but she’s a fascinating character in a lot of ways.
Alice: Yeah. I mean, it’s been really fun to show some, like, different sides of Tori in “Heartstopper” because in “Solitaire,” she’s so kind of single-minded. She is like a pessimist, you know, she’s so, like, frustrated and grumpy and, like, moody all the time. But in “Heartstopper,” she’s also really funny and kind of sarcastic and, you know, we’re just getting to the point in the comic now, which will be in Volume 5, where we are kind of learning a bit more about Tori post “Solitaire.” So, we’re gonna find out, you know, what her kind of mental state is like after the events of “Solitaire,” which is really interesting and I’m really excited to kind of tell that story, so yeah.
Jeff: Yeah, I can’t wait till we get to go forward in the universe, because everything has, like, had its merge point and goes from here now.
Jeff: I was really glad that you put kind of the advisory that you put in front of “Solitaire” because having only read the “Heartstopper” universe, it was a significant, like, tonal shift. Do you ever think that you’re gonna visit that side of the universe again with some other story, either on Tori or some other aspects of that, what’s happening over there?
Alice: I don’t think I will ever write another prose novel, like a full prose novel, about the characters from that universe. Yeah, I think “Heartstopper” will be, you know, the end of that story of those characters. But yeah, like you said, I’m really glad that I put that kind of content warning into “Solitaire.” I actually put that in 2020 when it was re-released because people who read “Heartstopper” first had been going into “Solitaire” expecting it to be “Heartstopper” vibes which is like happy and, you know, cheerful romance, joyful story, and then being very surprised by the contents of “Solitaire.” So yeah, I’m glad I put that.
Jeff: And the thing that I love so much that is Tori’s throughline, her fierce love of Charlie. You see it in “Solitaire.” You see it in “Heartstopper.” I mean, she’s there for him regardless of what’s happening for her, and I love that kind of family connection there. Was it important for you to kind of get that, or did that evolve over time?
Alice: I mean, that was kind of one of the key elements of “Solitaire,” which despite Tori’s kind of hard shell, she has this warmth and love for her brother and that’s clear from the very start. And for me, that is kind of the symbol of hope for Tori that she will find her way out of this kind of darkness that she’s surrounded herself by. Yeah, I really, really love their relationship and that’s one of the fun things about “Heartstopper” as well is showing more Tori and Charlie kind of banter and, you know, their support for each other and Tori’s funny little, you know, eye rolls and sipping her little drink. Yeah.
Jeff: Which now I know always is diet lemonade.
Jeff: In your creative process, how do you think about… Like, “Solitaire” is a novel, “Heartstopper” was a web comic and now it’s, you know, published graphic novels, but then you’ve also had, like, the novella with “Nick and Charlie”. What kind of helps you pick the way you’re going to tell the story?
Alice: I mean, it depends. That’s a good question because when I decided I wanted to tell Nick and Charlie’s story, I first tried to plan it out as a prose novel because I’ve done that before. You know, I’d just written “Solitaire” and I thought, “Okay, this can be my next book.” But what I found with the story is that it just didn’t fit into the structure of a novel. It didn’t have, like, the kind of gradual sort of beginning, middle, end structure that you normally get in a standalone novel. Nick and Charlie’s story was a much more episodic story. It was about these kind of periods of their lives and we are just kind of following them all the way through. There’s no sort of clear middle point that you would get in a normal prose novel. And that structure for that reason suited being a serialized web comic that was kind of ongoing much better. So, that was kind of the route I decided to take that.
Jeff: But they have had their novella moment with “Nick and Charlie,” which also plays with the timeline again because you jumped a little bit forward there. Does that book sit… I know it’s definitely after Four. Does it kind of, timeline-wise, even sit after what eventually will be Volume 6?
Alice: Current plan is it’s gonna be during the events of Volume 6. So like “Solitaire,” it will be referenced, but I won’t be just retelling the whole story because that’s pointless.
Jeff: It’s interesting. I love how you play with the timelines. What prompted, like, “Nick and Charlie” to get told as a novella at this point in, you know, just what we know of the story?
Alice: Well, it all comes down to when I wrote these things. So, “Nick and Charlie” was originally published in the UK in 2015, which was after “Solitaire” but before “Heartstopper.” So, I had “Solitaire” and the “Nick and Charlie” novella before I started making “Heartstopper”. So yeah, it just kind of happened that way.
Jeff: Just so cool. You just go backwards and forwards. You’re like your own little, like, jumping timeline.
Jeff: Let’s talk a little bit about “Heartstopper 5.” Folks in the UK are lucky you get it in November as opposed to us in the U.S. who are waiting until December. What can you tell us about what we’re gonna get in Five?
Alice: Yeah, so many things. So kind of two sort of things are going on which Nick is kind of getting to the point where he needs to start applying to university. So he is kind of starting to think about his future but has no idea what he’s gonna do and he wants to stay close to home so he can stay close to Charlie but isn’t sure if that’s the right thing to do, and so he’s got a lot to figure out. Meanwhile, Charlie, he’s been working really hard on his mental health and he’s been kind of trying to find confidence, some self-confidence in various things, like he is thinking about applying to be head boy at school, he might be joining a band because we know he plays the drums, and also Nick and Charlie are thinking about taking their relationship to the next level physically, so that’s something that we haven’t yet explored in “Heartstopper.” So yeah, there’s lots to come in Volume 5. I’m very excited.
Jeff: It’s gonna be a Christmas present to myself come December.
And of course, just a couple weeks ago, we got the great news that “Heartstopper” Season 2 comes to Netflix in August. What’s it been like bringing the web comic literally to life on the screen so far?
Alice: It’s been an amazing experience. I think I’ve been so lucky compared to a lot of other authors who’ve had book adaptation experiences. My experience has been so positive and I’ve been really involved in the whole thing. You know, I was the writer of the show and I executive produced, so I was involved in all of the creative decisions. Yeah, I’ve enjoyed it so much and I’m so happy with how it’s turned out and I’m really, really excited for Season 2. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
Jeff: We’ve got a member of our Patreon community, Rebecca, who’s a huge fan and has loved and watched the show multiple times. But I was kind of curious what it’s like to adapt the graphic novel to television because, I mean, there’s clearly some things that are different. I mean, just off the top, Charlie no longer has Oliver as his younger brother who we’ve never seen. How do you, like, make the choices of what gets to the screen and what gets to the screen, you know, matching the book perfectly in some cases but then in other places taking the turn?
Alice: Well, I mean, firstly, I think “Heartstopper” is a very faithful adaptation. I think we really tried hard to make it very faithful to the books and usually we were able to achieve that, which was really exciting. But yeah, there were definitely some choices that were different to the books and it really just depends on what that thing was. So, you know, for Oliver, I felt like… So the reasoning is if we casted, you know, a seven year old to play Oliver for Season 1, by the time we got to Season 2, he would’ve grown a lot and he would no longer look seven years old and it would be very difficult to kind of keep that continuity if we had a very young child actor. And also Oliver doesn’t really have much to do in the story, so if we kept him out of the story, we could have more stuff for other characters. Yeah. So I know lots of people were sad about that, but I do think it was the right decision. Yeah.
Jeff: How was it to go to Paris for some of the Season 2 shoot?
Alice: So cool. Yeah, I’m still so excited that we got to do that. It was very stressful. It was a very stressful filming experience. Filming in public in Paris, in, like, a super busy city, is just… I mean, I can’t believe it was even possible, but somehow we managed to film everything. I think we were there for nine or 10 days in total, and we managed to fit almost everything in that we wanted to film. And it looks amazing. Like, it just looks so amazing in the show. So I’m really happy that we got to do that.
Jeff: Excellent. And are you working on scripts for three already?
Alice: I will be soon. We’ve just kind of started, like, the planning, you know, figuring out what’s gonna happen, figuring out all the storylines that are to come. So I will have to start writing those scripts very soon. Yes.
Jeff: Excellent, excellent. Is there anything you can tease us about? What else might be coming next for you beyond like “Heartstopper 5” and Series 2 and things like that? What else is on the horizon?
Alice: Honestly, those are the only kind of writing projects that I have right now. I’m very like in “Heartstopper” world completely right now. I mean, I will have some more of my books re-released. I won’t say what yet, but in the U.S. and in the UK, there will be some very cool new editions of my previous books that are gonna be released this year and next year, so very excited for that.
Jeff: Now, we love to get recommendations for our listeners on what to watch and what to read. What’s caught your attention lately that our listeners should check out?
Alice: Oh, my gosh. I mean, my number one TV recommendation is “What We Do in the Shadows.” It’s my favorite show of all time. It’s a mockumentary about vampires in New York. It’s so good. It’s truly like nothing else, and it’s so queer as well, which I love. So yeah, that’s my recommendation for sure. Yeah.
Jeff: I love that you bring that up. We’re actually in the middle of a rewatch right now. We’re in middle Season 3. They just went to Atlantic City in the episode we watched yesterday.
Alice: Perfect. I love that show.
Jeff: It is so brilliant. I think there’s a new season coming later this year, so that’ll be pretty brilliant.
Alice: Hopefully, yeah.
Jeff: And what is the best way for folks to keep up with you online to keep track of everything that is coming out, like those re-releases?
Alice: Yeah, follow me on Twitter or Instagram. I’m just Alice Oseman. Or you can go on my website, which is aliceoseman.com.
Jeff: Perfect. Well, Alice, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for bringing us this wonderful universe of “Heartstopper” and putting “Solitaire” out here in the U.S. officially as well.
Alice: Thank you so much.
Thanks & Solitaire Review
Will: This episode’s transcript has been brought to you by our community on Patreon. If you’d like to read the conversation for yourself, check out the show notes page for this episode at BigGayFictionPodcast.com. We’ve got links to everything that we’ve talked about in this episode.
Jeff: And thanks again to Alice for joining us and telling us all about “Solitaire” and what we have to expect from the “Heartstopper” universe. I can’t wait for this fall to get both the second series from Netflix, as well as volume five of the graphic novel.
I have to tell you, I really enjoyed “Solitaire.” It was interesting to go backwards and forwards a little bit in the series in some ways. As I said in the interview, I had not read “Solitaire” at all. Even though this is the first U. S. release, the book’s been available to get in the US but I had not picked it up yet, so I’d only done “Heartstopper” 1 through 4. And, there are hints to it in here, but nothing overt to tell me that I’d missed anything in the story, but it’s been interesting to now see Tori in a totally different light.
As we talked about at the interview, this book is a little bit darker in tone than what we are used to in “Heartstopper.” Tori’s going through a very rough phase and Alice does an amazing job of putting us right there in Tori’s headspace as she’s grappling with feeling very alone and isolated and not really having any friends.
It’s really awesome to see both kind of the pull that she has towards Michael, but yet how she pushes him away at the same time and how they eventually resolve to be friends and to get through the world together and also figure out the Solitaire thing.
I really enjoyed that kind of mystery aspect of who was behind Solitaire, and what were they going to do next. And to watch the school be befuddled about how to deal with the Solitaire thing, because it was really challenging the authority of the school, if you will. And as it grew, it even grew to taking over events outside the school. Like I said, you could even envision this happening more easily today in the social media world that we live in now than the way that social media was more than 10 years ago when Alice originally wrote this book.
It’s also interesting to see, of course, the rest of the “Heartstopper” characters. Nick and Charlie are on page, I would say, quite a lot. As I mentioned in the interview, and I still don’t want to give too many spoilers for those who may not have picked up “Heartstopper 4,” Charlie’s dealing with a lot in “Heartstopper 4,” which has been building up through one, two and three. And that is represented pretty well in “Solitaire,” because Tori is very concerned for her brother. But you also get little moments of Nick and Charlie that Tori witnesses that you don’t get to see in “Heartstopper.” And you can see right from the beginning the strong couple that Alice made them into being.
There’s also some pretty good comeuppance in this particular story as Ben Hope, who we know as being one of Charlie’s tormentors actually has to pay for some of what he’s done to Charlie. So that was pretty interesting to see as well.
Yeah, if you’re a fan of the “Heartstopper” universe, you should definitely check this out. But as we talked about in the interview, mind the content warning because this book is a different tone, so you just need to be in the right headspace for that.
But it’s really amazing to see Alice’s storytelling in play here, which even in this first book is so, so strong. And this is my first full novel of hers to have read definitely going to have to go pick up some of those other ones that she’s got out there that are outside of the “Heartstopper” universe, because I love the way that she tells stories. She gets so into character details and I love that so, so much.
So not unsurprisingly, I highly recommend “Solitaire” and of course the rest of the “Heartstopper” universe as well.
And don’t forget to stay tuned. We’ll have the audiobook excerpt for you coming up in just a couple of minutes.
Will: Alright, I think that’ll do it for now. Coming up next Monday, we’re going to catch you up on absolutely everything that we’ve been reading and watching lately.
Jeff: We’ve got quite a few books and shows to tell you about, so you’re not going to want to miss it.
Will: Thank you so much for listening, and we hope that you’ll join us again soon for more discussions about the kinds of stories we all love, the big gay fiction kind. Until then, keep turning those pages and keep reading.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find more shows you’ll love at frolic.media/podcasts. Original theme music by Daryl Banner.
Note: A transcript is not available for the audiobook excerpt. You can read chapter one in the “Look Inside” on Amazon.