In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.
My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.
Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.
I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.
I am aware as I step into the common room that the majority of people here are almost dead, including me.
Solitaire is much darker than any of the books in the Heartstopper series. I know Oseman has almost a warning at the beginning, but I still wasn’t expecting it to get quite that dark.
There are a lot of disturbing factors here. Almost every character is struggling with something heavy that they’re unwilling to discuss. They’re all metaphorical icebergs, only sharing the tip and hiding all the important shit. And even though these parents have one son with a severe eating disorder and mental illness – which they were completely blindsided by – they seem equally oblivious to Tori’s struggles. Poor Oliver – I don’t foresee a happy or well-monitored young adulthood. And so many of these teenagers are out wandering at all hours or ending up in hospital or at mysterious house parties, and no one is checking in. Everything just feels off. What Tori is experiencing is enough; all of the added complexities begin to warp the story too much, and it takes away from the seriousness of the central story.
I’m not even going to delve into Lucas’ incel-y behaviour because it is above and beyond too much other craziness going on here.
I started this review at 3.5 stars but feel I have to drop it to 3, if not lower. The narrative is too jumbled, and the point was lost too many times to tell a complete story. And with such an important theme, you really don’t want to lose the plot somewhere in the middle and not be able to pick it back up again. I was very intrigued by Tori in the graphic novels, and This Winter, but Solitaire doesn’t feel true to what we know about her character. And I know it was written before Heartstopper, but it just doesn’t address mental illness with the same level of honesty and compassion.