⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 4.5 out of 5 stars
This is not a love story.
Tori Spring is a student at “Higgs”. Her monotonous school life is disrupted when she meets an eccentric student Michael Holden and her old friend Lucas Ryan. Soon, the mysterious collective called ‘Solitaire’ starts a series of events interrupting lessons and all school activities. As their actions become more radical and dangerous, Michael asks Tori for help investigating.
After reading all the parts of Heartstopper and watching the series, I had to give a try to Alice Oseman’s prose. Solitaire was a natural choice, as it is her first novel. Also, I always wanted to find out more about Tori, who pops in and out of Heartstopper. I was not disappointed. Tori, despite being a notorious pessimist, is a great character. She may seem cold and withdrawn, but that effect is negated by her relationship with her younger brother Charlie. His struggles influence Tori, weighing her down. The relationship between the Spring siblings is remarkable.
I believe that the author’s young age is a massive advantage of this book. She speaks the language of her characters and her readers. Her voice is their voice. This allows her to portray the teenagers and their struggle with anxiety, depression, mental health and lgbtq+ issues honestly and realistically. It is so easy to sympathise with her characters and their problems.
The most apparent readers of this novel are teenagers and young adults, but I would recommend this to anyone. The simple and honest way Alice Oseman writes about mental health makes her books universal and valuable. I loved it, even though I sorted out the Solitaire’s mystery long before Tori.