Heartthrob Book 1: Never Going Back Again
Review by Hafsa Alkhudairi
Heartthrob is a direct line to my heart (pun-intended). The characters are eclectic and their design is more on the realist side then the cartoonish. The comic uses classic panelling and sequencing. Moreover, there is an amazing sequence that plays out the development that makes you wish you had a theme song (I recommend Lane Boy by 21 Pilots).
In Heartthrob, the lead character, Callie, has no family and no relationship and has heart surgery. The recovery is hard, but she has been in the hospital multiple times because of her bad heart. After years of struggle with her disability, she gives up and rebels. Having heart surgery is difficult in and of itself. Adding that this takes place in the ’70s, you have a whole load of uncertainty. Top it off with bad insurance, of course a woman would resort to criminality, especially if the person who owned her heart has manifested and is teaching her the ropes. The experience of the story shows development in the main character and the reader can be liberated by their experience.
The style of Heartthrob uses the heart theme and runs with it. Red is a colour that is repeated and shows up in nearly every panel through clothes, cars, furniture, or lighting. The use of classic panelling is also reminiscent of the era it is supposed to reflect and simplifies the complexity of the story. The choice of creating a female main character that explores the types of beauty in the world, meanwhile, is reflective of a more contemporary ideology and exploration. Beyond that, there are more areas of the nuanced exploration of the story and analysis can be created from so many perspectives.
Hence, my favourite part of Heartthrob is nuance of the story as well as the simplification. It could be read in so many ways and experienced as such as well.
Check It Out! If you love stories where the protagonist uproots their life to develop a better one, or in this case, a criminal one, Heartthrob is for you! It is fun and insane with the lack of perfection being a theme that empowers. The story manifest around a heart in a supernatural criminal love story.