Image Description: book-cover of Check, Please! – #Hockey, Vol. 1 by Ngozi Ukazu. The cover consists of a large group of young men in red and white ice hockey uniform, inside of an ice rink. Eric Bittle is the main focus of the cover and he is holding a pie.
About The Creator:
Ngozi Ukazu graduated from Yale University in 2013 with a degree in computing and the arts and went on to receive a master’s in sequential art and comics. During her senior year at Yale, she first became interested in ice hockey while researching and writing a screenplay about the sport. She used her new found knowledge of hockey to launch Check, Please! in 2013, and it later went on to be the most funded webcomics Kickstarter of all time.
About The Book:
The hilarious and heartbreaking confessions of a figure skater turned collegiate hockey player who’s terrified of checking . . . and is desperately in love with the captain of his hockey team.
Eric Bittle is a former Georgia junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur pâtissier. But as accomplished as he is, nothing could prepare him for his freshman year of playing hockey at the prestigious Samwell University in Samwell, Massachusetts. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in the South! For one? There’s checking. Second, there is Jack—his very attractive but moody captain.
A collection of the first half of the mega-popular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: # Hockey is the first in a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.
~Not For Children: I don’t know if this is a case of misaimed marketing, or perhaps people not paying attention (I am more inclined towards this option), but this graphic novel focuses on Eric Bittle going off to college (or University for everyone else) for the first time. So, while Bitty looks a lot younger than his age, the graphic novel contains people who are over the age of 18, doing legally “Adult Activities”.
While I personally don’t consider swearing and drinking alcohol markers of Adulthood, the reason I am mentioning this is because a lot of parents have bought this novel for their children, and then proceeded to leave negative reviews on Amazon because they couldn’t be bothered to do any research. Just because a book features illustrations or pictures does not mean the book is suitable for children.
~The Power of Friendship: This graphic novel has a contemporary setting with a strong focus on character development and interaction. The novel is super sweet and fluffy, however, the bonds of friendship between the different team-members is the most enjoyable aspect.
When Bitty tells Shitty (a nickname due to his frequent swearing, I think? We never find out his real name) that he’s gay, Shitty is perfectly fine with it and repeatedly reassures Bitty that he and the rest of team will have his back. Holter and Ransome are bash-brothers and pretty much do everything together.
It’s great and so refreshing to see healthy male friendships that don’t rely on toxic tropes or bullying. More of this.
~Slow Build Romance: The romance plot between Bitty and Jack is super sweet and adorable, however, it is very slow to build. In fact, for most of the book Bitty is convinced Jack is straight, and there’s not a lot of evidence to confirm one way or another.
Normally I am not a fan of slow build romances, usually because it’s dragged out too long for dramatic effect, however, I enjoyed this. I didn’t mind that Jack and Bitty took their time. Jack clearly has some baggage he needs to work through but I am hoping for the best.
All in all, a amusing fluffy New Adult contemporary about ice hockey and friendship, I am happy to recommend.