TITLE: Check, Please!: #Hockey
AUTHOR: Ngozi Ukazu
RELEASES: September 18, 2018; First Second Books
GENRE(s): Sequential Art, Graphic Novel, LGBT, Sports Fiction
AGE RANGE: Young Adult
SYNOPSIS: “Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!
Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.
A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of 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.”
Full disclosure, I’ve been following Check, Please! for years. I love Check, Please! Specifically, when updates were being publically released, I would often sneak away for ten minutes just to read them. I’ve met Ngozi before and she’s lovely. I even backed both of the Kickstarter’s and got some pretty “‘swawesome“ swag. When it was announced that Check, Please! was officially being published the levels of excitement and pride I felt…..fist pumping and hoots of joy ensued.
Bitty, our protag, is your not so stereotypical small, sweet, closeted country boy from small-town Georgia. Bitty is the son of the local high school football coach. Bitty’s a champion figure skater. Bitty has a baking vlog. And Bitty is on his way to his next big adventure – college hockey. One small problem though, Bitty struggles with physical contact and hockey is very much a contact sport.
Check, Please! is the story about Bitty coming to accept, and love, who he is. Book 1 follows Bitty through his freshman and sophomore year at Samwell University where Bitty stress bakes, learns the ins and outs of bro’dom with his teammates, befriends a bro named Shitty, and is determined not to let the opinion of team Captain, Jack Laurent Zimmermann, get in his way. Even if Jack is a ~tragic~ shut off hockey legacy who is wholly convinced that Bitty is going to ruin their season.
As a side note, perhaps one of the things I love most about Check, Please! is the obvious love this story is made with. This is a coming out story. But its also a story that takes the toxic heteronormative culture of sports and inverts it into this light, feel-good story. There is angst, sure, but it’s not the angst you typically read in LGBT sports fiction. There’s a guaranteed happy ending coming for all our boys. This is a feel-good story. You will smile. You will laugh. You will root for all these crazy hockey bros. And you’re going to watch Bitty, Shitty, and Jack grow into something you don’t really see a lot in this genre.
Book 1 covers Bitty’s freshman and sophomore year with additional bonus content at the end and a full log of all of Bitty’s Tweets. You can find Bitty’s junior year at the official Check, Please! website (for free).
Check, Please! is the story for you if you like: heartfelt coming of age/coming out stories, bro’s being bro’s, feel-good funny stories, stories about social media, realistic depictions of anxiety and healing, enemies to lovers stories, and rooting for the underdog.
1 Star – I did not like it. 2 Stars– It has issues but will pass. 3 Stars– It’s just okay. Nothing wrong with it but nothing right with it either. 4 Stars– I enjoyed this. It’s good. 5 Stars– I absolutely loved this!
Thank you to First Second Books for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!