Check Please Vol 1+ – Ngozi Ukazu

Release date: 18 September 2018
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Rating4.5 stars

Check Please Vol 1 #Hockey (Check Please, #1) blurb:

Eric Bittle 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 is nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking (anything that hinders the player with possession of the puck, ranging from a stick check all the way to a physical sweep). And then, there is Jack–his very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half, freshmen and sophomore year, 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.

Just so you guys know, I only just realised that this is only going to be a TWO VOLUME series just now as I added in the blurb. AND I AM SADDENED!!! 😭😭😭

FYI – I’m actually totally up to date on the webcomic (link above!) so, that’s why this is a Vol 1+ review.  The latest chapter I have read (for future reviewers) is Whiskey.

Ok so, Check Please is the most beautiful graphic novel about Eric Bittle, Bitty, who is a figure skater turned ice-hockey player. Bitty is terrified of being ‘checked’ (it’s an ice-hockey term where you get smashed into the walls or something – I grew up playing actual hockey, or ‘field hockey’ so I don’t really understand that much about ice-hockey), and Jack, one of the team members, tries to help him get over his fear – hence the name of the series. To be honest, ‘checking’ is such a miniscule part of this series that it’s basically irrelevant. The novel has more scenes of Bitty baking pies and making his vlog than anything else. (Which is actually the best thing ever. The pies, I mean. I am a baker!)

The characters are all super delightful. You’ve got Bitty: pie-maker extraordinaire, hugger, and all ’round sweetness. Then there’s Jack: quiet, broody jock who’s super keen to be the best captain but also cares about his teammates (even if it’s shown in a roundabout way). Shitty (I am not joking about their names, apparently it’s an ice-hockey thing): a surprise intellectual, disturbingly charming, and secret marshmallow. Ransom and Holster: basically the comic relief on the team, but also the best bros a bro could bro. Then there’s Lardo who is basically my fave person ever. And you don’t even meet them for like COMICS!!

Despite this technically being a sports-based ‘bro’ story, it’s actually a really soft and gentle coming-out-in-college boys-love story, and found family really love you for who you are is a giant part of what makes it so great.

If you love the All for the Game trilogy, The Prince and the Dressmaker, or Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, or you just want a super cute heart-felt graphic novel (that you can read online), then I really recommend this one. It’s gentle but also has some truly heart-wrenching moments, and honestly, I never want it to end!!

Until next time, happy reading 😊📚

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