Book Review: Check, Please!: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Check please

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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. 

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Reading graphic novels is a fairly new experience for me, one I discovered only this year and I don’t think I still have the right barometer to rate or review them. However, I have found that my tastes lean towards cute and adorable, and I can tell without hesitation that this graphic novel falls exactly in that category. I also have no clue about webcomics and only heard about Check, Please! because many bloggers received the ARCs at BookCon and it seemed fairly popular and now I can see what all the fuss was about. This was a delight to read and I’m so glad I chose it for Mythothon.

Bitty is absolutely adorable – there’s no other word to describe him better. He is a passionate vlogger and baker and that comes through a lot in the book. He loves sharing the little details about his life at college and about his teammates with his followers and that is what we get to see. Baking pies definitely seems like his first love – he bakes when he is happy or sad or stressed or frankly, he doesn’t need any reason. He is also slightly apprehensive at the beginning of the college year because he hasn’t come out to his team and is actually quite scared of getting hit while playing. However, he slowly wins over everyone with his cuteness and charm and obviously, pies. He forms amazing bonds of friendship with everyone on the team and it’s a real delight to watch him grow from strength to strength, gain confidence in himself and become a better player.

The true strength of this book is the team. Every single person takes their team motto of “having each other’s back” seriously and there is no scope for jealousy or unruly competition. They have hilarious nicknames and I couldn’t stop grinning when I first met Shitty. Despite his ironical name, he is a very supportive guy and the first person Bitty feels comfortable coming out to. Ransom and Holster take it upon themselves to find him a date while also covering his back during the games. In his sophomore year, Bitty takes a new player under his wing and makes sure he is able to perform at his best. And last but not the least we have the brooding grumpy captain Jack, who makes it his mission to help Bitty get past his phobia for checking.

What we see is a very slow progression of friendship between Jack and Bitty. Jack makes Bitty feel more confident in his game and believe in himself while Bitty draws out Jack from his solitary existence to become a more integral part of the team. Their little interactions are so cute and beautiful and I kept wishing I could see more of them together. I also kept hoping that Bitty’s feelings would be reciprocated and while this was one of the slowest burns ever, it did give us an amazing cliffhanger!!!!

The art style in the book is very colorful and truly complements the fluffy nature of the story. I could really feel every emotion that the characters were going through and that was amazing. I also loved the idea of the story being told through Bitty’s vlog, because it really gives us a better understanding of his personality and how he interacts with his fans. The ending of the book has a special section for Bitty’s tweets and that was the most hilarious part of the book. It shows a very witty side to him and frankly gave me so much more insight into the development of his friendship with Jack. I really wish that much more of the situations that Bitty tweets about were actually part of the story.

Finally, I can just say that if you love reading books that make you happy, then go right ahead and pick up this one. A tale of beautiful friendships, hockey and delightful desserts, reading this will make your cheeks hurt from too much smiling and you will end it with a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings, while also rushing to find the webcomic to read what happens next. Don’t miss it!!

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: Check, Please!: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

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