Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Review: Check, Please!: #Hockey

Title: Check, Please!: #Hockey
Author: Ngozi Ukazu
Page Count: 288
My Rating5 TURTLES: AMAZING read. I loved this book, and it's going on my favorites shelf forever! You must get a copy of this book!

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 p√Ętissier, 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.

Oh my God, you guys, this graphic novel made me FEEL things! I never make audible noises when I’m reading things, I don’t even usually laugh at loud if I’m watching comedy shows, but Check, Please!: #Hockey made me laugh and squee at the sheer adorableness of this story! I read this whole thing in one sitting, which never happens, so you know it’s serious!

If you had told me several years ago that some of my favorite stories would heavily feature non-equestrian sports I would have looked at you funny, but this new trend of sports teammates/colleagues falling for each other has arrived and I am 100% here for it. (I’ve included a list of my other favorite books and TV shows that follow this trend at the end of the review and I hope that you’ll check them out).

Teammate to lover stories though
There is so much I love about this story! The art is super fun and thoughtfully drawn. The characters are also so distinct and memorable – I especially love the adorable and earnest Bitty and the party-bro with a heart of gold Shitty (whose real name we may or may not learn throughout the course of this book). And, of course, the main selling point of this book for me, I loved the romance between Bitty and Jack. What can I say? I’m weak for sweet queer romances, especially of the teammate to lover variety, and since there are not nearly enough of them (yet) each one I find is like finding a rare gem.

Also, huge bonus points to this book for having a badass character with my name, even if 99% people refer to her by her nickname, Lardo.

One thing that catches me a little bit off guard about graphic novels is that they tend to feel rushed to me. Check, Please has a great arc, but I wanted, like, five more hockey games, and ten more Bitty and Jack scenes. I think this is partly due to the fact that this is a compilation of web-comics. If I had read each page as it was initially released and had to wait a while for the next installment I don’t think it would feel rushed at all.

I think this would be especially true since the author runs “Bitty’s” Twitter account, so people’s experience with the story continues between installments (such a smart idea). The advanced copy has a sampling of some of these tweets, but promises that the published version will have many, many more. 

Picture of me trying to figure out how hockey works
The only other small thing that I would have liked to see was an in-depth explanation of how hockey works. Most of the other stories I know of that follow sports team dedicates a section where they just explain how the game works. It feels a bit info-dumpy, but also necessary for someone like me who has very little knowledge about anything sport-related. There were some explanations of how hockey works here and there, but by the end I was still pretty confused. 

And if you’re thinking “Gee, Larissa, if only there were a magical device that you could type ‘how does hockey work’ into and get as detailed an answer as you’d like,” point taken. 

Thank goodness my roommate for the NYU publishing program I’m taking lent me her advanced copy that she picked up at Book Expo, but I will definitely be picking up my own copy when it comes out in September! And if you’re as excited about getting your own copy as I am, you can always pre-order it.
Now that I have been introduced to this wonderful comic, I definitely won’t be patient enough to wait for volume two to come out to find out what happens next. Lucky for me (and all of you) this comic is not only available online, but it’s still ongoing! So there’s plenty more in store for Jack, Bitty, Shitty and all the others. 

More Queer sports romances! 
These are the stories that I couldn’t help but think of while reading Check, Please! Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!

Yuri on Ice (TV show)
Fence (comic series)

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

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