Strap in for the cutest graphic novel around!
Check Please is the serialized version of the popular webcomic of the same name. This Volume collects Bitty’s Freshman and Sophomore years and a few extra mini stories and hockey definitions. This is the story of Eric “Bitty” Bittle, an ex professional figure skater who is now on the varsity hockey team at Samwell University in the Northeast. He comes out during the course of his Freshman year, so this book has great LGBT representation as well as being a fun, charming story.
I could not get enough of this book. Bitty was charming and relatable right off the bat, which made it much easier to follow along with some of the references to the hockey world that went over my head. He’s relatively new to hockey, especially at this level, but his speed and personality win him a spot on the team. The story is generally told through Bitty’s perspective as he keeps YouTube style vlog of his daily activities, from training with his fellow teammates to baking using Betsy, the old oven. Bitty never feels forced or like a stereotype; he feels exactly like one of your friends you’ve known for ages.
Aside from Bitty, the other characters in this story are wonderful, multi-layered hockey players and eventually housemates to Bitty. Shitty is my personal favorite, the super compassionate pre-law student who, for some reason, everyone decides to come out to. He’s knocking back beers and acts like a bit of a bro, while also supporting his teammates and friends entirely and being a mentor to many of them. Honestly the side characters in this book, from our love interest Jack to the BFF duo of Holster and Ransom, offer some of the most laugh out loud moments as well as really great character growth.
There has been some criticism of the book because it’s a bit too sweet and cheesy and to that I say, who cares? I’m really tired of reading books where the gay character, regardless of gender, has to suffer and go through so much turmoil in order to find their happiness at the end. Why can’t queer kids have a nice, somewhat cheesy coming of age romcom book too? I would have cried reading this when I was in high school because it would have given me something happy to read rather than the trend of “you’re queer, so you’re going to suffer but it’ll all work out in the end!” stories. Maybe it’s predictable, sure. I don’t mind it one bit. I’d happily read this again, and I know I’ll be heading to the webcomic online to catch up because yeesh, I hate waiting!
Note: I should also mention this book is written by a woman of color, which is badass.
Title: Check Please
Author: Ngozi Ukazu
Three Descriptors: Character-Driven, Witty, Cheerful
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