Check, Please! #Hockey – Ngozi Ukazu

Check, Please!: #Hockey, Vol. 1

Check, Please!: #Hockey, Vol. 1 by Ngozi Ukazu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Check, Please! is a really fun and engaging graphic novel that was originally published as a webcomic. I enjoyed it immensely and immediately wanted to dive into the second half of Bitty’s story, which hasn’t been published yet in graphic novel form. The first collection brings together Bitty’s freshman and sophomore years at Samwell University.

The main character, Eric Bittle, chronicles his life via vlog and the story begins during his freshman year at Samwell University. He was just a kid from Georgia who loved to bake pies and figure skate, but for whatever reason decides to join the hockey team. The story is cute, but the character art is pretty inconsistent. The main character looks like he’s in middle school and most of his peers look like they’re middle-aged adults – sometimes it pulled me out of the story as a result.

The story is quite appealing and I read it in one sitting. The plot kept me engaged and even though it was predictable, it was still really cute. There are themes of friendship and acceptance woven in throughout, and a little bit of romance (which I loved). Plus the characters have to deal with pressure from school and their families, which people can relate to.

It was definitely LGBT+ friendly, but I also worry because sometimes it felt as though the author was going through a list of stereotypes and selecting a couple of them to give Bitty his personality. It felt harmless, but you can never know. As I am not a gay male, I cannot speak to the representation or the potentially harmful nature of the representation in the story so I would want to do more research into other people’s reactions to the webcomic before recommending it.

In addition, the language used in the comic and the themes from it might not be appropriate for younger teen readers – even if the general story itself would be appealing to most readers. There is a lot of swearing throughout the course of the story and sex is typically spoken of in a vulgar fashion or using slang terms. This may appeal to a lot of high school aged readers, but I certainly would hesitate before recommending it to middle school aged readers.

Overall, I think this comic appeals to a wide range of readers – despite its seemingly very specific demographic as it is a graphic novel about a college-aged, gay, pie baking, hockey player.



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