Review: Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Y’all . . . I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and a 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’s Jack.
. . . You see the problem.

Series: Check, Please! 1
Genre: Contemporary, Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: First Second (1st September 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

I was really looking forward to getting hold of a copy of Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu since I discovered that the webcomic I’d browsed briefly on Tumblr was getting published. Hockey really isn’t a sport I know a lot about, or have even watched, but Ukazu’s story of hockey and baking really drew me in. The story follows Bitty a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team who is a former junior figure skating champion, an amateur baker and a vlogger. This book follows his first two years at Samwell University, and focuses on his life with the hockey team.

This book is basically a compilation of the first two years of Bitty’s life at Samwell University, including some of the extra comments and some of Bitty’s tweets.  So if you’ve read the webcomic and are looking for new stories in this universe, then I think you’ll be disappointed. If like me, you’ve read some (or maybe all) of the webcomics but wanted something physical to hold then you will really enjoy this book. New readers are in for a treat! The book feels really good quality, and the paper feels quite thick and I think the colours have translated well from screen to page.

If you’re looking for a plot driven story then Check, Please! is probably not going to be something you will enjoy, as apart from it being Bitty’s first two years at Samwell University there is no real over-arching plot to tie everything together. Rather, each chapter serves as its own self-contained story, which I guess shows the books roots as a webcomic. Personally I really enjoyed this, as it enabled me to dip in and out of the book without having to worry if I’d forgotten an important plot point twenty pages back.

I also really enjoyed the fact that each chapter feels like a vlog; generally with Bitty addressing the camera, and updating us on what’s going on. Although Bitty is very definitely the main character, I thought Ukazu does a good job with making the rest of the team that appears in the comic seem real. Ukazu does a really fab job at showing the friendships within the team. I particularly love Ransom and Holster’s friendship, and Shitty seems like a really awesome person and just super chill. Check, Please! is perfect for anyone looking for a fun, light read. I also think fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda will love this too.  I’m really looking forward to the second book in this series, which looks like it will be published at some point in 2020.

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