A pie-baking hockey player from small-town Georgia begins college and settles into jock culture.
Eric “Bitty” Bittle’s dreams are coming true: He is starting college on the hockey team at Samwell University in Massachusetts. Bitty played hockey and figure skated competitively; unfortunately, the coed team back home did not allow “checking,” or physical contact, and Bitty’s fear of being hit becomes a real impediment in college hockey. Bitty’s team captain, Jack Zimmerman, “the hockey prince,” is determined to break Bitty of his fear of being checked. Despite Jack’s mercurial nature, Bitty develops a serious crush on the attractive athlete. As the practices and games develop, Bitty forms bonds with the other players and, after coming out, settles into college life. When sophomore year rolls around, Bitty has to face that two of his closest teammates are seniors and will be leaving soon. Based on a popular webcomic, this is a warm story with an irresistible protagonist, a clever supporting cast, and lively and plentiful game and practice scenes. There are many themes here: acceptance, standing up to fear, and finding your place, to name a few. Despite its episodic style, the humor and heart at the center of the story carry it through. The art relies on expressive facial shots to complement the snappy and sometimes-raunchy dialogue. Bitty is white, and there is some diversity in secondary characters.
A fun and deeply satisfying read for teens. (Graphic novel. 14-18)