Eric Bittle, or Bitty, used to do figure skating and has a vlog where he discusses life and baking, but figure skating isn't an option at Samwell University. He joins the hockey team, moves into their team house, vlogs about their atrocious stove, bakes a lot of pies, and tries to fly under the radar about his crush on team captain Jack. Bitty attends practices, finds out why Jack didn't go pro when he had the chance, and learns a lot about his teammates and the type of people they are. At first, he's horrible at hockey because he can't stand getting banged into the walls, and he shies away from pretty much all physical contact on the ice. He's a lot smaller than the other guys on any team they play, but he's fast and has some tricks in his skates.
This is a very cute story and something I wasn't expected coupled with a hockey story. The sport of hockey has an even more masculine veneer than football, so to have a main character who is gay and bakes pies flies in the face of that uber-masculine hockey player I think we all expect. However, Bitty is an absolutely amazing character, and the way he explores his world and the people in it is sincere and heart-felt. Each character in this book, including the supporting cast, is a full person with fears, hopes, dreams, and thoughts. Yes, Bitty coming out to his teammates is a source of anxiety to him, but as he begins to share that part of himself with others, the acceptance in this story is something I would hope for anyone who has the courage to share their authentic selves.
There is a LOT of cussing, as these students attend college. There are also several overt sexual conversations. There is also alcohol, because, yes, college.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 11-12
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School, Graphic Literature, LGBTQ+, Romance, School Age
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