This is a collection of a web comic created by Ngozi Ukazu about the fictional Samwell hockey team. It’s one of NPR’s best books of 2018, but I found it through the Puck Soup hockey podcast. If you don’t like/know anything about hockey and found college to be less than great you will still enjoy this. I love hockey and laughed so hard. But it’s much more about the relationships between friends during a couple of years of their lives. The main character is Eric Bittle, a freshman who was a former figure skater from the south. He comes to school in a hockey mad town and quickly fits in with the hockey team by baking for them (and by having a silky set of mitts.)
I love so many of the characters in this book: Jack is the star and captain of the team, he is the prodigal son of a Stanley Cup champion who got drafted into the NHL but couldn’t handle the pressure and ended up in the hospital after taking too many pills. He’s prickly and serious but he helps Eric (who is afraid of getting hit) and their growing friendship is delightful. Shitty is a senior and seems like a party animal but the way he handles Eric coming out to him is both warm and funny. He also gets into Harvard Law (shout out to Elle Woods.) Ransom and Holster are defensive partners and adorable friends who finish each other’s sentences. They also hosted an educational feature on the blog called Hockey Shit, which was designed to teach people parts of hockey like chirping, and hockey haunches (the big butt that hockey players get.)
The author of the web comic also ran a twitter feed from Eric that ran in conjunction with the comic. There is a lovely surprise at the end where Jack comes to visit Eric in his hometown that made me very happy. If I haven’t totally sold you guys on this, take it from Rainbow Rowell who calls it “Charming, addictive, and genuinely romantic.” I need to read the sequel now. I really loved it so much.