cover image Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy

Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy

Faith Erin Hicks. First Second, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-83873-5; $17.99 paper ISBN 978-1-250-83872-8

After Canadian teenage hockey player Alix punches her team captain Lindsay following Lindsay’s berating remarks on her lack of social skills, Alix worries about her own ability to manage her anger. Even worse, Alix’s coach warns her that she’ll have to learn to control her temper if she hopes for Coach’s recommendation to attend a prestigious hockey camp. When Alix witnesses queer classmate Ezra calmly de-escalate a homophobic encounter with a bully, she asks Ezra to teach her how to handle tense situations. As the duo’s mentor-mentee relationship develops into an earnest friendship, Alix discovers that, despite his tranquil demeanor, Ezra is hiding intense feelings of rage and pain stemming from his own challenges. Empathetic dialogue and compassionate depictions of characters’ struggles are complemented by gently rendered illustrations. Vibrant blue accents set against thick, inky b&w line emphasize high-energy moments and aid in narrative and emotional immersion. With a keen eye, Hicks (Ride On) delivers a heartfelt graphic novel that is both a perceptive subversion of gender roles and a remarkable tale of unexpected friendship, personal growth, and the transformative power of embracing one’s true self. Main characters appear white. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)