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Saturday, 16 August 2014

TBC: The Hockey Saint

Teebz's Book Club had taken a long break from the site, but I remain dedicated to reading. It's a skill that is fading away with the vast amount of technology in our lives, and I want to bring back the freedom that reading provides. When one gets lost in a book, time seems to fly by as the pages are turned. I have read a lot of books, but today's entry is a unique one in that it is the first graphic novel about hockey that I've read! Teebz's Book Club is proud to review The Hockey Saint, written by Howard Shapiro, illustrated by Maricia Inoue and Andres Mossa, and published by Animal Media Group. The Hockey Saint is a great read with some excellent messages written into the story, and I read Mr. Shapiro's story cover-to-cover in one sitting!

From Mr. Shapiro's website, "Since I decided to start writing children’s stories my goal has been to create characters that adults and kids would care about and be interested in following their journey. And also to create stories that SAY SOMETHING. There are thousands of kids books out there and in my little corner of the book store, I want and wanted to do something that can stand the test of time, be relevant and vital. Plus, make it entertaining and enjoyable to read each and every time. I hope I am succeeding in that goal." Mr. Shapiro is an accomplished author with a number of titles for younger readers to his name!

As far as I can find, Andres Mossa is a colorist and artist that has worked for a number of major outlets including Marvel Comics. Miss Maricia Inoue appears to be a newcomer to the world of book publishing as I couldn't find any information on her or any previous works she has produced. Both of them should be extremely proud of their work on The Hockey Saint!

Mr. Shapiro continues his storyline in The Hockey Saint that follows protagonist Tom Leonard from previous books. Tom's now a sophomore in college where he's a walk-on for the hockey team. Through an exchange and a friendly bet with his best friend, Cam, Tom is given the address for the CAHL's star player in Jeremiah Jacobson. Jacobson is Tom's favorite player, so this piece of news is welcomed by Tom!

Tom decides to take a drive out to the address he was given, and he meets Jeremiah Jacobson in a chance encounter. Jeremiah is taken aback at a person stopping by his address to think, and Tom informs Jeremiah that he's struggling with the loss of his parents to a car accident. Jeremiah takes Tom under his wing, but he has one condition: no one can know about their friendship. Tom learns that Jeremiah has stopped talking to the media, and he doesn't want anyone pestering Tom about Jacobson's life.

As Tom and Jeremiah hang out more often, Tom begins to fall under the magic that the CAHL's biggest star has. Jeremiah smokes and drinks, but also volunteers his time at a local food bank and visiting people at the hospital. There's a good and bad side to Jeremiah's secrecy, and Tom begins to let his grades slip and his friendships suffer in order to spend time with Jeremiah.

The bond between them begins to show cracks when Tom is stripped of his captaincy with the school hockey team and his grades don't meet the approval of his grandmother. On top of that, Jeremiah's drinking and partying begin to wear on Tom, and league security begins to ask questions to Tom about Jeremiah! Tom has a lot on his plate as the story progresses, and the strain on his and Jeremiah's relationship begins to show! Will he confront Jeremiah about his drinking, smoking, and partying? Will he tell the security representative anything? Will these two remain friends?

I have to hand it to Mr. Shapiro in that The Hockey Saint is a well-written story about a kid who gets caught up in being friends with his idol. I really enjoyed the illustrated story through the graphic novel as it gave a good sense in what Tom was feeling through his facial expressions. The work done by Andres Mossa and Maricia Inoue really bring Mr. Shapiro's story to life, and they should be commended for their work in this graphic novel.

Mr. Shapiro does an excellent job in The Hockey Saint in illustrating the challenges that Tom faces after he begins to lose track of his responsibilities in the face of hanging out with Jeremiah Jacobson. However, when faced with tough decisions, Tom has to make them. Does he make the right ones? Mr. Shapiro shows how Tom's friendship with Mr. Jacobson comes to a fork in the road between making the easy decision and making the right decision. The Hockey Saint teaches some good lessons, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Because of this, The Hockey Saint deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Pick up your copy of The Hockey Saint at your local bookstore!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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