Bunt! Striking out on financial aid

Ngozi Ukazu

Book - 2024

"Molly Bauer's first year of college is not the picture-perfect piece of art she'd always envisioned. On day one at PICA, Molly discovers that--through some horrible twist of fate--her full-ride scholarship has vanished! But the ancient texts (PICA's dusty financial aid documents) reveal a loophole. If Molly and 9 other art students win a single game of softball, they'll receive a massive athletic scholarship. Can Molly's crew of ragtag artists succeed in softball without dropping the ball?"--Back cover.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor Comics New GRAPHIC NOVEL/Ukazu (NEW SHELF) Due May 12, 2024
Queer comics
Sports comics
Graphic novels
School comics
New York, NY : First Second, an imprint of Roaring Book Press 2024.
Main Author
Ngozi Ukazu (author)
Other Authors
Mad Rupert (artist), K Czap (colorist)
First edition
Physical Description
279 pages : color illustrations ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

College financial aid woes, potentially shady historic preservation, and amateur softball may not be an intuitive combination for madcap comedy and heartwarming relationships, but this pulls all of those threads together beautifully. Molly has long dreamed of attending PICA and majoring in architectural illustration, so she's devastated to find out at the last minute that her full-ride scholarship is no more due to administrative nonsense. But she discovers she can still get the money through a sports scholarship if she pulls together a softball team that can win one game during the season. The energetic art shines when depicting Molly's frantic intensity over her plan or her lowest moments of doubt, as well as the rest of the team pulled in by promises of tuition money, meeting friends, or learning a new skill. Fans of Ukazu's popular Check, Please! series will adore this crew of weirdos bonding and working together. This proves both that a great team is a work of art and that a year-long group project is achievable as long as students have a sufficient motivation.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Molly Bauer--an aspiring architectural illustrator with dark brown skin, green braids, and two moms who own a hardware store--is excited about attending Peachtree Institute of the Collegiate Arts with a full-ride scholarship. Not even the cynicism of her dropout friend Ryan, who considers college an "intellectual Ponzi scheme," can get her down. But a snafu with her tuition payment leads to desperate measures: when she learns about an obscure athletic scholarship that requires her to assemble a softball team and win one game, she recruits a ragtag crew, including white-cued furniture designer Virginia, who travels with her own handmade chair; Black-cued fashion student Faith, who is financially supported by her parents, with many strings attached; and secretive, East Asian--cued Susanna. In this jam-packed graphic novel romp, Ukazu (Check, Please!) portrays the successes and roadblocks--such as the $60,000-a-year price tag--of applying for art school. Paired with debut illustrator Rupert's expressive character designs and detailed backgrounds, which enrich the work's already savvy and humorous tone, the creators offer a jovial and highly enjoyable story that underscores issues surrounding financial precarity and educational inequity. Ages 14--up. (Feb.)

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Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up--Molly is an incoming freshman who is thrilled to be attending PICA--a prestigious art university in her hometown--when she discovers her scholarship has fallen through. Afraid to tell her two moms, she researches other options and finds a loophole that enables her to earn an athletic scholarship if she can field a softball team and win at least one game. An expected comedy of errors ensues as she assembles a motley group of artists and wrangles her art school dropout best friend to coach them. Molly is depicted as Black, and her group of teammates is a diverse mix of different cultures, sexualities, and sizes. Ukazu, known for the Check, Please! graphic novel duology, has once again created an appealing coming-of-age college narrative. Rupert has a fun and cartoony art style, bringing the college campus and ragtag team to life. However, a lot is stuffed into the story as it touches on gentrification, school loans, and whether paying for school is worth it; but the entire story receives a feel-good, though unrealistic, conclusion. VERDICT This breezy graphic novel tries a bit too hard to check all the boxes, but nevertheless is a charming story that will have readers rooting for Molly to persevere against the odds.--Nancy McKay

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A group of art students face their greatest challenge yet: being athletic. Molly Bauer, a queer Black girl, is set to enter the Peachtree Institute of Collegiate Arts, her dream art college located in her hometown of Peachtree, North Carolina, on a full-ride scholarship. Unfortunately, due to various mishaps, Molly isn't informed that her scholarship is no longer valid, and she's shocked to learn that she owes $39,000 for her first year's tuition. Her moms don't have that kind of money. Desperate, she reviews the college's scholarship documents and discovers a way to get free tuition--a sport scholarship given to every member of a team that wins a varsity-level game. Molly hatches a plan with her less-than-enthusiastic best friend, PICA dropout Ryan, who's white. She convinces him to coach the softball team she pulls together--a racially diverse group of artists with varying degrees of athletic ability. Molly forms new friendships, but she learns things that change the way she views her hometown forever. The characters have well-developed personalities, and their interactions thoughtfully explore themes of teamwork, coming out of your shell, trusting in yourself, and learning to rely on others as the pressure to win a game mounts. The dynamic, full-color illustrations make effective use of varied perspectives and panel shapes, zooming in and out to ramp up the emotional tension and emphasize the nail-biting action on the field. A heartfelt story of passion, teamwork, and overcoming the odds. (Graphic fiction. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.