Welcome to the fourth stop on the Thanks a Lot, John LeClair blog tour! I’m so glad to be able to share this book with all of you! It includes golden boy Emmitt who’s head-over-hockey skates in love with his coach’s nephew, Dusty. How can that not sound appealing?
As Emmitt LaPoint is trying to help his hockey team to get a perfect season, his father shows back up into town, and his boyfriend, who may or may not be his coach’s nephew, is hiding something from him. Even worse-hiding his sexuality from just about everyone is getting just harder and harder.
Smart, fluffy, and important
When I started this book, I believed that it would be about Emmitt trying to win the championship with his boyfriend Dusty backing him up, with a little mystery thrown in. But instead I get something so much better. You get that standard stereotype of the jock trying to hide a gay relationship (I had actually just read a book with this, and was curious to see that it was in the point of view of the jock). But instead of seeing the normal plot go down with this, you see Emmitt actually try and fix this.
Thanks a Lot, John LeClair deals a lot with coming out and acceptance. It mentioned a lot of real world hockey players, including John LeClair, as well as a real organization called “You Can Play”. (Look it up, it’s kind of inspiring.) Emmitt is originally afraid of how people will react, and that is the main reason why he wanted his and Dusty’s relationship to stay secret. But as the book goes on, Emmitt realizes that hiding it was wrong, and, honestly, how he deals with it is amazingly brave, yet hilarious.
There was a lot of meaning packed into this small book, and I found myself needing to read more and more whenever I was able to pick this one up. This book was also brutally honest, with how not everyone would accept you. But as it points out, those who matter wouldn’t care. And those who care, don’t matter. (Dr. Suess, anyone?)
Almost there in terms of everything else
While this book rocked me emotionally while reading, now that I’m sitting down to consider it, there are a few things that I noticed.
The way it was written was quite odd. It wasn’t bad, but with the book so thin, the writing felt thickened, yet so much was happening on one page. I found myself reading this book for hours on end, and only read about 60 pages. I’m not a slow reader, but I’m certainly not a fast reader either, so when I saw that I only read 60 pages in three hours I was a little more than . . . confused.
Dusty’s arch of mystery was also resolved fairly quickly. It didn’t start right away, and it ended even before the 150 mark, which was a bit of a surprise. But overall, it really did help the message of the book, because Dusty was there with Emmitt throughout the ride with coming out and everything else. But in terms of the plot, and what was promised with the summary, I thought it took up too little time, and could have been expanded upon more.
Speaking of Emmitt and Dusty, weren’t those two just adorable. I loved both of their characterizations, and how well they meshed together. It was especially a lot more funny because Emmitt’s brother Casey is best friends with Dusty, so everything with those three was always in sync and absolutely hilarious.
Final Rating: ★★★★★
Despite the small things I pointed out, I love this book. I love it a lot more than I was expecting. I’m still not even that big of a fan of hockey, but damn was that inspiring. Especially towards LGBT+ sports youth, it’s important. I loved the way Parkhurst ended it, leaving things up to you to decide. It’s amazing, please go read it.
Would I Recommend?
As I said, yes. I think I’ll be reading the companion to this book, Here’s to You, Zeb Pike, sometime soon, just to see Emmitt and Dusty again. I might even reread this book, slower, just so I can catch every little thing.
EDIT 12/26/16: It has been brought to my attention that Emmitt’s coming out could be seen as problematic. (Small spoiler: Dusty wasn’t okay with hiding his sexuality anymore, and so Emmitt decided to come out to the rest of his school and his team so they could remain a couple.) While I still enjoyed this novel, I completely understand how some people could see it has harmful.
Published: December 15th, 2016
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Page Count: 204
Synopsis: via Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Emmitt LaPoint has secretly been writing letters to his hockey idol, John LeClair, for years. So it’s probably only fitting that Emmitt’s small Vermont town seems desperate to make him the next LeClair. After all, Emmitt is about to lead his high school hockey team to the state championship, he has a near-perfect GPA, and he’s liked by almost everyone.
But even golden boys have problems, and Emmitt has more than his share. His father’s back in town to breathe down his neck. He’s happily dating his coach’s nephew, Dusty, but almost nobody knows he’s gay—and that secret is getting harder and harder to keep.
When Emmitt discovers Dusty is keeping secrets of his own, he’s forced to decide exactly what kind of golden boy he wants to be.
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“For every pre-order of Thanks a Lot, John LeClair, I’ll make a $1 donation to the YOU CAN PLAY project, which supports LGBTQ athletes. I’ll also send you super-cool book shwag. Just email your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org!”
Meet Johanna Parkhurst:
Johanna Parkhurst grew up on a small dairy farm in northern Vermont before relocating to the rocky mountains of Colorado. She spends her days helping teenagers learn to read and write and her evenings writing things she hopes they’ll like to read. She strives to share stories of young adults who are as determined, passionate, and complex as the ones she shares classrooms with.
Johanna holds degrees from Albertus Magnus College and Teachers College, Columbia University. She loves traveling, hiking, skiing, and yelling at the TV during football and hockey season.
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Follow the Rest of the Tour!
December 5th — Books and Ladders: Author Guest Post
December 5th — Dani Reviews Things: Review
December 6th — Olivia Chanel: Review
Today! — The Book Deviant:
December 8th — Mostly YA Lit: Author Guest Post
December 10th — The Book Voyagers: Review
December 11th — Rattle the Stars: Review
December 12th — Alice’s Book Vault: Review
December 13th — Books for Thought: Review
December 15th — From Top to Bottom: Review