I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Thanks a Lot, John LeClair by Johanna Parkhurst
Release date: December 15th, 2016
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
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.
Before I even start this review, I want to thank Julia Ember for reaching out and organizing this blog tour. Thanks a Lot, John LeClair wasn’t on my radar at all, but I’m really glad that it was brought to my attention! This book was adorable and heartwarming. It discusses difficult topics with hope and positivity that I now can’t wait to pick up the companion book, Here’s to You, Zeb Pike.
And just as a side note, you don’t have to read Here’s to You, Zeb Pike to enjoy Thanks a Lot, John LeClair. It can be read as a standalone. I don’t think I missed out on anything. I will however read the first book because I really want to know more about how the romance of Emmitt and Dusty came to be. I just loved these two characters!
I usually steer clear of sports books, especially those about hockey. They simply don’t interest me. This book however had so much more happening in it that I didn’t mind it at all. Thanks a Lot, John LeClair is more than just a sports book. That’s why I enjoyed it so much! It’s about about acceptance: accepting yourself and others accepting you for who you are.
I absolutely adored the main characters, Emmitt and Dusty! Their relationship was genuine, heart warming and oh so cute. I couldn’t help but smile when I read their conversations. The author did a really good job in writing these characters. I was quickly emotionally invested in their story with all of their struggles and ups and downs. There were so many times that I wanted to reach through the pages and hug Emmitt and Dusty. What really stood out was the fact that the characters actually sound and act like teenagers. The conversations weren’t awkward or overburdened with trying too hard. The boys were honest and totally believable.
Sports books are usually told through the point of view of young straight male characters and this was honestly a breath of fresh air. I can’t begin to tell you how important this type of book is. It takes the hockey player/jock stereotype and adds a new level of depth. It’s a book I want to add to my classroom library. I feel like it could change a lot of minds or at least have teenagers realize that you can be both gay, a jock, good at sports and sensitive…whatever the stereotype is it doesn’t matter. You just need to love yourself for who you are, not what others want you to be. You should never limit yourself!
My only issue with the book was that it was quite short. At 200ish pages I read through it at a fast rate, a rarity for me. I’m usually a slow reader. I just couldn’t get enough! Some scenes could have been lengthened or expanded on, but that’s just me wanting more and more. I just really wish it had even a few more pages. *sigh*
Overall, this is a book that you should really read! You don’t have to be a hockey fan or a teenager to enjoy it. It has an important message and makes you feel all giddy and warm inside.
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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