Fact: When Zebulon Pike attempted to climb what is now known as Pikes Peak, he got stuck in waist-deep snow and had to turn back.
That’s the last thing Dusty Porter learns in his Colorado history class before appendicitis ruins his life. It isn’t long before social services figures out that Dusty’s parents are more myth than reality, and he and his siblings are shipped off to live in Vermont with an uncle and aunt they’ve never met.
Dusty’s new life is a struggle. His brother and sister don’t seem to need him anymore, and he can’t stand his aunt and uncle. At school, one hockey player develops a personal vendetta against him, while Emmitt, another hockey player, is making it hard for Dusty to keep pretending he’s straight. Problem is, he’s pretty sure Emmitt’s not gay. Then, just when Dusty thinks things can’t get any worse, his mother reappears, looking for a second chance to be a part of his life.
Somehow Zebulon Pike still got the mountain named after him, so Dusty’s determined to persevere — but at what point in life do you keep climbing, and when do you give up and turn back?
I am going into this review a bit differently. I am going to break this book down into parts because I want to find my groove.
The writing is so good. It is very easy to read but it also is complicated. It is not easy to provoke feelings in a book and Johanna did great. She made me feel so sad for the children and being very annoyed with some characters and very angry with others. The book is in first person. We get to hear Dusty’s thoughts and feelings most of the book. It helps us to understand where he is coming from. There are also flashbacks but you can tell whose is talking in the flashbacks. The writing is very straightforward and there are no needed to be very fancy with this book. Stay simple and it works.
The plot in the story is simple. There is no needed to be complicated with this book. I love the fact that there is a family in this book and they are the main focus. You don’t get to see that often in a YA book. Most of the time, it always is the main character with friends, almost never with family.
Dusty has to deal with a lot. Ever since he was little, he had to deal with parents that are not around while basically made sure his brother and sister have food and a home. He had to deal with new set of parents and new town along with a stupid bully and new people. He never had to learn how to deal with feelings. The plot does not focus too much on the romance part. He struggles with the feelings that he has whenever he is around girls or Emmitt. I love how Johanna does not force Dusty to act on his feelings. I like how she made him to really sit back and figure out how to work it out on his own. He is unsure about his feelings with Emmit means anything and what it means to him, and why girls did not give them the heart eyes as well as he is feeling out of control with his life and why it is affecting him more than his brother and sister.
I fell hard for Dusty, Matt, and Julia. I want to grab them and hide so I can protect them from the world. They did not have it easy ever since they were born. Their parents. Ugh. Dusty is the parent that Matt and Julia know they can depend on and Dusty is only 14 years old.
When everyone found out what has happened, he was sent to Vermont along with Matt and Julia to stay with his uncle and aunt. The young children are loving it because they get attention and order that they truly need and Dusty get to be a teenager but he cannot help but to feel hurt. He felt like his Aunt Beth is pushing him aside when she is not truly, eventually they came together and develop a way for them to be able to help raise the kids together. I love his friends. They felt real. They do not fell flat.
I love the book. It brought the feelings. However, it is not five stars for me. I do not jump all over this book and it doesn’t make me want to scream up on the roof and say “I am in love with this book!” The writing and the plot and characters all works together very well and that is why I gave it four stars.