I received this book for free via Harmony Ink Press in exchange for an honest review.
A Companion to Here’s to You, Zeb Pike
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.
The book is a companion novel to Here’s to You, Zeb Pike and it takes place after the events in the book. There are some spoilers from Thanks A Lot, John LeClair but it isn’t too bad.
The writing is good. Well done. It brought up feelings and thoughts without being so complicated. It is written in the first person. This time around, we get to know the feelings and thoughts of Emmitt, on how he would feel about his relationship with Dusty and his relationships with his parents and brother as well as how he felt with his hockey teammates. Like with Here’s To You, Zeb Pike, the writing is very simple and it works in this novel as well. In this book, Johanna focused more on family and on the relationship between Emmitt and Dusty while in Here’s To You, Zeb Pike focused more on the relationship among Dusty’s family.
The plot follows Emmitt after the events of Here’s To You, Zeb Pike. Here we know more of Emmitt and his past. We learned about how he felt with his father leaving the family and got remarried and pretty much, had a better life in Ohio compared to him having to help raise Casey, his little brother while his mom works overtime to be able to help them financially. We also learned how much he adores Dusty.
We saw how hard it was for Dusty to keep their relationship secret but he would do it forever if he has to because he wants Emmitt to be able to success in hockey and be happy. That changes after a young man found a video of them kissing and blackmailed Dusty to keep it quiet. It got Emmitt to come out to his teammates and unintentionally to the world.
We get to know Casey, his mother, and Emmitt more. Emmitt is kinda smug with himself. He gets perfect grades, perfect practices, and perfect games. Scouts are after him. I don’t like that. I don’t get to see his flaws. I believe Casey is my favorite character in this book. He made me want to protect him more than I would with Dusty.
One thing I would love to see books that have LGBTIA+ and sport youth. I would love to read books and see how people would tackle on this topic.
The book is similar to Here’s To You, Zeb Pike. I am not in love with it but I like it enough to enjoy it and that is why I gave it four stars. It doesn’t provide enough punch for me to be able to give it five stars. I however, enjoyed this book more than I did with Here’s To You, Zeb Pike.