In Thanks a lot, John LeClair sixteen year-old Emmitt LaPoint struggles with being a closeted gay hockey player in a relationship with his coach’s nephew, and the expectations that come with being the golden boy of his small Vermont home town. But between his estranged father being back in town and his boyfriend Dusty acting weird his life is getting ever more complicated and he realises that some decisions are more important than fulfilling everyone’s expectations.
First of all, this book has two of my favourite things: hockey and LGBTAIQ* characters. Second of all, I love this book. It’s a companion novel to another book, Here’s to you, Zeb Pike, which I haven’t read yet and which tells the story of how Emmitt and Dusty got together, I believe. But even without having read the other book I had no trouble following this story. Part of Emmitt’s and Dusty’s history is explained through memories and hints, and it’s enough information to understand what’s needed to follow the story.
Emmitt and Dusty are super cute together and I loved reading about an ongoing relationship instead of a developing romance. It also highlights some of the problems that still exist in professional sports, and illustrates the effect the lack of out players in the NHl can have on future generations of players.
Tied into that is the reappearance of Emmitt’s estranged father, who has left his family to move to Ohio where he has a new family now. I’ll be frank with you, I wanted to punch him for what was probably the entirety of the book. He wasn’t a very likeable character in my opinion and got a lot more from Emmitt and his brother Casey than he deserved.
Nevertheless, Thanks a lot, John LeClair is ultimately an incredibly hopeful book that’s trying to tell its readers that things will be okay, and that sometimes it only takes one person to start an avalanche.
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
Publication Date: 15 December 2016
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Page Count: 186
Genre: Young Adult, LGBTAIQ*, Contemporary
A Companion to Here’s to You, Zeb Pike
On the surface, life looks pretty good for sixteen-year-old Emmitt LaPoint: he’s popular, doing well in school, and he’s poised to lead his small-town Vermont hockey team all the way to the state championship–and that’ll lead to attention from scouts. Emmitt might manage to follow in the footsteps of his hockey hero, John LeClair, who he’s been secretly writing to for years.
But beneath the perfect faCade, Emmitt is struggling. All he wants is to hold on to the two things he loves: hockey and his boyfriend, Dusty. But Emmitt’s absentee father has recently returned to breathe down his neck, and not everyone is eager to see him succeed. Few people in town know Emmitt is gay, and it’s getting harder to stay in the closet. On top of everything, Dusty seems to be hiding his own secrets.