Title: Here’s to You, Zeb Pike
Series: Here’s to You, Zeb Pike 01
Author: Johanna Parkhurst
Genre: Young adult, Contemporary
Length: Novel (180 pages)
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press (7 Nov 2013)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: 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?
Review: Here’s to You, Zeb Pike is a really heartwarming and heartwrenching book. I know, it’s so good it makes you feel sad and happy at the same time. I didn’t know what to expect from this since this was the first book by Johanna Parkhurst I’ve read and I am glad to say that I loved both the writing style and the plot itself.
Of course, being a teen/young adult book, if you’re an adult reading it you really got to know what you’re into when it comes to young adult fiction. And if you’re reading about damaged teens from broken homes, that’s you’re first big hint that you’ll like it.
The story starts off with the heartbreaking opener of fourteen (almost fifteen) year old Dusty Porter, taking care of his six and eight year old siblings entirely on his own. His mother has flitted off months ago and his father is involved in some shady business, he doesn’t want to be around his kids but he gives them money to survive. Dusty has had a hard life from the start because of his negligent parents. Then, when his sister goes to hospital with appendicitis their entire world crashes down. Dusty’s entire life is changed when an uncle and aunt he never knew he had take him and his siblings into their home. That’s better than going into foster care but Dusty has a hard time accepting his new family and losing his role as primary care giver of his siblings.
At school Dusty is introduced to brothers Emmitt and Casey LaPointe. Emmitt is 16 years old, star of the school hockey team. To top off all the difficulties Dusty is going through, he finds himself attracted to Emmitt. Things keep piling up for Dusty, after all he is a teen as well as being a kid in a heartbreaking situation, but I like the fact that in this story his sexuality is not made part of the drama.
Emmitt and Dustin are sweet together, as only it can be for their age. This is more than a coming of age, in many ways Dusty is already an adult. This is a lot more than two boys discovering themselves. It’s a really charming story of a making of a family and the making of a relationship, which will continue in the next book.