Thursday, January 23, 2014

Straight Chatting from the Library: Character Interview from Here's To You, Zeb Pike by Johanna Parkhurst

Two of the characters from Here's to You, Zeb Pike by Johanna Parkhurst are here at The Library to visit with us. Johanna will be awarding one ebook to one randomly drawn commenter and one print book (US only - international winners will receive an eBook substitution) to a second randomly drawn commenter during the tour. You can see the other stops on the tour here:

Emmitt: Dusty, you ready to start this interview?

Dusty: Wait, what interview? You’re interviewing me?

Emmitt: Remember? It’s for some blog that’s all about books. You know, ‘cause Johanna wrote that book about us.

Dusty: Oh yeah, that. Are people actually reading that? It’s not like the story’s all that interesting or anything.

Emmitt: Dude, what are you talking about? Your story’s beyond interesting. You took care of your brother and sister without any parents around before you were even in high school, you got caught, you ended up meeting me—

Dusty: Well, I guess that part’s kind of interesting. When I was trying to figure out if you were straight or if you like guys the way I do, and then when those other guys on the hockey team decided to come after me—

Emmitt: Yeah, that whole thing was a lot more than interesting. No worries, though, dude. You’re not the first person to be awed by how amazing I am.

Dusty: You hockey players have real egos, you know that? Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m glad or really pissed off that things with us ended the way they did. (Smiles and shakes his head.) You ready to start the interview now?

Emmitt: Sure. What’s your favorite book?

Dusty: That’s the first question? That’s the best question Johanna could come up with?

Emmitt: The blog is all about books, Dusty. Of course they’d wanna know what your favorite book is.

Dusty: Oh. I guess that makes sense. Oliver Twist.

Emmitt: Oliver Twist? That’s by Charles Dickens.

Dusty: I know. It’s my favorite book.

Emmitt: Dusty, I don’t know if I even finished that book when we had to read it for 9th grade English. How is that your favorite book?

Dusty: Maybe you don’t know ‘cause you didn’t finish it. I really like that book. Oliver’s just trying to figure out how to live in a world that isn’t helping him out, and it’s hard for him to know who to trust. I even like the Dodger. He’s not really a bad guy. No one’s ever given him anything, so he feels like he has to take what he wants.

Emmitt: Dusty, that was deep.

Dusty: I can be deep. What’s the next question?

Emmitt: Can you write Emmitt’s paper on Hamlet for him?

Dusty: That’s not the question. Anyway, you have perfect grades. Why would you need me to write a paper for you?

Emmitt: Hey, I got a B+ in a history class once.

Dusty: That’s awful. What’s the real next question?

Emmitt: Fine. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Dusty: Huh. You know what? I don’t think I’d change anything right now.

Emmitt: Really?

Dusty: Well, yeah. I mean, I’ve already changed a lot lately, don’t you think? Johanna should know that; it’s all in that book. I guess I’d like to be better at kickflips.

Emmitt: You do kind of suck at those.

Dusty: You can’t do one!

Emmitt: Dusty, I keep trying to tell you and Casey: skateboarding’s not a real sport. Hockey’s the real sport.

Dusty: You know, not all of us want to run around on top of metal blades. Listen, I’m hungry. Want to go get a pizza?

Emmitt: Yeah, that should be enough of an interview to make Johanna happy.

Dusty: I hope so. She’s a nice lady and all, but she’s been bugging us a lot ever since that book got published.

Emmitt: I told you; it’s because people are interested in the story.

Dusty: I guess that’s cool. Ready to go?

Emmitt: Yup. Bye, blog readers!

Dusty: Bye!

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?


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, watching football, and spending time with her incredibly supportive husband. You can contact her at or find her on Twitter at

Buy the book at Barnes and Noble, Dreamspinner Press, or Amazon.


  1. Thanks so much for having the boys on your site! They'll never admit it, but they had a great time. :)

  2. Also, Dusty meant to say he's not sure he's glad or pissed off that things with Emmitt "ENDED UP" the way they did. :)

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  4. I like Dusty and Emmitt already!