Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Thursday, July 25, 2013

Plot Summary:
Thom is different. Not only is he one of the best basketball players on his team who is not popular, or well-liked, he has a medical condition (Epilepsy) that strikes at the most inconvenient times. Another reason why Thom isn't well liked is that his father was once a superhero who got caught up in a scandal that ruined the respect and admiration everyone had for him. However, deep down, Thom knows why his peers and elders distance themselves from him is because he is gay. Although Thom hasn't "come out" or announced that he is gay, he believes that people can see right through him and despise what they see. After suffering from an epileptic episode on the court, Thom thought his life was over; his doctor revoked his driver's license and he was kicked off the basketball team. Granted, being kicked off the basketball team for having a medical condition that's considered a "liability," Thom realizes that there is nothing left in his home town other then to disappear. Well, after a embarrassing situation with his father's laptop, Thom packed his stuff and left. Not knowing where to go, or do, Thom thought this was the right thing to do until the super villains showed up, along with the Man in Black, and the League. After saving the lives of two people, Thom was invited to the League tryouts to become an elite superhero. Despite blowing up the training simulator, Thom's life changed after learning that the leader of the League is the very man whom his father trained as his sidekick and later abandoned him in his time of need. Not only is Thom trying to manage, and harness, his superpowers, he is trying to come to terms with his sexuality, his mother abandoning him, and meeting his father's expectations. Who said being a superhero was easy? 

Critical Evaluation:
I am so glad I read this book simply because it was not at all what I expected. I am a huge fan of comics, stories, and movies that discuss the inner-minds and feelings of superheroes because it confirms that with all of the super powers, and abilities, they are still human beings. In many ways, when we humanize our heroes, we are not only cutting them slack, but we are realizing that they have feelings, hopes, and dreams like the rest of us. However, that idolization has some serious backlash and that is exactly what happened to Thom's father, Hal. Many years ago, Hal was embroiled in an incident that not only cost them use of his left hand, but made him the local pariah. No one knows what really happened that day except the fact that people died while he was in the building and the blame was placed on him. This is the ugly side of humanity. Hal was treated this way because no one was willing to hear his side of the story, nor were they willing to forgive. This is the problem with heroes; human beings have this knack for placing so many expectations on one person that when tragedy strikes, they quickly abandon or criticize them to the point where they literally have to go into exile. Unfortunately, because of the "incident," Thom suffers from his father's humiliation as well. However, it's not his father's reputation that is bringing him down; in fact, Thom is gay and, for some reason, everyone knows it without him admitting it. I cannot begin to understand what Thom is going through because not only are his superpowers brewing, he has to deal with some extreme teenager problems. As I was reading this book, all I could think of was the X-Men and how they took in young mutants and helped them develop their powers as well as self esteem. Thom's team, a rather obvious group of misfits, is the perfect example of awkward teenagers who must work together to become invincible. Furthermore, just like any teen, there is the unwavering hope that they will find love and acceptance and the ending will have readers anxiously waiting for the sequel (there is a sequel!) 

Information about the Author:
According to his website:
Perry Moore is a best-selling author, film producer, screenwriter, and director, best known as the executive producer of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Moore grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia and attended Norfolk Academy. He majored in English at the University of Virginia, where he was an Echols Scholar, and later served as an intern in the White House for President Bill Clinton before starting his entertainment career in talent and development at MTV and VH1. He then worked as part of the original production team for The Rosie O'Donnell Show. Moore next worked as a creative executive for the late filmmaker Ted Demme and producer Joel Stillerman before joining Walden Media, where he developed and oversaw such film projects as I Am David, the film adaptation of Anne Holm’s acclaimed novel North to Freedom.
A longtime fan of children’s literature and comic books, Moore’s first novel, Hero, the first of a fantasy series about a group of modern-day superheroes, was published by Hyperion August 28, 2007. The young adult novel tells the story of the world’s first gay teen superhero. A big screen adaptation is in the works with Stan Lee.
He is also co-directing a documentary about legendary children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak with partners Hunter Hill and filmmaker Spike Jonze.
 
Genre:
Teen LBGTQ Fiction, Teen Adventure

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Hero:
Awards & Recognition:
  • Positive Review from Booklist
  • Positive Review from School Library Journal

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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