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Book Reviews
December 16, 2008 posted by Nikki

Hero by Perry Moore

Hero is like a comic book without the pictures. It is the tale of Thom, a young kid that can heal things with the touch of his hands. He wants to join the League – a group of supernaturally talented people charged with the mission of protecting the citizens – but Thom has a secret that could shatter all his dreams.

Thom comes from a line of League members; both his mother and his father worked for them at some point. When Thom was young, his father was responsible for a major accident that resulted in the death of a lot of people. He was shunned from the League, and from society as well. Consequently, Thom isn’t even allowed to mention the League around his father, let alone entertain the idea of actually joining them. When Thom’s superhero idol invites Thom to try out for a position with the League, Thom decides it is time to take matters into his own hands.

But Thom’s problems run deeper than just a problematic parent. Thom is gay, and where he comes from, being gay is totally frowned upon. Thom knows that if the League members find out that he likes boys, they’ll kick him out and he’ll suffer all kinds of public humiliation. However, even as he tries to hide his sexuality from the world, Thom knows that you can only deny yourself for so long before the truth must come out. As Thom navigates a very public ‘outing’ will he allow himself to fall in love, or will he continue to wallow in shame and self-pity?

It is obvious that Thom is supposed to be a role model for gay kids everywhere, but his lack of courage to fight for his cause, his unabated acceptance of his community’s overt homophobia and his expressions of shame and self-loathing negate any possibility of him presenting as a positive role model. He is likeable enough, though, and I did feel sorry for him in the beginning, but as the narrative came to a close I realised that Thom is an enabler of his own problems. He allows people to treat him with disrespect and discriminate him based on his sexuality.

The superhero aspects of this novel adhere pretty closely to traditional conventions. Heroes are dressed in fabulous costumes, wear capes, fly, and have names like Uberman and Golden Boy. The superhero elements are largely overshadowed by Thom’s sexuality, and Hero is essentially a coming out story dressed up in a superhero costume.

It is a little disappointing to see gay teen characters continually placed in such abusive, negative situations. The time has come for positive stories for queer teens that don’t include overt displays of prejudice and homophobia. In saying that, I hereby challenge writers everywhere, if you’re thinking about writing a gay character into your story, do so respectfully, without reverting to any direct or implied slurs against their sexual preference. I am now officially on the hunt for books which portray gay kids in a positive, non-discriminatory manner. Let the games begin…

Rating: : ★★½☆☆

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13 Comments

  • Nikki, please tell me you have read David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy?! It’s fantastic and the ultimate in “happy gay teen” stories, it made such a nice change from the usual. I really liked Hero but I do agree with what your saying, Thom could have stepped up a bit.

  • Hi Erin,

    I just sent you an email in reply. Yep, i’ve read Boy Meets Boy. Its one of my fave gay teen novels.

  • Hi Nikki! I’m from Brazil, and i’m realy desperate to find this book, but unfortunely it didn’t come to brazil, so can u please say whre i can download it? i’ve looked every where, but i didn’t find it, please help me, i want so bad to read this book.

  • Hi Phill,

    I just send you an email in reply. Hopefully it helps!

  • Hey! I´m from Argentina and like Phill I really want to read this book but I hasnt come here. Do you know where I can find it online?
    Thanks!

  • Hello Nikki!

    I’m from Brazil too, and like the others, I wold like to read David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy. If it’s not a bother to you, could you please tell me where to download it please?

    Thank you~ ^^

  • this book is gay

  • Hi Nikki, I’ve gone mad trying to get this book in Argentina and could not do it. Please could you tell me where to find it online? I would even buy it in pdf format. THANKS!

  • Hi Enrique,

    Amazon is out of stock at the moment, but you could try them in a couple of weeks:

    http://www.amazon.com/Hero-Perry-Moore/dp/1423101960/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266436556&sr=8-1

    I would also suggest trying stores like Barnes and Noble. I think they have online stores.

    Have you checked Perry’s website? He may have links to places you can buy the book.

    I actually saw it on shelves yesterday. Perhaps if you went into a bookstore in Argentina and asked them to special order it for you…. that might work too.

  • Nikki,
    Thanks for taking the time to review this book. Unfortunately, had I found your review of this book before I’d read it, I may not have picked it from the shelves. However, I’m glad I did. I think that it is unfair to judge the book badly based on the terrible situation of homosexuals. Being gay myself, this book isn’t that far off. I applaud Moore for being so realistic. I do slightly agree that there does need to be more happy gay books out there, but the truth needs to be faced that happy gay stories aren’t as common in real life as you’d like to hope for. I do think that your overall summary is pretty spot-on other than that. :]
    Thanks.

  • hi nikki&every one I wold like to read David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy. If it’s not a bother to you, could you PLEASE tell me where to download it? PLEASE!!!!!

  • Hi Vivi,

    I love Boy meets Boy. Its a great read.

    Unfortunately, i don’t know of anywhere you can download the ebook legally, and we cannot advocate the illegal downloading of young adult titles.

    Support your authors!

  • hey can anyone tell me were i can download the audiobook for hero???? plz i would be very grateful

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