I know I said I’d make the challenge specific to my blog and not include the reviews I’ve done for Wave; however, technically this is not a book I got through her (see how it came to my intention below). Plus the fact it is so bloody good that it deserves all the pimpage it can get!
Hero by Perry Moore
(I think) Tam mentioned this book to me when we were talking YA a couple of months ago and then in another discussion a so-called friend described it as being ‘FANF*%KINGTASTIC’ and very helpfully provided me the link to a bookstore which not only had the paperback, but also free global shipping to Australia. (Damn you, Sean Kennedy!) Well, who could resist??
Thom Creed is not a typical teenager by any stretch of the imagination. His father, Hal Creed, was one of the greatest superheroes of his generation, but after being blamed for a tragic accident became an outcast. Soon after, Thom’s mother disappeared leaving his father devastated and Thom increasingly determined not to cause any further pain to the person who has been the one constant in his life. Circumstance and, I think, Thom’s natural inclinations make him a loner, who is careful to keep his distance from others and to guard his own secrets. The first of these being that he’s gay and the second his newly discovered super powers and invitation to join the League that ostracised his father; both of which he knows will be of great disappointment and sorrow to Hal Creed.
Hero is Thom’s coming of age story. I became very quickly engrossed in Thom’s journey as he struggles with his secrets, the reality of the world of superheroes, the meaning of friendship, the growing feelings he has towards a certain boy, and, in my opinion, most importantly, his relationship with his father. It was the latter that resonated the most with me and truly made this an unforgettable story.
Why did I like this aspect so much? I think it was because it was so extraordinarily moving. Many of us can relate to dealing with issues such as acceptance with parents or other family members. In Thom’s and Hal’s case these problems are exacerbated by their personal situations: their inherent wish to be honest and open with each other; their unwillingness to cause hurt and hesitancy to take that first step; the concern and shame both feel about what happened to Hal and consequently to the family; their pride in the Hal’s former life as a superhero; their desire to help people; and, above all else, their love for each other. All of these themes and issues came through so evocatively in Hero and the majority of them the reader is privileged to explore through Thom as he discovers and begins to comprehend his and his father’s past, present and future.
Although I was charmed by Thom and found his journey a bitter sweet one, it was the character of Hal who I found particularly poignant. He was tragic and flawed, but strangely heroic. His prejudice towards homosexuals was made clear from the start of the book and this obviously influenced Thom’s secrecy about his sexuality; however, there was no doubt that he loved his son. There were two scenes towards the end of the book that broke my heart. Even typing this I have a tear in my eye so be warned that you may need to keep a hankie handy.
Because some people are sure to want to know ;), Hero is beautifully written from the first person POV with an outstanding, engaging and well crafted cast of characters and an excellent plot. Be sure to set a good length of time aside as it will keep you turning the pages until the very end.
Finally, this is not a ‘and the Daddy and Mummy got back together, Daddy regained his place in society, after some minor concerns the Daddy and Mummy accepted their son Thom was gay, Thom found the boy of his dreams, and they all lived happily ever after and saved the world (a number of times), the end’ kind of a story. If that’s what you’re expecting because it’s YA or a superhero story, take your bat and ball and run along home… and may you live the rest of your lives with the niggle that you have missed out on a truly awesome read. Amen.
This is a must read.
Oh, all right. This is a must read for all those of you who want a ‘FANF*%KINGTASTIC’ story! At the very first opportunity, I will be re-reading it. It was a fabulous experience.