orangerful's Reviews > Hero-Type

Hero-Type by Barry Lyga
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Mar 10, 09

bookshelves: great_books_2008, youngadult, realistic_fiction
Read in March, 2009

I wish I could give this book 3.5 stars...that's more how I feel about it. There are almost too many plots and subplots going on...

In 'Hero Type' by Barry Lyga, Kevin goes from favorite son to outcast overnight when he stops the attack on the town sweetheart Leah. Everyone in Brookdale loves him and the mayor of the town practically gives him a car. The car is fine, but the mayor slaps on two "Support Our Troops" ribbons to the back of the trunk. When Kevin arrives at home, his father orders him to remove the ribbons from the vehicle. Kevin obeys without question and is caught be reporters as he tosses the magnets into the garbage. When asked why he did it, Kevin decides not to blame his father, but to take a stand. The simple act of throwing away the magnets goes from Kevin honoring his father into an experiment in free speech.

'Hero Type' is a conundrum of a story, teetering on the edge between poingant and annoying. I feel that it will be more readable as we move away from the era of ribbon magnets and flag pins...whenever that might be. This book would be great for a teen discussion group, but I think it would take a teacher with a lot of experience and guts to use this book. Not because there is anything racy, but because it is an argument that is being debated by adults as well as teens. The free speech debate is never easy but this book would be a great tool for someone teaching about the first amendment and why the debate continues today. It is obvious which side Lyga comes down on, and since I agreed with his attitude, I found the book enjoyable. But someone that does not agree with him might find this story unreadable.

But really, the story of the free speech debate is only a subplot to the story of Kevin and his run in with Leah in the alley, along with his strained relationship between his estranged family members. Kevin struggles with the idea that he would ever be considered a "hero" due to personal issues he has dealt with over the past year.

'Hero Type' was a very intriguing read, the kind of book you want to read with a friend so you can discuss it right away. You might not agree with everything Kevin says or does, but he makes some very good points about free speech, America, and how we treat our heroes.
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