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The last thing in the world Thom Creed wants is to add to his father's pain, so he keeps secrets. Like that he has special powers. And that he's been asked to join the League - the very organization of superheroes that spurned his dad. But the most painful secret of all is one Thom can barely face himself: he's gay.

But becoming a member of the League opens up a new world to Thom. There, he connects with a misfit group of aspiring heroes, including Scarlett, who can control fire but not her anger; Typhoid Larry, who can make anyone sick with his touch; and Ruth, a wise old broad who can see the future. Like Thom, these heroes have things to hide; but they will have to learn to trust one another when they uncover a deadly conspiracy within the League.

To survive, Thom will face challenges he never imagined. To find happiness, he'll have to come to terms with his father's past and discover the kind of hero he really wants to be.

428 pages, Hardcover

First published August 28, 2007

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About the author

Perry Moore

3 books211 followers
Perry Moore was 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.

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, tells the story of the world’s first gay teen superhero. A big screen adaptation is in the works with Stan Lee.

Moore died on February 17, 2011, at the age of 39, of an apparent overdose of pain medication at his home in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,606 reviews
Profile Image for Brooke.
538 reviews297 followers
February 10, 2017
Almost every review I've read for this book applauds the subject matter (a gay teen superhero) but laments the sloppy writing. I'm going to add my voice to this choir.

The writing reminded me of problems I've had with some other YA novels. Everything is just a little too melodramatic, a little too overwritten, and a little too loud. The pacing is inconsistent; months will go by without much mention and yet events will be mentioned as if they just happened yesterday. There are countless contradictions within the text - I'd started off trying to remember some to mention as examples and quickly gave up. The main character's super power is healing, and yet he doesn't heal people close to him when the plot requires that they have an injury or ailment. There's a minor mystery involving murdered superheroes that never seems to be resolved, and then there's a surprise final villain that suffers from a lack of any foreshadowing that would make it believable. And then there's a complete lack of exploring themes that lend itself to the story - how about some musing on the parallels between an in-the-closet teen and a superhero with a secret identity?

2.5 stars is probably a more accurate rating, since I enjoyed it and it was a quick read, but the problems made me wince so many times and I was completely frustrated that a great opportunity had been squandered.
Profile Image for Dan.
10 reviews11 followers
August 21, 2009
In Hero, author Perry Moore demonstrates a superpower of his own: he can turn prose into lead.

Since Moore's intentions are admirable, it's tempting to gloss over the book's poor execution by praising it using plenty of qualifiers. ("Hero is the best YA novel featuring a gay teen superhero I've read all month!") Unfortunately, I just can't bring myself to use the words "Hero" and "best" in the same sentence. Well, in a pinch I could probably force myself to say, "I read Hero while staying at a Best Western," but even that would be a lie.

Moore's writing fails on every level. It lacks any poetry or spark--there's no life to it. I've read screenplays where the stage directions were written with more flair. The characters are bitchy and unappealing. (Bitchy characters are fine as long as they are also appealing.) The dialogue is pedestrian. The structure of the story is flabby. Even the superhero names are awful: Dark Hero...Golden Boy...Right Wing...Velvet Vixen...Galaxy Guy. And no, I'm not making these up.

Moore has chosen to set his story in the DC Comics Universe. (For any non-geeks out there, DC is the company that publishes Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. If you don't know who those characters are, you're on your own.) It appears, however, that since Moore didn't own the rights to any of the DC characters, he avoided copyright infringement by making slight (extreeeemely slight) alterations to them. Presumably a lawyer advised him on precisely how much he needed to tweak each character in order to avoid getting sued. ("No, Perry, Sooperman is still too close to Superman. Ditto on Supermann. What's that? Uberman, you say? Eh, good enough. Do I get paid now?") I would have been fine with him satirizing established superhero characters, as the creators of Cerebus the Aardvark and The Tick did, but Moore isn't making any sort of commentary on the original characters. He is simply ripping them off.

As I said earlier, Moore has admirable intentions. In mainstream comic books, on the rare occasions when gay characters have been depicted, well-meaning creators have unconsciously let their prejudices run wild. So, while it would never occur to them to show Spider-Man getting gang-raped, castrated, or impaled through the anus, give 'em a gay character and suddenly all of those storylines become strangely appealing. Moore published a list (click here to see it) detailing the grisly fates of various gay superheroes. He says he wrote Hero as a corrective to this shabby treatment, and in that limited arena he succeeds.

If you're looking for a well-written YA novel about a gay teenager (albeit a non-superpowered one), I recommend Brent Hartinger's Geography Club.

Profile Image for mark monday.
1,678 reviews5,254 followers
May 28, 2022
Hero was one of the It Books of 2007 (Young Adult subset): an angsty and heartwarming tale of a closeted teen superhero coming to grips with his sexuality, his macho dad, his literally invisible mom, his yearning for love and for belonging. It pushed all of the progressive buttons: an innocent ostracized by an othering society, middle class privilege, very pro-women/seniors/immigrants/disabled, very questioning of paternalism, and very prone to catastrophizing the present while ignoring past socio-political strides forward. Perry Moore was also rather an It Guy in those years: producer of the Narnia films and a healthy, horsey, very mainstream representative of gay men (including a moment as People's Sexy Man of the Week, complete with emphasis on his love of surfing).

RIP, Perry Moore! You seemed like a really sweet guy and you left us too soon.

I thought this was a perfectly pleasant book. It hit all the right spots for me. Moore wrote it due to a long-simmering anger at the various deaths bestowed on various gay & lesbian comic book characters - at one point, he even had a website parallel to Women in Refrigerators that listed all of the ways LGBT characters have died in comics. Point well taken. That said, kudos aside, I rolled my eyes a lot in this book because it is super melodramatic. Is that a power? If so, this book's superhero identity would be Drama Queen. Okay, and that said, I still thought this was sweet and kind and also page-turning and amusing, all the good things. There are plenty of plot holes (including an absurd murder mystery) and all the superheroes on display are transparent Justice League archetypes. I think a lot of Goodreads reviewers are holding those flaws against this book. I think a lot of Goodreads reviewers are also sorta missing the point.
Profile Image for Melissa Veras.
533 reviews206 followers
June 30, 2016
Go fuck yourself, book >:(

EDIT: I wrote that when I just finished the book and I was ranting :/ But it's not fair because this was a good, entertaining book and, most important, it's a book about a gay teenager... that, beware... does not only revolves around his sexuality! He has other problems, he has a life, he has superpowers... it just happens that he is gay too. That's the LGBT literature I want to see more of.

I love the main character, and his father <3 The plot wasn't a masterpiece but like I said, it was entertaining. 3.5 stars for you, book. :)
Profile Image for Punk.
1,509 reviews250 followers
November 14, 2007
Young Adult. A gay teenager with superpowers and his disgraced hero-dad live together in the suburbs. They have their differences, but when Thom gets tapped to try out for the League (of superheroes) those differences threaten to tear them apart. Hee, sorry. It really is that dramatic.

This book takes on a lot. It's got a solid story with a good array of characters. Kind of like a mix of The Incredibles and Sky High. A lot of the superheroes were just familiar DC characters with slightly different names, but there were some great original heroes like Typhoid Larry, who, as the underdog, was kind of my favorite. Superheroes are a given in this world, but gayness is not. And it's there I kept falling out of the story. The pervasive homophobia is so blatant and off-hand it's almost hard to believe. This is a world with superpowered aliens and queer is still bad? Even the ALIEN hates gays. I mean, come on. You can't ignore that superheroes are coded as queer -- they have secret identities and unexpected powers. It's a classic comics trope that if their true identities were ever to come out, it's their families that take the brunt of the attack. There's a ready made parallel for this in the book, but Moore doesn't take advantage of it, and that's my biggest problem. It's shortsighted to mix queer and superheroes and not connect them in some way; I was disappointed that Moore didn't even try.

Two stars. It kept me reading and I finished it in two sittings, but it never pulled me in.
Profile Image for Mir.
4,867 reviews5,034 followers
June 3, 2009
This novel was inspired by the "secret identity" theme in comic books, which sociologists have previously likened to the secret, "closeted" identity of many homosexuals. Thom a gay teen whose dad was once a super-hero and is now a blue-collar laborer. Thom is trying to cope with his own powers and his homosexuality while hiding them from his family and community.
Profile Image for Rachel Aranda.
888 reviews2,266 followers
December 22, 2019
This story had some good points that made me enjoy this book. The emotions that the characters had to cover up due to layers of deep secrets was greatly written. They felt very honest and exactly how I would feel. Also Thom couldn't have chosen a better group of friends or love interest than he did. I hope he has a great life because he deserves it.

Still there were times where this book annoyed me. An instance that annoyed me was when it felt like the author gave us [the readers] 3 mysteries in the beginning that the main character knew the answers to. I kept wondering "why is the author trying to make us guess if they aren't really mysteries?" It just felt like unnecessary hindrances to the intro.

Honestly this book felt like it could have been two parts (before and after Dad finding out about League and murders). I'm still not sure why it wasn't written that way as I think it would have been a great duology.

This wasn't the best nor worst book I ever read but it is still a memorable book for me. The thing that bugs me is that this book could have been better. Still it is a debut novel so it gives me hope the author will listen to feedback to become an even better novelist. I would definitely read another book by this author or even a sequel to this story if one was written. This is what makes reading this book so difficult for me. It's a 3.75 rating for me but I'll round it up to 4 star rating. I’d recommend everyone interested in reading a book with LGBTQA+ and superheroes in a coming-of-age story then give it a shot.

Rating: 3.75-4 stars
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,266 followers
July 21, 2014
(I read this a few years ago so forgive me if I don't remember all of it. Here are my thoughts on what I recall.)

I think I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. What probably turned me off most about it was that it was too campy. I prefer my superheroes to be darker, more serious, more grounded in reality:

Not goofy and punny:

And that's what a lot of this book was. The only deeper parts were the waaaaaay overused trope of using the alternate identities of a superhero as a metaphor for being gay. Bryan Singer did it much better in the first X-Men movie, btw. Much. Better.

I could have done without the romance element, which was again cliché since you have the hero-falling-for-the-villain-but-they-don't-know-who-the-other-is-beneath-their-masks bit. *Cough* Batman and Catwoman *cough*

Apparently, the author was working on a sequel to this before he died but never finished it, so I guess we'll never find out the rest of the story and the few unanswered questions will always be left up in the air.
Profile Image for Edward.
80 reviews5 followers
September 20, 2007
This is one of the best Gay Teen/Coming of Age books I have read since Boy Meets Boy (I have to review that as well). This story is set in the alternate world where Superheroes are a part of every day life, but puts a more humorous twist to it than many graphic novels. For avid readers of the Gay/YA fiction genre I would say that this book is a blend of Year of Ice, The Tick and the X-Men comic series. Thom Creed is a boy coming to terms with both his sexuality and burgeoning super powers – he can heal with a touch. His relationship with his father, a disgraced superhero, is further strained when a rival calls Thom a “faggot”. Thom is later involved in an incident which brings him to the attention of the League, the union of the local super heroes and their lesser sidekicks and “minor” heroes. At League tryouts, Thom is paired with an assortment of superheroes: a demoted sidekick with super speed, a man who can make people sick, literally, a girl with pyrotechnic capabilities and anger management issues, and finally a elderly woman who smokes and “can see things”. This team helps Thom get a better understanding of his place in the world, as well as how to better relate with his father and mysterious mother. The last half of the novel has Thom and the team battling an alien entity and resolving Thom’s family and romantic situation. Hoping that a reference elsewhere on the net that his may be a series of books is true and we see more of Thom the superhero.
Profile Image for Abby Johnson.
3,373 reviews318 followers
November 28, 2007
In a world where superheroes are real, Thom dreams about joining The League, a band of A-list good guys who protect the citizens of their fair city. He also dreams about one of the most famous (and dreamiest) superheroes, Uberman. Thom's keeping a lot of secrets, not the least of which is that he's got superpowers and has been invited to try out for The League. He knows his dad would flip if he found out. His dad used to be a hero, one of the greats. But then he was maimed in a catastrophic accident during a rescue mission that went terribly awry. Now Thom's dad is a pariah and blamed for hundreds of deaths. He's sworn off the hero stuff for good and Thom knows that there's no way he'd let him join The League.

Throw in a zany cast of outcast potential superheroes, a dark stranger following Thom everywhere he goes, and a disappearing mom and you've got Hero. The book has issues to spare... family issues, abandonment, sexuality, and characters facing death every other day... Through it all, Thom is learning to trust who he is, to show who he is, and to see beyond the faces that everyone else shows the world.

I really enjoyed this novel. It had a lot going on and it's a book you can really sink your teeth into. I loved the superhero world that Moore created. I loved that Thom was gay, but the book was about more than that.

Readalike suggestions: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Profile Image for Trin.
1,842 reviews565 followers
January 4, 2008
Yawn. Punk sums up a lot of the problems I had with this book in her review—the cartoonishly ridiculous level of homophobia, the utter failure to take advantage of the preexisting (and really cool) connection between being queer and being a superhero—but I would also like to add this complaint: it’s boring. The melodrama level is high, but as for actual drama…on the edge of my seat I was not. A lot of the “twists” are incredibly predictable, and frankly, I just never believed in this society, this world. Maybe this would have appealed to me a bit more if I were a DC fan—a lot of the characters are thinly disguised DC folk anyway. But I’m a Marvel girl, and other than the X-Men (who are, despite being a group, very much a band of outsiders), I’ve never been a fan of the Justice League school of superheroes. It takes so much of the secrecy—and thus the fun—out. So, yeah. Disappointing.
Profile Image for karlé.
168 reviews27 followers
December 15, 2012
Perry Moore wrote one of the strongest leads I have ever known. I really think 'Hero' will be a great franchise out there someday! RIP Perry Moore.
Profile Image for Serena Yates.
Author 98 books768 followers
August 8, 2010
This is a great YA book with a gay hero. In more than one sense of the word, the main character, Thom, has to grow up in this story.

There are secrets that need solving on a personal level (his powers and how to deal with his sexual orientation), with his family (both his mother and his father have something to hide, it seems), and society at large (what exactly DID happen at the Wilson Towers all those years ago?). I liked the pacing and the tone of voice, which were both appropriate to how a teenager sees the world. I liked the plot twists and the tension, as well as the group of "misfits" Thom hangs out with. Not to forget the parody and humor around the author's interpretation of the world of superheros.

I thought this was a very interesting and fun YA read.
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,015 followers
September 7, 2008
Perry Moore's Hero was actually kind of disappointing. Quite a few people I know had fangirled about it, so maybe I just expected too much from it. It's not a bad story, and I have absolutely no objections to young adult lit with gay characters -- my thoughts are yes please on that score. Writing-wise, though, the book just isn't that good. To me, it went by very very fast, despite the four hundred pages, and it didn't give me all that much to grab onto. That was kind of good when it came to the action scenes, but... Stuff like Ruth's death almost slipped by me because the story hurtles along at breakneck speed. The casualness with which Scarlett announces she might be pregnant makes me wince. Serious, important things just get skipped over.

It wasn't all that original, really: all the superhero characters were basically the ones we all know, but with their names changed; I've read the same situations when it comes to coming out and being gay in a million stories online; and saving the world is saving the world is saving the world. The only really new thing was that Thom Creed is gay. That part actually kind of bothered me. Everyone in this book seems to know about Thom's sexuality even before he admits it aloud, and nearly everyone hates him for it. Neither of those things are even remotely realistic. I mean, I've known for five years at least that I'm bisexual, but in all that time, no one has ever just guessed my sexuality. It's not like we have it stencilled on our foreheads. And, strangely enough, not everyone in the world is homophobic. Okay, it's a book, it's fiction, it's not meant to be realistic, but... Perry Moore is gay himself, right? I can imagine that since he's openly so, he's had some of that experience, but I can't imagine that everyone in his world immediately condemned him because he's gay, because that's just not what happens.

It also kind of made me wince when Thom's mother said that her career didn't matter because she had the man she wanted, and also at the way she dismissed any idea that Hal might be biased in thinking that she should give up her career because she's the woman and "second rate". I have no idea if Perry Moore realised how that scene would come across, but ouch.

One thing I did like a lot was the relationship between Hal and Thom. I had no trouble believing in the way Hal treated his son and reacted to his various secrets, and I actually hurt for them both in a lot of their interactions.

All in all, though, I wasn't really impressed. It's fun enough to read, and I hope it sets a precedent for books about gay characters, but I really didn't enjoy it as much as I was hoping to. I'm giving it three stars ("liked it") on goodreads, but I don't think, if I was basing that purely on how good the book is, it should get that much.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for David.
Author 18 books349 followers
November 11, 2011
This is what you call a superhero novel with a message, that message being "Gay is okay." So, wonderful, it's a message I can support, but a redeeming message is not enough to make me love a book, and this book, while not bad, and certainly not disrespectful to the superhero genre, didn't really do anything original except make the hero gay. In fact, it was overall a pretty derivative story and I doubt it would have gotten much attention at all (or even published) if not for the central theme, that Thom Creed, the title hero, has two "secret identities," one as a superhuman, the other as a gay teenager whose famous ex-hero father is also a bit of a homophobe.

I say "a bit" because of course this is a father-son novel and so by the end of the book, heartwarming acceptance amidst heroic self-sacrifice occurs, and Thom Creed is happily paired up with his handsome boyfriend (also a closeted superhero) in the brave new world they have just saved.

For a gay teenager struggling with identity and acceptance and wanting to see someone like himself represented as a protagonist, this is probably a wonderful book. Me being old and cranky and cheerfully supportive of the whole Gay Agenda and anything else that makes bigots cry, I am glad books like this exist, but since I was mostly interested in the superhero story, I found it mediocre. Perry Moore makes no attempt to do anything original with superheroes, and even the satire is very familiar territory.

Not a bad read, but unless you're trying to earn a few diversity points on your reading list, I can't really recommend it as anything special.
1 review6 followers
September 3, 2007
This is an excellent book. It is not only for gay teens or fans of comics. It appeals to everyone who has ever felt rejected, outcast, or uncertain whether their friends would like them if they knew what was going on under the surface... and who cant relate to that?

The characters are appealing and real, even though they have superpowers. The writing is easy to read and is like hanging out with someone you really like. The author has made what would otherwise seem like a book with a very small audience appealing to a much larger audience because he has written in terms that everyone can understand. If you have never fellt unsure of youself, or like an outcast, good for you. Otherwise, you will love this book.
Profile Image for vanessa (effiereads).
255 reviews67 followers
March 20, 2021
Re-reading a book I heralded as an absolute favourite was an eye-opener. Very indicative of the 2000's queer lit and the pure abysmal representation, Hero is filled with internalized homophobia (that never gets checked or developed), slut-shaming, rampant homophobia from a major character that is later dismissed because she has a disability and they felt sorry for her (????), and not to mention a very toxic relationship with the father figure.

And okay, this would be fine in a novel if there was any progress or character development but there was none of that! Even the plot was lacking in detail and was wrapped up super quickly! Honestly, iIf the whole book could've been like the last 30 pages, then it would've been awesome. Alas, it was not.

Sometimes it's best not to re-read your heroes. :P
Profile Image for Kate.
276 reviews4 followers
January 9, 2008
a gay teenage superhero trying to come to terms with his sexuality, super powers, and troubles with his parents (or lack thereof)...i loved this book. the only reason i didn't give it five stars is because i felt in a couple of areas it was a little too wordy, but other than that, it was fantastic. i'm jealous.
Profile Image for EscaPe iNTo thE PaGEs.
502 reviews39 followers
November 11, 2011
This story was really well done. It revolves around the MC Thom Creed, who's parents are famous super heroes. Thom hopes to one day follow in their footsteps but there is one thing that hinders him, the fact that he is hiding a very big secret. This book had action, humor and sadness. I definately recommend it
Profile Image for David .
647 reviews8 followers
May 5, 2020

This was so good. I really enjoyed it. It would've been even better if the antagonist had had more parts and scenes before the story reached the resolution. But still... AWESOME!
Profile Image for Dracolibris.
394 reviews30 followers
October 22, 2007
This is the kind of book that makes me want to stay home from work and spend the day turning pages. But go to work I did on Friday, and I had to wait until Saturday to finish the story of Thom Creed, a teenager who has more than his share of problems. His father was a highly respected super hero back in the day, but "somehow" became disgraced and now struggles to make ends meet for him and his son, who have been alone since mom disappeared. Thom feels that he not only has to hide his true sexuality from his father, but also his budding super-powers because of his father's resentment towards the super hero community that shuns him. But when Thom gets an invite to try out for the League, he can't resist the chance to learn how to use his powers for good and become a hero. He hopes.

I LOVED this book, but only gave it four stars because the heroes were so obviously based on big name stars we know and love that it became a bit distracting for me and took me out of the book's spell now and then. But I would not hesitate to recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good super-hero adventure with lots of heart.
Profile Image for Tara.
941 reviews55 followers
June 14, 2011
This is a great book. It made me smile and maybe even shed a tear or two. It's a young adult story that on a takes on a lot of issues. Some directly, some using superheroes and villains to represent others. It was full of great characters and I think it has a strong message for teens.

Thom is a teenager who's dad is a disgraced superhero. Thom is gay and now he's coming in to his powers. He has a lot on his plate and has a lot of difficult things to decide. He doesn't always do the right thing at first, but he knows when he hasn't and does try to correct it. In a world that accepts superheroes and aliens with super powers (think superman), being gay is still prejudiced against. Actually it seems all your standard prejudices and bigotry is in this world. Although, there is a lot of smoking in this book, which I found odd. But other than that, I think it handles things well.

We see Thom deal with his parents and the legacy they left him. We see a young boy becoming a man. We also witness his struggle to accept what he is and deal with his father finding out about it. Like I said great story.
Profile Image for Ery.
317 reviews2 followers
February 22, 2013
Hero was an enjoyable superhero story reminiscent of the tv series 'Heroes' (weird, I know), combined with a comic. The main character, Thom, is a high school student struggling with the fact he is gay and developing superpowers. The fact he is developing powers is exciting to him, particularly when he gets the opportunity to try out for the "league", a law enforcement organization, of sorts, which is well-respected amongst the general population (unlike homosexuality). Unfortunately, he must hide his developing superpowers, and his sexuality, from his father- who strongly disapproves of both. Written with a wry, but subtle humor, this story was a nice blend of fun imagination and an individual coming to terms with who he is. Combined with that are the standard struggles of coming out, family trials, and aspirations to be part of something greater. Love is certainly involved, but the theme of familial love and acceptance is stronger than romantic love, which, while present, takes a backseat here. This was a nice, fun, and interesting read that touches on some heavier YA topics with a lighthearted touch.
Profile Image for Neznem (Trent).
79 reviews1 follower
February 11, 2015
The content of this novel—a gay teen fledgling superhero—was what drew me to it. It does struggle in the styling and the pacing, but overall it was fun, gritty at times, emotional and introspective.

I really enjoyed Hero. It's a bit cliched in parts and clearly rips off very famous superheroes, but it does so in a fun, campy way. It has a lot of closeted, gay teen angst but that's the purpose of the story so it's not overbearing. One thing I really enjoyed was how real and gritty it was, especially at the ending.

I wish a few things were more drawn out and explained like the evolution of his powers, but it didn't kill the book.

I loved a lot of the characters, especially Ruth. She was fantastic. The character development and interaction was probably the best part of this book. Also the family relationship for Thom was especially well done, I thought. I'd recommend this book to just about anyone. It was fun.
Profile Image for Nic Hunter.
6 reviews1 follower
February 14, 2008
So, someone said this book was cute. And I thought, "I can do cute." They said that it was gay superheros. I though, "I could do gay superheros."

The book itself is quite nice actually. While some of the storyline is fumbled, and a few of the characters aren't all there, it's nice.

The main character is dealing with many problems, but the two biggest is being gay and finding that he has super powers. "And those are problems why?" you might ask? Well, things are a bit different where he lives.

I don't necessarily think that this book will change your life, or make you re-evaluate everything you know, but it is a feel-good book and it's a great coming-of-age book. I'd definitely check it out.
Profile Image for J.S. Young.
Author 2 books19 followers
September 6, 2016
I'll be honest I wanted this book to be mindblowing. And it wasn't but it was very good. We follow Thom who is a son of a disgraced superhero, he's gay and he's got powers two things his dad hates. But there is so much more to navigate than that.

The writing itself is very average, it's not beautiful or intense it's just good. It told the story with some humour and a lot seriousness which I think sets it apart from other superhero based fiction. The ones I've read don't generally dwell on the darker subject matters. But as this dealt with a difficult situation for Thom Moore did a good job of navigating the complex relationships Thom had.

The plot itself was another problem for me as it the build up didn't really seem to lead to where it was. The first half deals with one thing and the second half felt a little disconnected from it. The climax just didn't feel like it was grown from the story. It was a good climax and possibly the most intense moment in the book but without that grounding the villain reveal didn't work for me. Which is a shame because the rest of the scene displays some absolutely brilliant moments.

Thom is essentially brilliant. He is struggling with being gay and having his powers and tries to really keep it under wraps. It blows up when his face is on the news and when someone calls him out for it at a basketball game and when he outs himself publicly. But he kept going. He wanted to help people and that was such an integral part of the character it makes the end so much worse. As a healer he really has an affinity for coming to peoples aid, which happens right at the beginning when we meet Goran.
His two most important relationships in my eyes are with his dad and Ruth. Not Goran but I did enjoy the romantic subplot. His dad and him don't see eye to eye so we get a lot of tension between them. A lot of tension. But it's the moments that aren't tense that mean a lot. The moments where Thom is undercover at the factory and the ending where Hal gives his parting advice. That moment was honestly horrible because it had to happen. Thom deserved better at the end than having both his parents dead. His mum was missing for most of the book and then shows up whenever. She was useful but I didn't enjoy her parts.
Now Ruth was honestly amazing. She was a lovely old lady with the ability to see the future. On the rag tag team though she was really quite stunning. Because she was so clever and knew what to say. She was the only one who really accepted Thom at the beginning and that was great. She stood by him and stood up for him until the very end. Her death was horrible because of how much it tore Thom up really. You could see it kinda devastated him. She was a guiding path in his superhero journey so the only way he could stand on his own two feet was if she died. Sad but true in this case.
Goran was not without his merits. I loved the basketball scenes and the obvious intensity between the two. The only problem for me was that it was sooooooo obvious he was Dark Hero. Anyone else? It wasn't a big reveal and all it really means is that you've been shipping Thom with the same person the whole time. Which is helpful. The one poignant conversation they really have is Goran's past but I did really like the end scene. I mean actually the very last scene was simultaneously hilarious and brilliant and poignant. But it gives hope for a future for Thom and Goran. Plus bonus points for including an Armenian character? I think he was Armenian, that side of the world at least.
His other team mates were fun Scarlett and her cancer was heartwrenching. But it was okay by the end because miracles of healing powers. She was really self assured in front of everyone but that truth was not what I was expecting. I'm glad though more representation in fiction please. Larry was amusing his power the perfect opposite to Thom's and though he doesn't really die you are lead to believe he does for one moment. And then we have Kevin who could be so much more than what he was. So much unexplored potential in my opinion. His past is much murkier than the others and I'd loved to somehow have explored that more.

Now Justice being the villain I've already kind of said why it annoyed me. But also the fact he was all powerful was irritating. He was the Superman basically if Superman was a villain, down the weakness to a shiny stone. Then you had Warrior Woman who was basically Wonder Woman. And that just felt a little odd to me. Either as homage or rip off I didn't like that.

But still I gave it 4 stars. I can't really explain it but the character of Thom was just such a good lead. And his personal journey and relationships keep the book afloat among the other stuff. Definitely one people should read but may be not top priority.
Profile Image for Kris.
354 reviews33 followers
April 8, 2010
The Review:

Honesty from the outset~

Yes, it's my first 5 stars. *rolls eyes* Get over it, people!

First things first~

(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.

Finally, and 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.

A couple of issues/warnings~

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.

My recommendation~

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.
5 reviews
July 5, 2014
People have already mentioned the poor writing, confusing pacing, and the lack of sympathetic characters. All true. There's also people lauding the subject matter, saying it's great having a gay teen superhero. Also true.

What I don't see mentioned, though, is the blatant misogyny and utter lack of critical thinking within this book when not dealing with queer issues. All the women in this novel are treated with disdain -- people call him a girl when he's not performing well, the main character makes blanket statements, like "you know how women can be with their pictures. Most of them don't like to be reminded of how they looked 30 lbs ago." (57)

Here, we have supposedly the most good, upstanding hero in the world, Justice. About his colleague, he says: "Warrior Woman's a bitch." (182). Great. for any young girls, gay or not, reading this book, it's good to know that the most prolific and respected woman superhero can be flippantly referred to as a bitch, by her colleague.

And what's a good book without some internalized misogyny? "Do you remember Velvet Vixen?" Thom's mother asks. "No, of course you don't, you're too young. Well, she was a real slut, and I didn't want anyone thinking I was easy like her." (301)

But wait, my favourite: "There'd been lots of girls and makeout sessions once I'd hit puberty, but nothing I'd really wanted to do...I'd just end up kissing them because I didn't want to be responsible in any way for their low self-esteem or future eating disorders or whatever." (203)


While I can try to appreciate this novel's desire to represent gay boys, it does so at the expense of girls, gay or not, reading this book.

Way to inspire equality in your readers, Hero. Glad to know respecting girls and inspiring women isn't important to you. In fact, it seems you don't give two shits about it. Urgh.
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