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3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  132 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
'For the past five weeks I'd prayed that I'd never see my brother's name spelt out in poppies. In the weeks that followed I often wished I had.'

Jammy and Sonny McGann are brothers, but that's where the similarities end. One is calm when the other is angry; one has a plan while the other lives purely in the moment. When Jammy returns from Afghanistan a very different man to
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 25th 2013 by Puffin (first published April 4th 2013)
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Undone by Cat ClarkeLegacy by C.J. DaughertyGeek Girl by Holly SmaleAcid by Emma PassDeadly to Love by Mia Hoddell
UK YA in 2013
39th out of 165 books — 330 voters
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YALC 2014
54th out of 115 books — 92 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 375)
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Kirsty (overflowing library)
This is a hard one for me to review mainly because I'm not sure I can quite do this book justice due to the subject matter and how close to home it is to me personally so I'll try in my own way below but do forgive me if I can't quite find the words.

Heroic is the story of two brothers: Jamm and Sonny and follows the boys as Jamm goes off to fight in Afghanistan through to his return to a normal civilian life after his tour of duty is over. The story is heart breaking and insightful and will lea
Mar 02, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it
Sonny and Jammy, younger and older brothers, living in a high rise hell, The Ghost, where broken families, crime, violence and drugs are the way of life. These boys (and several of their friends) are not part of the stereotype however and now to raise a family income, Jammy (and friend Tommo) is away fighting in Afghanistan while Sonny is left to fight for himself and the family on home turf, with the support of Cam (Tommo's sister). Both scenarios are tough and uncompromising with the boys livi ...more
Sally Flint
Feb 19, 2014 Sally Flint rated it it was amazing
Heroic Philip Earle

This was a great read. Aimed at lower or upper secondary. It is about kids living on a rough estate and how there is a real sense of caring amongst them, a kinship that runs deep. Two of the elder youths go to Afghanistan leaving a gap in the crowd behind. Their friendship is explored as they cope with being young soldiers.One is killed and the other has post traumatic stress disorder. It is a real book of survival. I was completely enthralled by it, and gained a sense of what
Jan 31, 2015 Ami rated it really liked it
I bought this book without hearing anything about it and just having read the blurb. All I can say is that this book should be getting a lot of hype. It was so amazing.

I have only read one other book about the army and soldiers, and I really enjoyed that one, so I had high hopes for this. It definitely delivered.

The main character is sixteen years old, and the book is about him and his brother, who has joined the army. Poverty, theft, drugs, and abuse are just some of the themes in this book.

Tirza Horvath
I loved this book so much! 1) Because I love soldiers! 2) I love stories about brothers!
At the beginning this book really reminded me of the book called 'Private Peaceful', I actually didn't mind that at all, because it is one of my favourite books of all! It did become a different story and not something that was copied, and it was interesting too!
So what I thought about the brothers?;
At the beginning Sonny was a little bit annoying and his side of story was a little boring too. While on the ot
Feb 09, 2014 Jane rated it it was amazing
Loved the raw gritty realism of Heroic and it's intensity and emotion.
There needs to be more books with characters like Sonny, Jammy, Tommo and Cam, ordinary kids trying to survive in a bleak environment with few choices. These teens represent huge numbers of our disaffected youth. Earle unzips their hoodies and reveals their confusion, fear, vulnerability, loneliness, anger, humour, courage, loyalty, weakness and strength. Each individual's struggle is heroic though Sonny's and Jammy's take cen
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
When I heard that Phil Earle had a new book out, without knowing the synopsis or seeing the title or cover, I knew that I had to have a copy. Undoubtedly, Earle is one of my favourite authors. Though he's only released two other books, I absolutely adored them and just from those, I know that he can't disappoint.

After my initial excitement, I calmed down enough to read the blurb of Heroic, I was a little surprised - it seemed quite different to the kind of story that I expected, however when I t
Shaz Goodwin
May 09, 2013 Shaz Goodwin rated it it was amazing
There’s a poem at the beginning, ‘The Brothers’ by Michael Wagg. When I first read it I thought it was something really special and when we get to the acknowledgements at the end, we find out just how special.

Sonny and Jamm’s story is told in distinctly different voices. We spend time with Sonny on the Ghost (estate) and with Jamm from the moment he’s touching down in Afghanistan. At the point where we leave each brother, we’re left with a cliffhanger, not knowing how it’s going to work out.

On t
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
This review was originally published at Fluttering Butterflies

I really loved Heroic by Phil Earle. Like the author's two previous books, Being Billy and Saving Daisy, I found Heroic to be a hugely emotional experience as I really fell in love with the characters and their relationships with each other. I love the strong ties of brotherhood throughout the book from men fighting in a war, between friends and the relationship between actual brothers, Sonny and Jammy.

Heroic focuses on these two brot
Apr 27, 2013 Emma rated it liked it
Shelves: guest-reviews
Review by Shelly

This is the first book by Phil Earle that I have read and I wasn't sure at the start if I was going to enjoy it. The two main characters, Sonny and Jammy, take turns to tell their story although we get more of Sonny than Jammy and to be honest I found it hard to warm to Sonny as he really didn't have any redeeming features. Here is a boy who has lived his whole life in the Ghost, a block of flats that are looked down at by the other residents of the town. He doesn't work and thin
Sinéad O'Hart
Sep 02, 2013 Sinéad O'Hart rated it really liked it
Sometimes, it’s the books you buy on a whim that can turn out to be the most meaningful, and the ones you’ll treasure for years. ‘Heroic’, by Phil Earle, is one of those books for me.

‘Heroic’ is the story of Sonny McGann, primarily, though his brother Jammy is the other main narrative voice in the book. We read three or four chapters in Sonny’s voice, and then three or four in Jammy’s, and so on – the story unfolds through both their perspectives. Sonny and Jammy have grown up on the Ghost, a hi
Jun 12, 2013 Atifa rated it it was amazing
Inspired by S.E Hinton’s The Outsiders and the stories of young men returning from Afghanistan, Phil Earle’s new novel Heroic is the story of two brothers; Jammy and Sonny. Jammy, the eldest, is off fighting in Afghanistan whilst Sonny is left at home on the ‘Ghost’ estate. Separated, they both fight very different battles on a daily basis, but when Jammy returns home on leave, they must face a bleak reality; soon realising that the “fiercest battles are often fought at home.”

Most books that I r
Apr 30, 2013 Manuela rated it really liked it
Shelves: military, siblings
I liked this book but it was a little different than what I thought. From the blurb, it sounded like the book would focus on Jammy's returning home being a different man and his brother Sonny stepping up to the plate. While that did happen, it was only later in the book. The first half was split between Sonny in his hometown and Jammy in Afghanistan. I think it was necessary to tell their separate stories to introduce the characters and show what they went through while separated, but I think it ...more
Jul 01, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing
This book came highly recommended by the Scottish Book Trust and I initially read it as "homework", being a school librarian. However, my thoughts on the book very quickly changed as soon as I began reading, I usually dip in and out of three or four books at any one time depending on my reading mood - this one stayed on top of my pile as the one and only until it was finished.
I can highly recommend this powerful YA novel for anyone to read. It is a gritty, hard hitting read, with strong believab
May 24, 2015 Kathryn rated it liked it
I very emotional tale of two different kinds of brothers: brothers in battle (and friendship), and brothers in blood. The struggles portrayed by both illustrate the struggles countless soldiers and their families experience daily. Beyond the perhaps rather overdramatised portrayal of PTSD and the unusually tidy ending (but not altogether unrealistic), this novel captures the young, modern heart of war.
Aisha Kholwadia
Feb 18, 2015 Aisha Kholwadia rated it liked it
Both brother's are well written and action is fact paced enough to keep the plot moving. The banter is blunt and the violence, when it comes, is short, is sharp and believable. We see how easy it is for a tormented mind to lose control.
May 26, 2014 Tris rated it really liked it
Admittedly when I begun this I was pessimistic. It just didn't seem like my cup of tea, nevertheless I thought it was only fair to give it a go. It grew on my quickly and I found myself engrossed and very glad that I had given it a chance. Although I can't imagine I would want to read it again it was very emotional and poignant,so I would definitely recommend giving it a try.
Sep 17, 2014 MissMo added it
This book didnt really appeal to me if i have to be honest. It was actually kinda crap
Laura Taylor
Jun 16, 2013 Laura Taylor rated it really liked it
By far the best of Phil Earle's books so far. Bought all 3 the other week in a special offer pack in Sainsbury's. Now been shortlisted for our local schools' book award and think it will be enjoyed by older students. Gritty, realistic - told from viewpoints of two brothers - one in Afghanistan as a solder and one surviving on a sink estate. A grim but authentic view of the life choices available to many young people in similar circumstances. Good to see a young teen novel being written about the ...more
May 28, 2013 Beth rated it really liked it
This book was very very good. I loved the way the 2 boys shared the story with similar thoughts and feelings which they are both having on seperate sides of the world. I think Cam has to be my favourite character - caught between them and with how much she has to cope with in her life which just gets worse as the story goes on. The descriptions of the warzone and then of the estate were excellent and believable and I could hardly put it down. This is the first book I have read by this author but ...more
Aug 15, 2015 Liresansfrontiere rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Difficult to read but very good.
Natalie Mcvey
May 28, 2014 Natalie Mcvey rated it it was amazing
Superb, compulsive, heartfelt
Sep 05, 2015 Arlene rated it it was amazing
Real good.
Viktoria Horvath
Jun 16, 2014 Viktoria Horvath rated it really liked it
I love Jammy because his personality is so nice, as he looks after people! But I like Sonny too, what he did to his brother was kinda heroic.

Amanda Shipp
Apr 04, 2013 Amanda Shipp rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book is a sucker punch in the stomach of emotions! I was in tears many times throughout the book - Phil Earle write with real sensitivity about hard core issues. At the same time the characters are all loveable rogues you can't help but care and root for to come good in the end. Great book!
Oct 06, 2013 Zoe rated it really liked it
A gripping story, way out of my comfort zone, but tells you something about Earle's writing that I cared for characters I didn't think I would. Not a comfortable read for me, but nevertheless worthwhile and thought provoking.
Dave Cousins
May 31, 2013 Dave Cousins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-top-reads
Phil Earle does it again! I loved Being Billy but I think is possibly even better. I won't try to sum it up. It's great. Just read it.
Emma marked it as to-read
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YA Book Gang!!: Giveaway - Heroic by Phil Earle 10 35 Jun 01, 2014 02:21AM  
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Phil was born in Hull in 1974, and he studied English and Drama at Hull University. He worked for a year as a carer in a children’s home, then after training as a drama therapist, he worked in a therapeutic community in London, which cared for multiply abused adolescents. Then, changing tack completely, he chose a marginally more sedate life as a children’s bookseller. It was here that he develope ...more
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