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The Art of Hero Worship

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Trembling on the floor, pressed beneath a row of seats in a dark theater, college freshman Jason Tripp listens to the terrifying sound of gunshots, as an unknown shooter moves methodically through the theater, randomly murdering men, women, and children attending a student performance of Hamlet. Junior Liam Norcross drapes his massive body on top of Jason, sheltering the younger man from the deathly hail of bullets, risking his life willingly, and maybe even eagerly.

As a result of the shared horror, an extraordinary bond forms between the two young men, which causes discomfort for family and friends, as well as for Jason and Liam, themselves. And added to the challenge of two previously “straight” men falling into a same-sex love, are the complications that arise from the abundance of secrets Liam holds with regard to a past family tragedy. The fledgling passion between the men seems bound to fade away into the darkness from which it emerged.

Jason, however, is inexplicably called to rescue his hero in return, by delving into Liam’s shady past and uncovering the mystery that compels the older man to act as the college town’s selfless savior.

The Art of Hero Worship takes the reader on a voyage from the dark and chilling chaos that accompanies a mass shooting to the thrill of an unexpected and sensual romance.

181 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 14, 2016

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About the author

Mia Kerick

39 books543 followers

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another at a dance conservatory, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishing houses for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology. Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com or visit at www.miakerickya.com to see what is going on in Mia’s world.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 105 reviews
Profile Image for ❥ KAT ❥ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books.
2,164 reviews7,600 followers
February 7, 2016
༺**Complimentary Copy**༺ Provided by the author
"Mia Kerick" in exchange for an honest review..Thank you!!

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TITLE: The Art of Hero Worship
AUTHOR: Mia Kerick
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: February 14th, 2016

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THE ART OF HERO WORSHIP: I'm giving this 5 stars because even though this was my first MM I didn't feel out of my comfort zone at all, it was so beautifully written, I might even go so far as to say that I'd read something else of this authors..Its emotionally raw, dark, gritty, and a book that will stay with me for a very long time.

This will be my very first time reading something by this author, why I signed up for this was the cover (shove a semi hot guy on the cover and I'm f*cked) then I sat back and read the synopsis once it landed on my kindle ekkkkk *panic attack* this will be popping my MM cherry *falls off chair*

Just two normal guys who connect due to unusual circumstances.

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It may not make sense, but Liam and I work.

The beginning of this book is horrific and gut wrenchingly raw, a gunman on a killing spree during a play, killing women, children, old people, it's as dark and gritty as it can get, the over powering fear as the sounds of the pop pop pop of the gun discharging, the screams, then silence, the smell of blood...

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I'm scare...so fucking scared...I'm frozen...I can't even move...POP-POP-POP...POP-POP-POP...Earsplitting blasts of sound - ONE, TWO, THREE.

To maim and kill by ripping through the flesh of everyone in the theater.

Jase and his girlfriend Ginny were at the theater that night to see her roommate, Mariah, perform.

The way this author is telling the story pulls you in, it's as if you are in that theater, hearing the last breaths of so many dying, your heart starts beating double as the gun man comes closer to where Jason is crouched down between seats thinking this is it..A perfect stranger comes to rescue Jase, a bond so strong, a love so undeniable, together they jut work.

17 Killed, 6 Wounded

Don't these mass shooter types usually kill themselves when they’re done shooting up the room?

The horror of the night rushes back into my bewildered brain. The theater… the shooter… the earsplitting pops… the smell of blood… Ginny…. Oh, God, Ginny!

I'm a fan of dark, gritty, heart racing books and at the beginning this delivered it all in a fast paced speed which had me hanging on every word of the authors.
This isn't your every day romance, it's so so much more, I went into this book with huge trepidation only because this not being my general genre I usually tend to read, (ok it's my first)
BUT I found myself so absorbed in the story line, that in no time at all I had devoured it..

Neither are gay, but they feel stuff for each other that neither than explain.
Profile Image for Susan.
2,195 reviews397 followers
February 22, 2016
BR with Els, Wendy and Karlijn

This started out great. The opening scene was thrilling and I was on the edge of my seat. But this book really missed its mark when the author decided to go for a double GFY...

A fellow student decides to shoot everyone in a movie theater.


Jason’s girlfriend gets killed and he is hiding under a chair, terrified of moving. He gets rescued by Liam, who gets them both out of there.

After the horrible ordeal in the movie theater, Jason is suffering from PTSD. Liam asks him to go away with him for a weekend, because they both need each other. Liam agrees and finds himself closer than ever to Liam.

This could have been so amazing. All the ingredients were there. But the relationship was extremely underdeveloped. There is talk of love after they see each other for the 4th time.

I was okay with the ‘let me distract you with some sex’ scene in the beginning if Liam had been gay, but I found out later on in the book he thought himself as straight as Jason. Then that scene made no sense at all.


The rest of this book is not even them dealing with being traumatized, but them coming out to the world as gay. I would have liked a bit more depth before they declared there was even a real relationship.

And the sex scenes.. Oh boy, they were awkward! I felt all the interactions between Jason and Liam were awkward, but the sex scenes were even worse. Ugh.


I don’t recommend this one.
Profile Image for Wendys Wycked Words.
1,557 reviews3,815 followers
February 21, 2016
This was a very nice buddyread with Susan, Elsbeth and Karlijn. Thanks ladies for reading this one with me ;)

This story starts out pretty gruesome. Jason and Liam meet during a mass shooting at the college theatre. A guy, they go to college with has lost his mind and is trying to kill everybody in the theatre.

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Jason is there with his girlfriend, watching a friends performance. Liam is there with three of his friends. Jasons girlfriend is one of the first victims, she is shot in the head. People all around Jason are dying and he's freaked out of his mind (naturally). Then out of nowhere, a guy lies down on his back and instructs him to slide as far under the chairs as possible, while also protecting him with his big body. This guy turns out to be Liam, who also gets them out of the theatre and into safety.

Problem is, they are not as safe as they think they are. The masskiller has managed to escape and also knows about Liam and Jasons escape. While the police search for him, Liam and Jason are placed in a safehouse (or hotel actually). While hiding away, the two men start building a bond together. Jason needs Liam to feel safe. Both men are straight, but these feelings they are having go way beyond a friendship. Their safe place however, is soon comprimised by the press and they find themselves in mortal danger once again. Liam once again safes Jasons life.

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This book is about two people wo survived something horrible and can only feel complete, while being with each other. They have to figure out how and why they feel the way they do and if they want to take things further.

Eventhough I enjoyed this one, there were some things that bothered me. The first thing is the fact that we only get Jasons pov. I really wanted to know how Liam was feeling, since he was my favorite character in this book. Jason was a bit wishy washy and a bit of a whiner. I don't mean about the shooting, because he had every right to be upset about that, but about his relationship with Liam. He really started annoying me at one point.

The second thing that bothered me was the sex. There isn't a lot of it, which is oke, because that's not all what this book is about. But it is a double gay for you and I felt it was all rushed over pretty easily. I wanted more details. Not just about what they were doing, but how they felt about doing it. They have never been with any men before and they don't consider themselves really gay. Still they have no problem being physical with one another...non whatsoever. They just start having sex and that's it. No talking about it and not much detail. A bit unrealistic and akward to me.

Still, I enjoyed reading this one, I would have loved an epilogue though !!

3,5 stars from me ;))

Profile Image for  Linathebookaddict  .
1,368 reviews373 followers
February 13, 2016
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ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.

It's been a while since I've read and enjoyed an M/M story so I am so glad I signed up for this!
This book is not just a story with an M/M storyline. It goes deep into PTSD and the aftermath of a mass shooting.
Jason never thought that a night out with his girlfriend at their college theatre could ever take such a devastating turn. A felllow college student creates a massacre during the play and Jason's life is forever altered. His girlfriend, Ginny, is dead and he finds himself close to death too until someone else decides to take a chance and save him. Jason will owe his life to Liam for eternity.
Liam is an athletic guy who makes it his mission to get them out of the horrific nightmare; and he succeeds.

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When they are forced together by the police, they never imagined that their time together could ever end in them bonding so much. Liam becomes Jason's anchor and so, their relationship takes an unexpected turn.

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Foreign emotions blossom and when they finally give in they will never be the same ever again.

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Both men are weirded out by their connection. Two previously straight guys, fall head over heels for one another and chaos ensues. They start a push and pull relationship that can break both their hearts and destroy their lives. The question is, will they accept their feelings or will they forever bury the special connection that brought them together.
The writing made it easy to love the characters. Liam was the strongest one, always being there for Jason and others, while Jason purely adored the ground Liam walked on.

I want to worship my hero as he so deserves. I want to show him with my body the tangle of feelings inside me. Because my emotions are all caught up like a fish in a net...and the more I struggle to escape them, the more they entrap me.

Both characters take a journey in self-discovery and I simply loved how their story turned out.
If you are a fan of the genre, then you will love this one. Do not miss it.

★★★4 Stars★★★

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Profile Image for Danielle's.
Author 1 book140 followers
October 15, 2018
The Art of Hero Worship wasn't what I expected. The opening chapters fit with the terrors happening at the moment. There is a shooter at the theatre. Jase is seeing a play with his girlfriend Ginny. She's killed by the shooter and Jase is saved by a hero, Liam. The shooter is a known student. The opening scene is in the theatre when the terror has broken out. After the event, Jase is a mess and he leans on Liam for support. The event brings these two men close and soon they find themselves wanting more than friendship. This is an adult read with some sexy scenes.

I found this book a little intense. I prefer my books more happy in mood and this was a little depressing. Jase is really upset about the events and struggles with his emotions. He's suffering from post dramatic stress and can't stop thinking about what happens. He questions his relationship with his girlfriend and how he felt about her. This book is graphic in detail of the shooting. The relationship between Jase and Liam is confusing. They have a special bond but neither has been with a man before. They both have issues and Liam's past is haunting him. They need someone but that doesn't mean it's going to be an easy ride. This is an emotional read and both characters have a lot to overcome. They need each other more than they realise.

4 stars out of 5.

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour.
Profile Image for Heather the Queen of (Smut)Books.
433 reviews7 followers
June 23, 2016
Man this was such an amazing concept but the author fell so short from reality and fucked it up.

1. The first sexual experience was so abrupt and out of nowhere. No chemistry, no tension, no slow burn. Just straight grabbed his peen, jerked it and went to sleep. I wasn't ready!!!!

2. Actually all of the sex scenes are really weird. Liam needs to be in control and dominate or take care of Jase but Jase is never allowed to touch. So no bjs for Liam. The last scene is particularly awkward. Liam tells Jase to stare into his eyes the whole time. Actually at one point Liam gets up walks across the room to get lube and condoms....the whole time without breaking eye contact. Instead of being intense or sexy as it could've been it was actually rather creepy and very not-sexy.

3. Though its kind of pushed down your throat that they fell in love and are pansexual (no labels)....to me their relationship though understandable is unhealthy. Their obsession with each other comes from a trauma and because the author didn't do enough to build a connection or chemistry between them it felt unhealthy all the way to the end.

4. All of the female characters are written as overbearing, loud mouth psychos. I hate when authors do a GFY and make all the females assholes or stupid. One in particular at the end goes after Liam in front of Jase and is nasty, cruel and down right ignorant to both. No one corrects her or puts her in her place and they both pretty much kiss her ass. I didn't get it. Their was no real mention as to how close Liam was to her before that moment so it felt too contrived.

With a little more character build up, any kind of chemistry between the MC's and hotter sex scenes this easily could've been a really great read.

Slight trigger: I read this after the events of Orlando so the beginning was difficult for me to get through but it was in my opinion the most realistic part of the book.
Profile Image for La*La.
1,911 reviews43 followers
February 23, 2016
2.75 stars.

I loved the beginning of this book. It starts with a powerful, gripping scene that just sucks you into the story. It was great till about 30%, and then started fizzling out, to my growing disappointment. The momentum was totally lost.

What I didn't like.

1. Too much vomiting. Seriosly too much. It was so gross.

2. Portrayal of the female characters. Every one of them was kinda crazy, and some - downright mean and bitchy.

3. Jase's inability to get a grip and stand for himself. Every stressful situation, however minor, paralyzed him. I get that he suffers from PTSD, but compared with his neediness and clinging with Liam, his general submissiveness, and how he was all about hero-worshipping Liam...I dunno. Be this a fantasy/history romance, Jase would be the typical 'damsel in distress'.

4. The second incident with the fire in the theatre was OTT and overkill, and solely for the point of Liam saving a little girl and relieving his conscience. I didn't feel it was necessary at all, and the whole scene didn't move me one bit.

5. The double GFY thing was weird. It was codependent, and felt off. I understood Jase's feelings...they were triggered by the stress and him being so shaken, he clung to his hero. I didn't get Liam. What did he see in Jase? He was just as clingy.

Overall, not a bad read, but I expected way more, something like Aftermath, only with younger MCs.
Profile Image for Tess.
1,876 reviews26 followers
February 16, 2016
3.5 stars

I barely have time to read these days let alone write reviews so I'm going to keep this brief! I believe this is Mia Kerick's first foray into NA romance. I've read a lot of her YA books and, although I wouldn't say I've loved all of them, there are a number of them that I have loved. This ... was not one of them. I liked the two MCs and I appreciated the different twist -- meeting in a school shooting. Yet, some of the plot points just didn't seem believable to me and there were a number of OTT characters and scenes. Also, I think this would be classified as double GFY and GFY is ... not my favourite. I really recommend Mia Kerick as an author, but if you're new to her I would suggest one of her others as a jumping in point. That being said, this could very well be a me thing because most of the reviews of this book are in the four and five star range right now :)

Profile Image for Alisa.
1,777 reviews174 followers
November 12, 2018
DNF @80%

I really wanted to like this one. I have never read this author before and the blurb sounded so good. I love gritty books and I was expecting something a bit dark and filled with discussion of social issues. That is not at all what I got.

The story started off great and I was totally in to it. It went off the rails really early for me though. Like around 7%. There's a mass shooting at their college and it's tension filled and I was on the edge of my seat. Then they escape.....and here's where it lost me.

They get through all this and get on with their lives but now they have a weird obsession with each other. None of it made sense to me and I felt zero chemistry between them. It was a bit creepy on both of their sides. I was expecting some bonding over a traumatic experience but it was something that felt really weird and uncomfortable to me.

As if a school shooting & being tracked by a killer isn't enough drama the author decided to throw in two sets of terrible parents, a traumatic back story for Liam and another life threatening situation towards the end (I gave up before I got to that part but noted it from other reviews). This felt like drama llama drama just for the sake of drama. None of it added to the story.

I really didn't like anything about this at all. I started skimming about half way but I just couldn't make myself do that last 20%. I had zero cares to give about either of these two. I didn't like either of them and I wasn't invested in their creepy relationship. If I rated this on enjoyment it would be a one star. I'm giving it two because the technicality of the writing was fine and other's enjoyment of the plot may be different.

**Review copy provided by IndiGo Marketing and Design in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Jessie G..
Author 30 books258 followers
January 14, 2016
Mia Kerick is the Mistress of writing damaged characters who are faced with very real and very heartbreaking challenges. This book tackles the increasingly common occurrence of mass shootings in places we once thought we were safe and puts Jason, a young man paralyzed with fear, in the hands of one who has a bone-deep need to save.

On the surface, this isn’t a romance. This is about fear and learning how to live with it, confusion, acceptance, lack of acceptance, and the discovery that one’s hero just might need saving too. There’s a saying: the life you save may be your own. This is the truest description I can give of our hero. Liam is big, strong, cool under pressure, loving, but oh so very much in need of saving. He has hero syndrome and the reason why will break your heart. Once Jason realizes the man that constantly rides to his rescue is hiding something even darker than the hell they’ve already faced together, he makes it his mission to help him and I was thrilled to see him set aside his own fears. It really was the only way they could move forward as a couple in a healthy relationship—codependent, yes, but openly and without illusion.

Dig deeper and this is very much a romance between two men who fit despite all the reasons why they shouldn’t. There are all the little quirks of getting to know someone, tender loving moments, great sex, dinner dates, meet the family moments, and flowers. It takes great skill as an author to fit all these pieces together and make it work. The love story wasn’t written as a cure-all for all the other issues, it was a complement, and that’s a skill I can only hope to learn someday.

I also must say that I never once thought of this as a “gay for you,” even though the characters are both straight men who fall in love. There are passages in the book that delve into this because everyone from their families to their friends to themselves are in shock over this “switch.” The intense connection between these two men had very little to do with gender and once they accepted that it was real, that it wasn’t going away, that the need was greater than gender or sexual orientation labels, it made perfect sense.

My only complaint is that we’re only 14 days into the new year and I’ve already found my favorite book of 2016. It’s entirely possible that I have a mild case of hero worship for Mia.

**I received an ARC of this book for an honest review**
Profile Image for Elsbeth.
1,181 reviews41 followers
February 21, 2016

BR, February 20th with Susan, Wendy and Karlijn.

First I wanna say: as much as I love the cover, the MCs on the cover are far too old. Jason isn’t 21 years old yet and Liam is a senior in college.

I thought the first half was very good. Jason and Liam surviving a shooting at their college theatre and them having confusing feelings for each other afterwards is not that uncommon.

I actually liked what the writer was trying to tell (in mine opinion anyway);

“I love a human being, not a gender or a sexual orientation. Maybe Liam and I are the only ones who are able to see love clearly, because we love each other for reasons that don’t involve sexuality. We love for how we feel in our partner’s presence: secure, protected, and treasured, and we’re compelled to be together.”


But maybe the writer needed some more time to tell the story, to really convince the reader of their connection cause eventually it felt kinda rushed.

All in all it was an okay read.

favorite quote:

"You saved me"
"You saved me right back. Saving you saved me."

Profile Image for Katie.
324 reviews26 followers
February 23, 2016
Right out of the gate, the first sentence this book takes off with a crisis that, hopefully, very few of us can relate. A mass shooting. A horrifying, bloody massacre that takes place in a theater on a college campus at the hands of a raving lunatic.

And before I go further, I've gotta say that upon finishing this book, I went on an internet jaunt looking up mass shootings and school shootings. This was both sobering and horrific. I also watched the 20/20 special with Diane Sawyer that aired recently about the shooting at Columbine High School that took place in 1999.

Tragic events like this seem to be becoming more prevalent. In fact, as of this review, the last reported school shooting in the US occurred February 9th, 2016, in Muskegon Heights, Michigan where four people, including two students, were shot and injured.

To date, the most deadly school shooting took place on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia on April 16, 2007, where 32 students and faculty were killed and 17 wounded before the shooter committed suicide.

But others, Columbine (1999), Sandy Hook (2012), University of Texas-Austin (1966)--too many to name, all of them tragic and senseless. You want more sobering numbers? Take a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States that lists all shootings that have taken place in US schools since 1764 where at least one person was wounded. This is not an exhaustive list of all firearm discharges but explains in the heading which incidents are included. Note how decade by decade the number of incidents increases.

I don't have answers...I barely have a soapbox to stand on. And I'm not going to use this space to talk about my varied thoughts on this--other than to say that this is all seriously--SERIOUSLY--bothersome, tragic, and senseless.

And it took me forcefully closing out my browser to stop reading about gun violence. I read this book on Valentine's Day for shit's sake.

The book.

The book.

The book.

My heart was in my throat for much of this. The descriptions were so vivid and palpable I could almost smell the gunpowder and I could feel the fear.

The story winds its way beyond the shooting and onto survival, some PTSD, survivor's guilt, and yes hero worship.

We see two survivors fall in love. I was glad to see that this wasn't so much a case of "we survived and now we're inseparable" but became far more nuanced as they found their way to healing from this tragedy.

They developed a co-dependency that probably isn't the healthiest. There's some talk of therapy -- which my God, how could you not need some serious couch time after going thru something so utterly terrifying?

There's a lot of hesitancy in easing into this new relationship. But they also feel down to their bones that everything about it is right and meant to be, though neither had been with a man before.

I thought the love growing between these guys was authentic and beautiful.

But for me--and this is just me with a tad bit of aged wisdom--it's hard for me to believe that relationships sparked by tragedy are usually the forever kind. I think it's far more likely that as healing and recovery happen and life moves forward into the mundane daily business that initial sparks fizzle out, and so does the love. I'm cynical, though...so what do I know? And this is the kind of thing I like to be wrong about.

Despite my hardened heart, I enjoyed the story a great deal. Even if it's a Happy For Now it was an engaging story.

This was my first Mia Kerick book, and I give her props because this was some brave subject matter to tackle. The writing was compelling and definitely kept my rapt attention. Though, I'll admit I wish we'd had Liam's point of view in some spots.

Mia is now on my watchlist, and it looks like I have a backlist to add to my ever-growing reading list.

Recommended. Just...have your favorite hugger on standby and never miss an opportunity to tell your people you love them.

Also posted on BackPorchReader.com.
Profile Image for Kelly.
422 reviews20 followers
November 2, 2018
This book was provided by the author via IndiGo Marketing & Design in exchange for an honest review.

I hate giving two-star reviews, but I feel like I don't have a choice here.

I put this under a spoiler cut because I want to explain my critique properly. So again, there are spoilers below!

The book starts with a mass shooting at the college theater, a premise that could be very compelling. Instead, it's just a means to fridge Jason's girlfriend, Ginny, and introduce him to Liam, who drags him out of the theater and saves his life. 

As they escape, the gunman says he is going to find and kill them. His motivations are unclear. Jason and Liam are placed in witness protection at a hotel, while the police search for the shooter. Jason cuddles up to Liam, which makes sense, Liam offers him a bit of no strings stress relief, which does not. Considering Jase just lost his girlfriend, this is very awkward and odd.

The shooter sees their hotel on the news, and shows up to kill them. (They have no police posted at the hotel. Witness protection?) 

Right as the shooter catches up to Liam, he decides to randomly off himself instead. Again, no clarification. 

We find out Jason has PTSD. He decides to spend a few weeks ignoring Liam's calls. So Liam insists they go to his cabin for the weekend, where a bizarre run-in with two of the clingiest women in the state -- all of the women in this book are flat, unlikable, and an exaggerated combination of naggy, drunk, angry, or sexually demanding -- except for Ginny who Jason was alternately in love with, about to break up with, having great sex with, or not enough of a man for, depending on what chapter we're in -- sends them running back to the cabin where they have sex. 

The intimate scenes in the book are odd because Liam constantly tells Jason to lay completely still while he takes care of him. Jason talks about how he doesn't even move his arms. It's meant to be seen as worship, but he comes across more like a plank. 

After their weekend, Jason is magically cured of his PTSD by their intimacy, and moves straight into a full gay panic, avoiding Liam until college starts back up.

After he stumbles across Liam while drunk, Jason confesses that he wants to be with him.

Jason states that he is bi, even though he mentions repeatedly that something was missing with all of his girlfriends. 

After they decide to date, Jason demands that they meet each other's family so he can find out why Liam is depressed. Googling Liam, in a creepy violation of privacy, reveals that Liam had a sister who died in a house fire. 

After Jason's mom finds out he 'is gay' she bizarrely tells him as a gay man, use condoms! Because I guess STIs and pregnancy are not a concern for straight people. 

Liam's family are an even bigger mess. His mom is a drunk who worships her dead daughter, and dislikes Liam. Liam's dad shows up with coffee, insults his wife, and then makes odd and insulting comments about Liam and Jason being gay. 

Later, Liam, still obsessed with his sister's death runs into a fire to try and save a girl. Jason flips out and breaks up with him. This makes Liam realize he is taking bad risks etc. 

The dialogue felt stilted, and the plot is all over the place. 

This book just didn't work for me.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jewel.
1,796 reviews243 followers
March 26, 2016
3.5 Stars

​This is the first College/New Adult title I've read by this author and I mostly enjoyed it. The story is told completely from Jason's POV. Since this is a double GFY, I would have really loved to have gotten some POV of Liam. He seems to not question his attraction to Jason, at all, leading me to believe that, while he may not have any same-sex experience, I am not inclined to believe that he's never wanted to explore it. Having his POV might have helped me understand why he 'rolls with it' so easily​, and yet insists that he's never been attracted to a man before.​

Now, I do think that human sexuality is much more varied than "straight", "gay" or "bi (with equal attraction)", and it's becoming more acceptable for people to explore their sexuality and that's why GFY works for me, even though I'm uncertain that GFY (the way it is generally portrayed in books) really exists. So I Iook at it as an "I'm willing to explore" kind of thing where the MC's discover they like it. But, anyway...

I liked the idea of the story, a lot. What happens when two young men form a bond born of a shared trauma? I would expect either a deep friendship to form or for them to never want to see each other again because the reminder of that trauma would be too much.

In this case, Liam has a hero complex. He feels like he has to save people, even if it puts himself in mortal danger, because of a childhood experience he's never really dealt with properly. This hero complex brings him and Jason together, but it also nearly tears them apart (actually, the event that nearly tore them apart seemed a bit too contrived). Liam comes from an affluent family, but he does not have a relationship with his parents. In fact, they are rather awful. We only meet them once, but it was one time too many.

Jason is a college freshman who ​was never really sure of himself. He's had a couple girlfriends, but the sex was never all that satisfying. Still, he really liked the companionship. Unlike Liam, Jason freaks out a bit at his attraction to Liam. Doesn't stop him from exploring it while Liam is there, though. But as soon as Liam is out of site, Jason loses his shit, until he's come to terms with the fact that Liam makes him feel more normal, since he has been a basket case since the shooting.

So, not a bad story, there was certainly some potential here and there was plenty good about it, and I will round up to 4 stars.​​
Profile Image for CrabbyPatty.
1,575 reviews170 followers
January 14, 2020
Oh, boy. I wanted to really like this story of Liam and Jason who bond together in the aftermath of a terrifying shooting at a college theater performance. The plot immediately grabs your attention from page one as Liam saves Jason's life and drives him to safety.

But after escaping the horror with their lives, they do NOT call the police and let them know about the active shooter, and more importantly that they know his identity. Later on, a similar instance occurs ... Seriously?

Both men identify as straight, and it does take a while for both men to come to terms with their attraction to one another. But is it because Jason hero-worships Liam, while Liam desperately needs to be someone's hero? There are so many things here that make me wonder if Liam and Jason are truly entering into a healthy relationship:


"And before I was touched by the hand and heart of a man who I simultaneously crave and abhor."

"Isn't being on the receiving end of penetrative sex the ultimate in hero worship?" (Me: Umm, no?)

"Both of us are doing the best we can to be the 'man' in the relationship, which makes no sense because we're both men." (Jason mentions quite often that he is surprised that Liam may have feelings for him because Liam is so "manly" or "masculine.")


"Stay still ... and take what I give you."

"You're mine ... I saved you, and now it's my job to take care of the big stuff and the small stuff - everything you need." [...] "Hands at your sides, please."

"I need to know you're always gonna be safe, and here for me ... so I need you to let me look out for you however I see fit ... and I need to be able to take you ... in bed ... the way I want ... because then I'll know you're really mine."

For this reason, "The Art of Hero Worship" just did not work for me. I frankly found the relationship somewhat disturbing. 2 stars.

I received an ARC from NineStar Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Visit my blog, Sinfully Good Gay Book Reviews
Profile Image for Jaime.
1,612 reviews296 followers
February 25, 2016
5 Stars
This is an excellent book that drew me in and didn't let up until the last page. Jason and Liam have a untraditional story where two straight men fall in love, it is also unique because they meet during chaos and tragedy while at a theater and a mass shooting takes place.

Mia Kerick is an author who writes books that deal with subjects most shy away from, she isn't afraid to take the tough subject and bring it to light in a way that people can read about something entertaining and learn about something important all at once. This book is no different, Liam and Jason are both dealing with the after shocks of a mass shooting, loosing people in the shooting, survivors guilt, and coming to realize that they feel something more than friendship for the other. This book allows you to look beyond typical definitions of gay or straight and just witness love as it happens, raw and emotional. No pretenses. Just love. I think that is something that I love about Mia's work - it is always real, the situation could be occurring next door to you, it is that real.

I recommend this book highly and all of Mia Kerick's work - her books will take you beyond the typical m/m romance and broaden your understanding and appreciation for the concept of "love is love" -- 5 Stars!!

*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by JLoves2Read from Alpha Book Club
and Gay Book Reviews
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Profile Image for Leaundra.
1,165 reviews43 followers
February 21, 2016
The beginning was so horrible and shocking, what Jason, Liam and everyone had to go through in that theater. I thought it would be extra hard to get through but strangely it wasn't. It focused on Liam and Jason's relationship after the tragedy and how they both coped when they took things further . We only got Jason's POV(I wish we could have had Liam's also, but I get why we didn't, so we could find out things right along with Jason) I wouldn't really call this a gfy, their relationship just was, that's what I got from it. What they both went through, poor Liam, it was bad for them both but of course we find out some things about Liam, which made my heart hurt. They were meant for each other but there was such a weird energy with both of them, only because of what happened(it's actually hard to explain) My stomach hurt imagining what they must have gone through. I just felt for them both. Knowing their lives changed in that theater and everyone around them, were going on with their lives. Strangely I didn't cry(my eyes did water ,but no ugly cry), but I just had a weird and uncomfortable vibe around me when I was reading it. This is my first book by Mia but won't be my last. I'm not a professional reviewer so sometimes it's hard to put everything I'm thinking into a review.. I hate reading angsty books so if you're like me don't let it stop you from reading this one.
Profile Image for Nerdy Natalie.
80 reviews3 followers
January 23, 2016
Wow, where do I begin? First, trigger warning! If you’re unable to deal with a book that covers the subject of a mass shooting in detail, this isn’t for you. I think the synopsis is pretty clear but if you can’t handle that component you won’t be able to get through the first chapter.

I was immediately pulled into the story.

“Pop-pop-pop…” The sound of gunshots.

“Always in sets of three, letting me know where he is.”

Chilling. I felt like I was crouching down beside Jason. You wonder if he’s going to survive, how he’s going to survive.

Others around him are picked off one by one by the lone gunman. He rapidly approaches the area where Jason is hiding, mere steps away and of course, Jason thinks he’s going to die. Not a moment too soon, Liam comes to his rescue.

“I’m gonna push on your back really hard and I want you to squeeze as much of your body underneath the chairs as you can, got it?”

They manage to escape the gunman but it’s not over, it’s far from over.

What can I say about this book? It was fantastic. This was my first Mia Kerick read, and it certainly won’t be my last. We meet two boys who were thrust together due to a tragic event and to cope; they hold on to each other. An odd bond has formed, and they find that even though they can’t explain it, they crave the company of the other man. Strange considering they both identify as straight, but no one understands what they endured. Liam is the strong one, the hero, the one who is able to segue into a sense of regularity after the shooting. Jason is struggling and only when he’s with Liam is he able to forge ahead.


Mia’s writing style. I adored it!
The character development. It was awesome!
The non-issue of their gender. Liam and Jase (Jason) were initially weirded out by their attraction because hey, they liked girls! What was wonderful about the progression of their relationship is their genders didn’t matter. They both found a connection to another human being who understood and accepted them and sexuality wasn’t that big of a deal. I loved this aspect of the story. SO MUCH! I love the GFY trope as much as the next person but this was a very different take on it, for me anyway.

Con: The description of Ginny. Wasn’t clear where Ms. Kerick was going with Ginny’s physical description.

“Her long dreads are tucked up under a black beanie, and her exotic face is flushed…”

Huh? Was Ginny a woman of color? If so, I think the description could’ve gone over better. If not, I think her physical characteristics still could’ve been fleshed out a bit more. Pet peeve of mine when authors describe people as exotic. Focuses too much on otherness, but I digress.

Honestly, that was the only con I had with the entire story. I highly recommend The Art of Hero Worship if you’re looking for a gripping New Adult tale that not only reflects modern times but is likely something different than you’re used to seeing in New Adult reads.

*ARC copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Reviewed for Gay Book Reviews. You can read the original post here: http://gaybook.reviews/2016/01/23/pre...
Profile Image for Suzy .
748 reviews1 follower
February 14, 2016
2.5 stars

I really wanted to like this as the blurb sounded real good, I was hoping for a high emotion book. Unfortunately this just didn't work for, I found it really hard to connect with the MC's and feel the emotion I was obviously supposed to. There was too much of Jason describing things happening rather than showing them.

Great idea, not so great execution :(

* Having looked at other reviews, it once again seems I am in the minority (happening a lot lately), hmm what are they seeing I don't??*
Profile Image for Julia.
408 reviews10 followers
July 16, 2016
I really liked this one. It was different from the standpoint that we were constantly in Jason's head. Lots of introspection, but that only added to the book for me. I loved Liam's character. He truly is a hero, but as the book continues you start to understand his brokenness and the things that drive him to be who he is. I thought some of the situations were a little too OTT, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment.
Profile Image for Harper Miller.
Author 6 books435 followers
January 20, 2016
Got an ARC copy of this baby and it's going into the fave books of 2016 pile. Liam and Jase *dreamy sigh* these two together, perfect. Perfect. Mia did a super job with great character development and handling a sensitive topic. All the stars for damn good writing.
Profile Image for Lauren Woods.
102 reviews
February 14, 2016
Wanted to love it - couldn't handle the unrealistic dialogue - especially with the female characters.
Profile Image for Sammy Goode.
628 reviews66 followers
September 11, 2016
4.5 stars

The Art Of Hero Worship by Mia Kerrick takes us on a journey of self-realization, trauma and recovery. While many may wish to label this story as a gay for you or out for you story it is truly neither of those. This is not a tried and true trope that seeks to diminish bisexuality or alienate some who may read it; rather it is a journey of discovering that sometimes labels do not exist for people. It becomes a story that is bent on not labeling the feelings two college age men come to have for each other but rather decides to dwell in the peaceful knowledge that they are in love and no one should, not even themselves, rush to determine whether that should be called bisexual, gay or otherwise. In many ways it is a bold and brave story that refuses to be anything other than it is—a saving grace from which love is built.

Jason and his girlfriend should have been safe that night—after all they were simply attending a play—nothing more—on the campus theatre where no one expected a psychotic fellow student to open fire killing so many, including Jason’s girlfriend. He, himself has been injured—grazed by a bullet--but it is the terror around him that causes him to freeze until another student, Liam Norcross, throws himself on top of Jason and saves him from the shooter’s next spray of bullets. However, while escaping, the killer recognizes both men and informs them he will find them and kill them—there is no escaping him. Now holed up in a hotel where police have placed them for their protection, something strange begins to happen to both the boys. A bond that deifies logic takes hold and an attraction neither thought possible forms.

This bond will continue beyond the terrifying events still to take place, beyond the PTSD that will nearly destroy Jason and follow the two men, setting them on a path that defies everything they both thought they knew of their sexuality and what or who attracted them. The real question now becomes is this just hero worship or something more—something deeper that cannot be defined?
I mentioned above that the main characters in this story are determined not to exam their attraction to each other too closely in the beginning of this novel. These are two guys who have had girlfriends in the past—and while Liam admits most of his intimacies with girls were more one-night stands, Jason has had deep loving relationships with girls before. So when these two realize that their need for each other stretches well beyond the horror of their shared experience, it is with extreme care that the author allows us to see how both Jason and Liam come to terms with their feelings for each other. I really admired the way in which the boys grappled with this newfound facet of their sexuality and refused to put a label on it. In the end, it wasn’t really an issue whether these boys were bi or gay or anything in between the rainbow spectrum, what mattered was the fact that they saved each other—that they were both the hero the other wanted in their life. This was the real strength of this novel—that these men helped each other move beyond their fears, aiding the therapy that both would eventually partake of and emerge both healthier and better able to cope with their shared trauma.

The novel was so well crafted until the last quarter where events that were used to crack open the hold Liam’s past had on him seemed a bit too contrived. While I understood the need for a dramatic moment that would pull Liam out of his guilt over losing someone dear to him, I also found the ending of the novel way too easy—and rushed. From the climatic scene that threatened to rip Liam and Jason apart to the final moments where Liam suddenly realized his need for counseling, the pacing was way too fast and the neat and tidy resolution a bit too much to swallow.

We had come from a place in this story where we had watched these guys really grapple with their attraction for each other, surviving their nightmarish experiences and then enduring the slow healing that was taking place to a happy ever after that just did not do justice to the journey we had just watched play out before us. The Art Of Hero Worship was a beautiful novel that just needed a bit more page time at the end—a slower and more thoughtful ending then the one that was offered.
Profile Image for Kristyn - Reading to Unwind.
252 reviews20 followers
March 24, 2016
The book starts with a tragedy already in process. The first few chapters flew by because you want to know what is going on and who is involved in everything. It was a little confusing who the characters where in the beginning so once you got a few pages in you were able to begin to work out who is who and what was going on. I think it took me a few moments to realize that Liam and Jason didn't really know each other that well in the beginning since I felt like they clicked really well.

This was the first book that I read that was M/M and it was very enjoyable. It was written very well that I didn't feel uncomfortable with any descriptions of what was going on at all, it seemed like a normal romance book. Jason and Liam where going through their own issues so as we learn more and more about how they feel they grow in their relationship together. It felt like a very natural progression.

I loved how the author did the character development. We learned information as we needed to learn it. I loved when we learned what was going on in Liam's life it was the perfect way to be introduced into it. We got a brief overview and then got to feel what it was like for Liam when we meet his parents. Jason's mom is another one of my favorite characters she might be overbearing and a worrier, but she is very understanding.

I think some of the issues the book touched on where handled ok, I liked the points the author made, but I did still have some concerns with them. The first major issue is PTSD I think this is more common today due to a large amount of violence occurring in society. I think the author did a good job was describing this for the reader, I felt that she sort of skimmed over the support group, which Jason did mention was very helpful for him. I would have love to know more about the support group since both Jason and Liam where overcoming a huge life changing event and PTSD is a series issue. Plus Jason was the only one who was head on mentioning his PTSD I think it could have been discussed more between the other characters and also with Liam as well.

I love the descriptions that the author did give us. I felt like I could completely picture what both Liam and Jase looked like in my mind. I also felt like I was in the theater when the shooting occurred, the scene was very well written to feel like the reader was a part of it.

This is a short books so I would recommend this as a nighttime read. The beginning starts off crazy so the first few chapters it is hard to put down, but after that I feel there are places where you can take breaks.

I received this book from Red Moon Book Tours in exchange for a honest review. This did not effect my opinion of this book.
Profile Image for Becky Condit.
2,377 reviews69 followers
March 8, 2016
Oh my. Where to begin. This is a story of expectations, PTSD, finding oneself, and determining what it is one really wants or needs. It is also the story, as the title indicates, of hero worship. What is a hero? In this book, the question also becomes, who is (are?) the hero(es) and why?

The story begins with mind-numbing tension as a crazed shooter begins killing people in the audience at a college play. Jase is there with his girlfriend, Ginny. Liam is there with friends from a college class. They do not know each other. When Jase narrowly escapes being killed in the gunfire, Liam hears him crying and rushes to save Jase. The scene unfolds as Liam and Jase escape the building and wind up under minimal police protection while the killer is on the loose.

Liam is clearly a compulsive risk taker, and Jase is a passive young man who requires direction, which Liam provides. Jase's reaction to having experienced deadly danger is to fall asleep unless he is told to move. Liam's reaction is to protect, protect, protect, and sometimes he uses sex to demonstrate his protection.

Both men initially identify as straight, but as the story unfolds, they appear to be bisexual. Liam takes the lead in introducing Jase to what it means to have a gay relationship, although neither of them have engaged in this type of relationship or behavior before. Again, this is part of Liam's risk-taking personality as well as Jase's submissive nature.

There are several opportunities for Liam to play the part of hero, to Jase and to strangers, and this first bonds the men and later splits them apart when Jase realizes he cannot live with someone who is always taking these wild risks. Liam cannot help himself. When called upon to save someone he cannot NOT act, and the reason lies in his past as well as in his terribly dysfunctional family.

Jase has to beg Liam for time apart, to allow Jase and Liam to find themselves, away from the drama that seems to envelop them as a couple. Both men are clearly suffering from PTSD and not getting the time or care they need to recover. Jase needs more time. Liam needs to admit to himself that he cannot fix everyone else until he fixes himself.

This is an amazing book that is psychologically deep and at the same time quite romantic. By the end, I found myself thinking of Liam and Jase as real people, in need of real help, and hoping they would get it. It's beautifully written, well researched and designed as a well-crafted story populated with exquisitely drawn characters. I recommend this book as both a New Adult romance and as a dramatic character study. Enjoy.
Profile Image for Taya.
493 reviews41 followers
November 6, 2018
10/18 Review

This book was provided by the author via IndiGo Marketing & Design in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

Mia Kerick's The Art of Hero Worship beginnings at the possible worst moment of the characters lives. A mass shooting at a college theatre and this is where Liam becomes a hero and saves Jase. You are stuck with Jase's POV to get us through this books.

I think they were mostly strangers before the incident and then became the only people who can understand each other's world after the incident. They clung to each other. They were both straight then with no real resistant become everything to each other. The author could have done a better job at establishing the abrupt sexuality shift. You can see that Jase is attracted to dominant female but that doesn't always translate to I feel attraction towards a man. We really have no clue what Liam was thinking at all. I get the hero chip on his shoulder because of what happened to his sister but again nothing about history that he had a smidge attraction or hesitation about his attraction to men.

The secondary characters were all less than smart. The female characters were all portrayed to be less than desirable. They were either rude, clingy or delusional. That seemed excessive and not necessary. They didn't need to be cheerleaders but I wish at least some were portrayed to positive characters.

Overall, I still stand by my original review. I like the story and gobble it right up real fast. I was truly upset when I lost my copy and saw that it unavailable for purchase then boom a miracle happened and I read that it was going to be re-released.
First Read through
4.5 stars

Number#1 question throughout this whole book: Did that really just happened?

I'm snowed in and this was good great book to read. It had normal situations that go from 0 to 100. You know those random inappropriate thoughts we as human have at times but know better to verbally mention them. These side character had no such filter whatsoever. The stuff that came out of these side character's mouth had me dying laughing and cringing at the same time. It has been a while since I read a book where a relationship develops out of a tragic situation. Overall this book work for me. I encourage you to see if it will work for you.
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,494 reviews426 followers
February 22, 2016
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.5 stars

The Art of Hero Worship is a really engaging story that kept me drawn in from beginning to end. It starts by placing us right in the midst of the shooting. We can feel Jason’s terror, the panic of knowing his life is in danger, and the pain at realizing that he was not able to save Ginny. We see how Liam’s protectiveness makes Jason feel safe, first during the shooting and then in the aftermath. As the story continues, we watch the bond grow between them, starting with friendship and then moving to something more.

This story explores two interesting ideas. First, there is the issue of the men’s sexuality. Both have always identified as straight, and even when falling for one another they don’t consider themselves gay. They are in love with each other, attracted to the qualities they see in the other, and their feelings are irrespective of gender. This is an issue that is often explored in m/m romance, but I think it is particularly well done here. Often we get either a lot of hand wringing panic about the idea of unexpected attraction to another man, or else we get such easy acceptance of this total change as to seem unrealistic. In this story, what we get instead is a chance to see self reflection without freak outs. It takes Jason a little time to come to terms with his new feelings, but he also accepts that he loves Liam and that is all that matters. We see the reactions of others, both positive and negative. And we see that ultimately the love between them is the only thing that really ends up being important.

Read Jay’s review in its entirety here.
Profile Image for Tracy~Bayou Book Junkie.
1,462 reviews41 followers
February 24, 2016
*copy provided in exchange for an honest review *

We all know that tragedy can change a person, but Jason and Liam never expected surviving a mass shooting together at a college theater to draw two seemingly straight young men romantically to one another like magnets. After Liam saves Jason's life, twice, Jason can't explain why he is sexually attracted to Liam or why he finds himself falling for him anymore than Liam can explain why he feels the same about Jason. He tries to run, but Liam is determined to have what he feels belongs to him, Jason.

This was a powerful and emotional story. We have all read about or watched news reports about these crazed mass shootings at schools and movie theaters. This has touched most of our lives in one way or another. I loved this story. Mia is just such a talented writer. Her words are like poetry. The story is well written and pulls you in and holds on until the final sentence. I loved the characters and thought they were well developed. I liked the dynamic of their relationship and the story and progression of their relationship felt authentic. These men dealt with their attraction to each other very realistically. What I thought the story was missing at times was a chemistry between the characters. I didn't find it was always present between Jason and Liam, but his was still a riveting story.

This was an emotional and enjoyable read. Highly recommended!!
Profile Image for Elisa Rolle.
Author 142 books222 followers
October 2, 2016
2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick
1) A beautifully written story about a horrible tragedy and the following aftermath. This had to be one of the best stories about two men falling in love while identifying themselves as straight. This is a gay-for-you tale shown realistically. The love these men feel for each other sort of extends beyond gender and sexual orientation. The other theme is heroism, what it means to be a hero, what kind of an effect it has on someone's personality, and how that same effect is carried to a partner. Two people feel safe with each other, save one another, and try to build a life together past that heroic glow and admiration. This was a lovingly crafted story of love-conquers-all.
2) This New Adult book, with its tragic beginning and healing end, showed off Ms. Kerick’s wonderful style of pulling you into a book, a theatre, a town, and keeping you there, spellbound. As the plot unfolds and we learn about what it truly means when one says ‘hero’, flawed and necessary, broken and scared, one is unable to refrain from loving these two men, and wishing for a ‘living hero’ in our own lives...
Profile Image for Breann.
587 reviews112 followers
February 28, 2016
3.5 hearts

Right out of the gate, we're thrust into this intense scene where our MC's are victims of a theater shooting. Jason panics, and then freezes. He makes decisions he'll later regret and the only reason he got out of there alive was because of Liam. A stranger that protected Jason and got him to safety.

During this scene and shortly after, Liam and Jason make some stupid decisions. I was ready to put the book down. I was not about to read an entire novel featuring these two morons. But I eventually found my heart and realized these guys were just involved in a shooting. They panicked (of course!) and made some silly decisions. Nobody can predict how someone would react in a situation like that. We'd all like to think we'd keep our heads and be smart. Well, that's what Jason thought, too.

Read the rest of my review here!
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