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Girl, Hero

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  219 ratings  ·  35 reviews
FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF NEED AND CAPTIVATE After landing a lead role in the high school musical, freshman Liliana Faltin is hoping for some stability and happiness in her life. But her mom's live-in boyfriend has a thing for booze, touching, and telling dark family secrets. And the other people in her world aren't exactly role-model material, either. ...more
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published August 8th 2008 by Flux (first published August 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  219 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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I really hated this book when I started it a few years ago, and finishing it now, it isn't bad, but it half-explores a lot of issues worse than if it just picked one and ran with it.

The book has a weird relationship with toxic masculinity: it tries to champion feminism and eliminating gender roles, but in the process it only reinforces what it talks against. It does the same thing with homophobia/gay rights: it's really hard to remember that the book is pro-LGBT, pro-live your life when there ar
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
A good story about a girl dealing with a crappy life -- divorced parents, alcoholic mom's boyfriend, backstabbing best friend -- by writing letters to John Wayne. You wouldn't think it would work, but it does. ...more
Nov 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008
This book is amazing.

I love the spunky protagonist. She’s funny, smart, and so devoted to the things she does. She’s a real feminist, a real heroine, or trying to become one, anyway. Lily thinks that she can help everyone just like John Wayne, this dead guy whom she writes woeful letters to. What’s amazing is that it’s so honest and perceptive. It’s not just guys who want to save the day. Girls want to sweep into someone’s life and make a difference. It’s just a really different look into such a
Jul 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I enjoyed this book, but it took awhile to get going. It’s a pretty fast read though. The characters are all well-developed for the most part, although it can be hard to keep track of them at times. There are a lot of elements at work here, but the author makes them work, and mostly keeps them from getting too confusing. The main character, Liliana, is easy to like, and you really feel for what she’s going through.

Liliana’s budding romance with Paolo is, for the record, adorable.

But I’m not a fa
Apr 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blue-covers
Her mother has recently allowed an old friend to move in with them on a temporary basis until he gets back on his feet. However, Lily suspects that her mother just doesn't want to be alone and this stranger is just next in line for her mother's affections. We learn that Lily has had to witness her mother going from man to man - and, as most stories go, these include the not-so-stellar characters.

My heart went out to Lily and her desire to follow in Mr. Wayne's footsteps towards herodom. Picturin
Mar 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. This book deals with some hard and serious issues but it is definetly worth the read. It's about abuse, family issues, growing apart from friends, love and just trying to be yourself. This book took my emotions on a rollcoaster ride making me feel angry and wanting to cry to laughing and smiling.

Liliana was such a strong character and she made some difficult choices. The last 100 pages I didn't put the book down as I wanted to know how she was going to deal with ever
Apr 17, 2010 rated it did not like it
Honestly this book started out very, very boring. I contemplated not reading it, but i stuck it out til the end. The whole book is written from a 14 year old girls perspective who is having a hard time in life at the moment, to cope with this she writes letters to her hero, John Wayne. After about half way in it finally gets interesting, when she meets an amazing boy and her moms new boyfriend turns abusive. The ending was pretty good, but I would only suggest reading this if you are very bored ...more
Kate Morrison
Nov 28, 2021 rated it liked it
I rated this book 2.75 for a handful of reasons. It was written in a way where it’s easy to read, which is nice although there are problems with it. It displays masculinity in the characters in a weird toxic way. It talks about how ‘men shouldn’t cry’ and how they are meant to be tough and strong. it’s hard to think of this book as a open minded book even though that is what it is meant to be. Like another user said. unless you are really into John Wayne like Lily, this isn’t that great of a boo ...more
Dec 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: nook
Really good and emotional book...just a little hard to get started
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Jones, Carrie. 2008. Girl, Hero.

I don't know why I was surprised by Girl, Hero being so wonderfully fantastic. I enjoyed both of Carrie Jones' previous novels: Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend, and Love (and Other Uses For Duct Tape). Perhaps it was the John Wayne factor. You see, the novel, Girl, Hero, consists of letters from our heroine, Liliana Faltin, to the legendary (but deceased) John Wayne. I was skeptical at first. But it worked. It really worked. Here's our introduction:

Dear Mr. W
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Liliana’s or Lili as her friends and family call her, world is slowly falling apart. Her mother’s new boyfriend is a freak who has a nasty alcohol addiction and creeps Lili out as he stands silently outside of her bedroom every night. Then there’s her father who is a little emotional and very forgetful who Lili loves a lot, but just can’t seem to like. To top it all off her sister is in an abusive relationship and the one person she can turn to for relief, her best friend Nicole, has all of a su ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Tasha for TeensReadToo.com

Liliana's (or Lili, as her friends and family call her) world is slowly falling apart.

Her mother's new boyfriend is a freak who has a nasty alcohol addiction and creeps Lili out as he stands silently outside of her bedroom every night. Then there's her father, who is a little emotional and very forgetful, who Lili loves a lot, but just can't seem to like. To top it all off, her sister is in an abusive relationship and the one person she can turn to for reli
Ryann Uden
Feb 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up half-heartedly on my way to lunch yesterday - and found myself eagerly wanting to finish it last night and stayed up too late reading to do just that. Told as a series of letters from high school freshman Lily to her hero, John Wayne, this is a story about a girl finding herself in high school and overcoming past and present traumas. She has an unsupportive best friend, a grown sister in an abusive relationship, and a danger that becomes apparant from her mother's newest bo ...more
Abby Johnson
Nov 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blogged
This novel started off slowly for me, but the more I read it the more I really, really liked it. It's a bit odd. But I loved the main character Liliana and I loved how the things that happened in the book were not all bad and not all good. I loved that there were very complex characters and that even by the end they weren't all tucked into neat little boxes. I will review this on my blog and I will have more to say then. Probably this book won't be everyone's cup of tea (like I said, it's a litt ...more
Sep 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Carrie Jones seems really hit and miss; a couple of her books have been really amazing, and some have been garbage. This one was one of the better ones. It is always nice to read about other teens who are obsessed with dead movie stars-- in this novel, it is John Wayne. (Mine was Gene Kelly.) There are good conflicts, emotionally honest and relevant conflicts, involving sexual abuse and parentage and her father's sexual identity. It also has some very funny moments involving a teen's attempt to ...more
Laura Wright
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a story about a girl named Lily. She is going through some tough times with her mom's "new boyfriend",who does some weird things, her dad, who wears blue tights in public, her best friend who seems to care about popularity more than being herself, and the play. She finds out that she is the lead girl in the school play, but who is the lead boy? The only way that she can get through this is by "writing" to a dead actor, but still her hero- John Wayne. Will Lily be able to find a hero in h ...more
Nari Johnson
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book not because of the characters, but because of the plot line. I personally found Lily a little snotty, even though she had a lot to go through. Also, I really disliked the ending of the book, which left everything hanging. I'm suspecting a possible sequel?

With all of the negatives aside, I really enjoyed "Girl, Hero" and how Lily would dream of being someone else, such as a cowboy, a hero. I also enjoyed how the story was told in letters to a famous, dead star who Lily adored.
Mar 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Life is not perfect, for Lily or her friends. But together, things manage to work out.

Another good story by Carrie Jones. A hard subject to write about, yet she manages to keep a reader enthralled with what is happening.

Though there are tough issues developed in this book, such as spousal abuse, drinking problems, and being co-dependent, it did not leave me sad or angry.

I recommend this one for when you are needing a break from your usual genre.
Alison Paulette
The main character writes letters to her hero John Wayne in an attempt to deal with her dysfunctional family. Her mother is in a live-in relationship with an abusive drunk, her father may or may not be gay, and her sister is being beaten by her husband. Throughout most of this book I hated the main character - she was weak, complaining, wishy-washy. I just wanted her to stand up for herself. When she finally did, it was very satisfying.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I didn't really enjoy some parts of the book and some I did enjoy. I didn't like the drama. I usually like drama ,but this was a little too much. The characters got too carried away. Also the way the transitions were written a little unclearly. For a second I thought she was in the car until it said bleachers. I liked the similes and descriptions. Also the twist in the middle it was so unexpected. ...more
Caitlín K
Mar 18, 2008 rated it liked it
I really liked the originality of Girl, Hero, but I was also a bit disappointed because I expected something funnier. Laughing aloud when reading the author's blog (along with positive reviews of her other books) is what made me decide to read it.
Anyway, I don't remember laughing, but I did like it and it was original.
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Though Lily feels she is weak (unlike her favorite actor, John Wayne in all his Westerns) I find her to be a strong person who is pretty good at speaking up for herself. There are many family issues that need to be resolved. Will she be able to deal with these things so that she can enjoy the good things that are starting to happen in her life?
Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I liked this book quite a bit, most of the time, I found Lily a very realistic character whom the reader could relate to, even if they have never gone through any of the hard stuff that Lily has. The writing flowed well and the characters were interesting and engaging. If there's a sequel, I'd love to read it. ...more
Mar 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
this book was interesting! it was an interesting story told through letters to john wayne(actually hi-larious)i loved all her friends except nicole(brat) and paolo(loved him..but lets face it:when i hear the name paolo i think of lizzie mcquire) so, yeah, weirds but cool. read it!
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
so amazing!!!! i have been in both lily and jessicas shoes and the way Carrie wrote this book, it was like i was right there in the emotions of it all right with the characters! loved this book soo much! totally amazing and inspirational! :D
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: need-series
IT was a good read! I love the John Wayne letters and Paolo Mattias isss cute! I always wish that I can be one of the characters in the book so I can remind her that she'll always be a hero for me! Cowboy style? Wagons forward!
Saddle up, readers!
I liked this novel. Carrie did a great job with the characters. I actually liked the main character. She wasn't weak or snivelling or mary sue. I don't think I will reread this, so I can only give it 3.5 stars. ...more
Jan 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
What's not to love about a girl who writes letters to John Wayne? ...more
Feb 28, 2009 rated it liked it
It was very easy to read.
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It's a little intense and even made me teary eyed. There is some swearing and it deals with some heavy subjects, but it is a great book. ...more
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I had been unable to get into my Goodreads account for years. If you have friended me, I have just friended you back (July 2021). If you have messaged me, I'm going to be working through those in the upcoming weeks.

Thank you all for reaching out and I'm so sorry.

Now onto the regularly scheduled bio:

Carrie Jones likes Skinny Cow fudgsicles and potatoes. She does not know h

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