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Hero    by Perry Moore order for
by Perry Moore
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Perry Moore's debut novel, Hero, is billed as a young adult read, but adults will probably get more out of the story. Nonetheless, Moore's writing is magical for all who read it.

Thom Creed has secrets that he feels he must hide from his dad: he is gay and has the superpower of healing. However, since his dad's fall from superhero fame and his mother's disappearance, Thom's dad is always busy working extra shifts to support himself and his son. So Thom has an easy time keeping his secrets. That is, until he becomes a probationary member of the League, a group of superheroes of which his dad was once a member. At his League training, Thom is put in a team with a bunch of other misfits: Ruth, a psychic old lady; Typhoid Larry, a walking disease; Miss Scarlett, a girl who can shoot fire but also has a major chip on her shoulder; and Golden Boy, a zippy full member of the League who received a demotion because of Thom.

Through his training, Thom learns there is much more to his fellow team members than meets the eye. Soon, a camaraderie builds up between Thom and the other League wannabes. Unfortunately, Thom's world comes crashing down when he outs himself on national news in order to save a villain innocent of a superhero's murder. Kicked off the team, Thom must connect again with his father, come to terms with the reason his mother left, find the murderer, help heal his emotionally scarred teammates, and - of course - save the world.

Moore does an excellent job with his lead's character. Thom is fully realized and readers can easily empathize with him, even though we may not be going through the same things that he is. The theme of coming to know yourself, a common premise in young adult literature, is very strong in Hero, as witnessed through Thom. However, what moves the book away from the YA demographic at which it is aimed, is that Moore tries to cover too many themes, some very abstract. The story starts off strong in a typical YA vein, but slowly moves to something more somber, ending on a very bittersweet note, a story pattern that is uncommon in young adult fiction, but not in literary fiction.

While some aspects to the story of Hero could be improved, Perry Moore makes a very strong entry into the world of fiction. His way with words is excellent, really captivating his audience, even if that audience turns out to be older than was intended.

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