“Hero” by Perry Moore
Publication Date: May 2009
Number of Pages: 432
The last thing in the world Thom would ever want is to disappoint his father. So Thom keeps two secrets from him: First is that he’s gay. The second is that he has the power to heal people. Initially, Thom had trouble controlling his powers. But with trail and error he improves, until he gets so good that he catches the attention of the League and is asked to join. Even though he knows it would kill his dad, Thom can’t resist. When he joins the League, he meets a motley crew of other heroes, including tough-talking Scarlett, who has the power of fire from growing up near a nuclear power plant; Typhoid Larry, who makes everyone sick by touching them, but is actually a really sweet guy; and wise Ruth, who has the power to see the future. Together these unlikely heroes become friends and begin to uncover a plot to kill the superheroes. Along the way, Thom falls in love, and discovers the difficult truth about his parents’ past.
Source: Perry Moore’s Web Site
Hero by Perry Moore is the first book I read for the GLBT Challenge. It’s been interesting trying to find books for this challenge because romance is really my least favorite genre. I usually don’t even like it mixed with other genres. However I’m determined to stick with this challenge because I do feel it’s important to read beyond your comfort zone.
Back to Hero – I had a lot of fun reading it and I loved Thom’s story from start to finish. A few things did happen that were predicable but other twists were a complete surprise. I loved the development of Thom’s team and their growing friendships. I also liked that the author explored Thom’s relationships with people outside his team – his father and his growing attraction to a teen named Goran from another basketball team. I really enjoyed how the situations with Thom’s father played out – people’s reactions to things are often more complicated than they seem. And as much as I don’t like romances – I wasn’t so bothered by the growing relationship between Thom and Goran – probably because it didn’t skip right to them in bed like most romances seem to. Granted it’s a young adult book but still… Anyway, the ending was a bit open ended but I hear the author is currently writing a sequel – and has plans for more after that, which I’ll definitely be reading.
I did have some trouble with the first person point of view – especially in spots that seemed to skip over time – one paragraph Thom would be talking about one thing and then the next the scene would shift and something else would be happening. Also in a couple places there were flashbacks where Thom was talking about things that happened in the past but it wasn’t always clear when things shifted back to the present. Something else that bugged me was the way Thom automatically knew all the superhero/supervillein’s names – though I did wonder if that was a comic book device since the author is a big comic book/superhero genre fan?
Moore’s reasons for writing this novel are interesting and worth reading about as well. Moore describes Thom as the worlds first gay superhero – on his web site he’s got a couple articles about why he wanted to write this book. He mentions that if there are gays in comics they are usually side characters with small parts usually villeins, and often they are killed off rather quickly. Read Moore’s article WHO CARES ABOUT THE DEATH OF A GAY SUPERHERO ANYWAY?: A HISTORY OF GAYS IN COMIC BOOKS for more on this topic.
Also check out this interview with Perry Moore where he talks about the reasons why he wrote the book. There is a lot of information in there about his own past and his relationship with his father. You might want to read this interview after reading the book as I think there are a couple spoilers in it.