Saturday, May 01, 2010

Hero by Perry Moore

I really enjoyed this book. I found myself laughing out loud, but also being swept into the characters and their struggles, especially Thom's. I found this premise to be a hoot! The League, the tryouts, the bad guys and their plot, Typhoid Larry, Scarlett and Ruth are all great. But the underlying story of Thom's relationship with his father and his coming to terms with his sexuality make Hero an excellent coming-of-age novel.

I love character driven novels and this certainly fits the bill. I thought Moore did an excellent job developing these quirky characters and getting the reader vested in their lives and adventures. My heart broke for Thom as he tried to keep his secrets/identity from his dad, the disgraced former hero. His dad detests super-heroes and gays, at one point Thom's father says, "These people will never have a normal life. They are the ultimate downfall of our society." I would imagine many of our students feel this way if they aren't what their parents want them to be, and it may not be about their could be about grades, athletic abilities, looks etc...

I think one of the things that most appeals to me about this book is that it is not a typical GLBTQ piece of literature. Why can't gay teens be super heroes? I think this book makes a huge inroads into this genre. One reviewer comments, "It reflects teens' diverse reading interests; given the mainstream popularity of comics-inspired tales, the average, ordinary, gay teen superhero who comes out and saves the world will raise cheers from within the GLBTQ community and beyond." I would love to see a sequel which follows Thom and explores how he survives in his new skin.

I know this book might not have global appeal, but it certainly has a niche at the high school level. The students that I have given this book to have loved it. But universal appeal? I don't know. Do any ELA teachers think they might use it in the classroom? There is certainly lots of fodder for discussion.

I have been emailing Perry Moore, and he is wondering if we would post customer reviews of this book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. He is considering visiting our school next year and since we cannot pay him his full fee, as compensation he is hoping we could "talk up" the book on these venues. Anyone interested???