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4.3 259
by Mike Lupica

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From the #1 bestselling author of HeatTravel Team and Million-Dollar Throw.

Zach Harriman knew that his dad was something of a hero, a man trusted by the president to solve international crises at a moment's notice. Suddenly people are telling him he has powers - people who know much more about his father than Zach


From the #1 bestselling author of HeatTravel Team and Million-Dollar Throw.

Zach Harriman knew that his dad was something of a hero, a man trusted by the president to solve international crises at a moment's notice. Suddenly people are telling him he has powers - people who know much more about his father than Zach ever did. But there are the Bads, who appear out of nowhere and attack him and his best friend. One thing is clear: he can do things ordinary people cannot. Like fend off grown men as though he possesses the strength of a hundred. Like sense when evil is about to strike. And evil is about to strike in a very big way. Zach Harriman is his father's son. And he, too, is a hero.

"Every kid wants to be a superhero. Well, be careful what you wish for - you might get it. This is the amazing story of Zach Harriman and nothing Mike Lupica has written will thrill you like this."
- William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sportswriter and novelist Lupica (Million-Dollar Throw) offers a change of pace from his previous sports stories for younger readers, deftly reworking the traditional superhero origin story into a moving tale of adolescent growth. Shortly after his father dies in a plane accident, 14-year-old Zach Harriman discovers that his father was more than just a highly placed government adviser; he might have been a superhero. As he investigates his father's death, he meets an old man named Mr. Herbert, who claims that Zach has magic within him, and Zach soon discovers that the mild hints of power he'd shown--a sixth sense about danger and an ability to heal quickly--are only the tip of the iceberg. Lupica nicely coaxes sympathy for characters who are immersed in privilege (only Zach's friend Kate, who lives with her housekeeper mother in Zach's huge Fifth Avenue apartment, doesn't exude wealth), instead focusing on Zach's grief, his conflicting emotions over his discoveries, and his uncertainty over who to trust. As superhero stories go, it follows a classic arc, but Lupica's characters avoid cliché. Ages 10–up. (Nov.)
VOYA - Lisa Martincik
Billy Harriman's dad, a former sports hero, is now doing special projects for the president of the United States. Billy does not know how special until his father dies in an airplane crash. Almost immediately he starts to develop what can only be called superpowers, and soon strangers appear to challenge him and drop tantalizing hints that his dad had powers too. Confiding only in his best friend, Kate, Billy tries to understand and control his new abilities while looking for answers to his suddenly mysterious past. Lupica covers a lot of ground in his coming-of-age superhero story: shadowy bad guys, faithful friends, growth out of grief, betrayal, and mysterious mentors. Consistent with past novels, he also includes perhaps too many sports references, which should appeal to existing Lupica fans. While the characters are relatable and appealing, the approach is by the numbers and the prose clumsy in places. Readers conversant with superheroes will wonder at Billy's apparently random set of powers, hopefully addressed in the sequel. The sequel will also ideally deliver more details on the almost absent villains and give Billy direction; he spends much of this book learning whom he can trust. His easy acceptance of his powers seems unlikely, and the frequent pop-culture references threaten to age poorly. Many aspects of the story, however, ring true; insight into Billy's family and school life and his ramblings around New York are well handled, and the presence of politics is a surprising addition that lends depth and potential. This start to an everyman hero surely demands a sequel. Reviewer: Lisa Martincik
Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
Zach's dad is a hero. A special adviser to the President, he's spent years tracking down the bad guys Jack Bauer style and has always come out on top. But when his plane crashes during his last mission Zach doesn't believe it's an accident. The fourteen-year-old takes it upon himself to discover what really happened and finds more than he bargained for. His dad wasn't just a hero, he was a superhero and now Zach is inheriting his powers as well as his responsibilities. Torn by the advice of the mysterious Mr. Herbert who swoops in and seems to know everything about Zach, and that of his Uncle John, who knows more than he lets on, Zach doesn't know who to trust anymore. All he does know is that he will find out the truth about his dad, whatever it takes. Quite the departure from his usual fare, fans of Lupica's sports books will be pleased to find this story full of sports players and sport related imagery. This first installment has a lot of set up but also enough adventure and mystery to suck you in. A fun adventure similar to Percy Jackson (minus the mythical creatures, so far), this story will delight readers looking for a new hero. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—In a major departure from his YA sports fiction, the popular Lupica opts for a high-concept, high-octane action thriller. When the father he idolizes dies in a covert government operation, 14-year-old Billy Harriman is determined to find out who killed him, and why. In the course of his investigation he discovers that his father had superpowers, and that he has inherited them. Guided by a mysterious older man who identifies himself as Mr. Herbert, and supported by his wise and sassy girlfriend Kate, Billy begins to come to terms with his destiny. As his socially prominent mother assumes a leading role in the campaign of the presidential candidate his father had backed, Billy finds himself at odds with his father's old friend (and mother's current advisor). The teen eventually becomes convinced that Uncle John is allied with the forces responsible for his father's death. After he uses his superpowers to thwart an assassination attempt on the candidate, he confronts Uncle John, who remains evasive about his involvement with the shadowy organization that seems to have targeted Billy and his family. With all the major issues unresolved at the novel's end, the stage is set for a sequel to what looks like a surefire hit.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT
Kirkus Reviews
In a trendy fantasy that's probably stand-alone but reads like an overblown series setup, a teenager finds himself endowed with superpowers. After the death (presumed, there being pointedly no mention of a corpse) of his secret-agent father, Billy's grief turns to anger and confusion when two men—one a close family friend, the other a strange, old man who reads minds and can appear and vanish at will—start laying urgent but conflicting and maddeningly cryptic messages on him involving a coming challenge from "the Bads." Suddenly he's being repeatedly attacked by street hoodlums, but, thanks to previously unsuspected martial-arts skills, new superfast reflexes and other powers, he both fends off the thugs and proves ready for a climactic save when an assassin targets a presidential candidate. Nonetheless, not only is there more angst than action here, but, among many signs of patchwork plotting, the real agendas of the men haranguing Billy remain murky and Lupica establishes but then abruptly drops an important character. Readers will be left scratching their heads and wondering when the story will get under way. (Fantasy. 11-13)
From the Publisher
Praise for Hero:
“[N]othing Mike Lupica has written will thrill you like this.” –William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride
“Sportswriter and novelist Lupica offers a change of pace from his previous sports stories for younger readers, deftly reworking the traditional superhero origin story into a moving tale of adolescent growth.” –Publisher’s Weekly
“[T]he stage is set for a sequel to what looks like a surefire hit.” –School Library Journal

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

THERE were four thugs, total gangsters, in front of the house with their rifles and their night-vision goggles. Four more in back. No telling how many more inside.
So figure a dozen hard guys at least, protecting one of the worst guys in the world.
Not one of them having a clue about how much trouble they were really in, how badly I had them outnumbered.
Hired guns, in any country, never worried me. The Bads? They were the real enemy, worse than any terrorists, even if I was one of the few people alive who knew they existed.
Even my boss, the president of the United States, didn’t know what we were really up against, how much he really needed me.
When he talked about our country fighting an “unseen” threat, he didn’t know how true that really was.
When my son, Zach, was little, I used to tell him these fantastic bedtime stories about the Bads, and he thought I was making them up. I wasn’t.
The snow was falling hard now, bringing night along with it. Not good. Definitely not good. I didn’t need a blizzard tonight, not if I wanted to get the plane in the air once I got back to the small terminal near the airport in Zagreb. Which was only going to happen if I could get past the guards, get inside, and then back out with the guy I’d come all this way for. It meant things going the way they were supposed to, which didn’t always happen in my line of work.
My official line of work? That would be special adviser to the president. A title that meant nothing on nights like this. On assignments like this. The real job description was fixing things, things that other people couldn’t, saving people who needed saving, capturing people who needed to be stopped. Dispensing my own brand of justice.
Sometimes I had help, people watching my back.
Not tonight. Tonight I was on my own. Not even the president knew I was here. Sometimes you have to play by your own rules.
On this remote hill in northern Bosnia, near where the concentration camps had been discovered a few years before, I had managed to finally locate a Serb war criminal and part-time terrorist named Vladimir Radovic. He was known to governments around the world and decent people everywhere as Vlad the Bad because of all the innocent people he’d slaughtered when he was in power, before he was on the run.
To me, he was known by a code name, which I thought fit him much better:
The Rat.
I was here to catch the Rat.
Me, Tom Harriman. About to blow past the guns and inside a cabin that had been turned into an armed fortress.
Almost time now. I didn’t just feel the darkness all around me, as if night had fallen out of the sky all at once. I could feel another darkness coming up inside me, the way it always did in moments like this, when something was about to happen. When I didn’t have to keep my own bad self under control. When I could be one of the good guys but not have to behave like one.
The me that still scares me.
Time to go in and tell the Rat his ride was here.


What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Praise for Hero:
“[N]othing Mike Lupica has written will thrill you like this.” –William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride
“Sportswriter and novelist Lupica offers a change of pace from his previous sports stories for younger readers, deftly reworking the traditional superhero origin story into a moving tale of adolescent growth.” –Publisher’s Weekly
“[T]he stage is set for a sequel to what looks like a surefire hit.” –School Library Journal

Meet the Author

Mike Lupica is the author of multiple bestselling books for young readers, including QB 1, Heat, Travel Team, Million-Dollar Throw, and The Underdogs. He has carved out a niche as the sporting world’s finest storyteller. Mike lives in Connecticut with his wife and their four children. When not writing novels, Mike Lupica writes for New York's Daily News, appears on ESPN's The Sports Reporters and hosts The Mike Lupica Show on ESPN Radio. You can visit Mike Lupica at mikelupicabooks.com

Customer Reviews

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Hero 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 259 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
O...M...G! This is one radical book. It was amazing. So awesome. Thanks to the author for making a very good e-book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an action-packed exciting book for young readers such as myself. From the moment I picked it up my eyes were glued to the pages. It unlocks the the imagination of any the reader's mind. We all know Mike Lupica writes books that usually contain sports but this one is just terrific. I think Mike Lupica should come up with a new marvelous adventure for Zach and continue with a series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hero was the best book i ever read!i loved it you MUST read it i highly recomend it
mattmangino More than 1 year ago
I believe that this was a very fast pace book. Even from the start it was fast paced. Just the stories plot had me ready strait and I couldn't let the book down. Now I realize that this is what most people when writing a review, but this is the way I felt about it. Now I just wanted my review to be truthful and it is. I don't believe that this is the last we will be hearing from young zach and mike lupica's story plot for him. this is just the kind of story I would expect from mike and hes pulled through again. Even at the last word I still wanted to know what was going to happen next. This book is an easy reader but a still exciting thriller/mystery. I don't know how a book this good hasn't been made yet. This book was also self inspiring for someone who knows what its like to be bullied. Now even if you don't like to read I still highly suggest this book for you. Sometimes secrets should be held with some people. Most parents say that you can tell them anything but we all know that sometimes some information is best friend material and so does zach Harriman. When he tells his best friend everything she completely under stands and helps him alot and I believe that without Kate, this book wouldn't be what it is.
ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
Billy Harriman's father is a national hero, always off fighting bad people in the name of good people. When his father suddenly dies in a terrible plane crash, Billy is devastated. But he also doesn't think the crash was a mistake. A short trip out to the crash site and Billy runs into a mysterious man who calls himself Mr. Herbert, who tells Billy that he has the same magic in him as his father did. Suddenly Billy is discovering incredible powers he never knew he had. Together with his best friend Kate, Billy travels all over New York City trying to figuring out what is happening to him and who he can really trust. In all these years, I have never read a book by Mike Lupica. Hard to believe, right? I'm glad this was my first though, because I really liked it! There have been a ton of superhero YA books to come out in the recent years, but I thought this one had a nice flavor of it's own. Billy is anxious to test his limits and see what he can do, but I liked how ultimately he discovered his powers slowly. Lupica didn't rush the reader right into being all powerful after being completely normal a moment before. I found myself wanting to see more of the school bully Spence. He was a cool antagonist in the beginning but then he dropped away somewhere in the middle. I also liked the giant mystery Billy is trying to figure out surrounding who is and where he comes from. And with Lupica's background in sports writing, the action scenes ROCK! Hero is sure to snag that elusive young male reader. Check it out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mike Lupica is my favorite author! And out of all of his books, and all the books I have read, this could be the BEST BOOK EVER WRITEN!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This a fun action packed book that will keep you on the edge of your seat!! If you like mysteries and fantasy you will just love it! And the other really write a second book to it! Hope you love it as much as i did!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time! I hope that this will be a sequal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best Book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There has ti be a second book. This book was amazing and you can deffinetly cary on with the story. Sooo please be a book 2!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While i was reading this i got hooked so easily that i stoped reading all of my other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish there were more than five stars so i could rate this higher
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The sole reason I did not rate this amazing book 5 stars was though it is intriguing its plot was not as clear and I will admit it predictable as I am used to. The characters are unique and though there was not much romance if any I enjoyed HERO very much and would not discourage anybody from reading this though I warn you it is not quite what you are probaly expecting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of mike lupicas best novels. It is awesome.
OMS2 Library More than 1 year ago
They fake you out and flip the tables of the story
Payton Stephens More than 1 year ago
It is a mike book so it should be good.
Peter Gruba More than 1 year ago
Love the book can't wait for the second!
Joseph Harris More than 1 year ago
Best book yet!
Traci Kelley More than 1 year ago
If u started to read this book on the hard cover and then read it on tthis will u get confused or is some of the characters different