4.6 114
by Perry Moore

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The last thing in the world Thom Creed wants is to add to his father's pain, so he keeps secrets. Like that he has special powers. And that he's been asked to join the League the very organization of superheroes that spurned his dad. But the most painful secret of all is one Thom can barely face himself: he's gay.

But becoming a member of the League opens

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The last thing in the world Thom Creed wants is to add to his father's pain, so he keeps secrets. Like that he has special powers. And that he's been asked to join the League the very organization of superheroes that spurned his dad. But the most painful secret of all is one Thom can barely face himself: he's gay.

But becoming a member of the League opens up a new world to Thom. There, he connects with a misfit group of aspiring heroes, including Scarlett, who can control fire but not her anger; Typhoid Larry, who can make anyone sick with his touch; and Ruth, a wise old broad who can see the future. Like Thom, these heroes have things to hide; but they will have to learn to trust one another when they uncover a deadly conspiracy within the League.

To survive, Thom will face challenges he never imagined. To find happiness, he'll have to come to terms with his father's past and discover the kind of hero he really wants to be.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

With a mother who has inexplicably disappeared, nascent superpowers and a burgeoning understanding of his gay sexuality, Thom Creed's life is anything but normal. Moore (an executive producer of the Chronicles of Narnia films) gives his debut novel a contemporary setting, albeit one rife with superheroes and villains straight out of the Golden Age of comic books. Thom is elated when the League, the foremost organization of superheroes, invites him to join as a probationary member. However, because his father, a disgraced former hero, detests super-heroes and gays ("These people will never have a normal life. They are the ultimate downfall of our society"), Thom hides both aspects of his identity. Essentially, much of this will be familiar from comics or The Incredibles: humorous details include an illness-inducing hero named Typhoid Larry and the media savvy of the superheroes. Ultimately, the novel misses its mark, with an abundance of two-dimensional characters and contrived situations. Additionally, conspicuous similarities between secondary characters and comic icons like Superman and Wonder Woman seem less like homage and more like imitation. While some may be glad to see a gay hero come out of the closet just in time to save the world, others may wish the situations felt less clichéd. Ages 13-up. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Angelica Delgado
Thom Creed's father, Hal, is an ex-superhero, homophobe, and deformed pariah. Ever since Thom's mother-literally-disappeared and a freak "accident" left Hal's hand mangled and many innocent people dead, things have not been too rosy on the Creed homestead. Hal forbids any mention of heroic activities and scoffs at those with special powers. When Thom discovers that he can heal people, he receives an invitation to the verboten League. There he is paired with others who have complementary gifts-clairvoyance, hyper speed, and even the power to make people ill-but they are anything but amiable. Thom's realization that he is gay, along with his struggle to keep his new status as a hero secret, further drive a rift between father and son. An unexpected security breech that occurs within the League helps Thom and his team discover that they have surprising allies and enemies. Moore successfully fills a niche in both the speculative and young adult fiction genres with his homosexual superhero protagonist. The combination of mystery, fantasy, thriller, and romance create a delightful and compelling read-no easy feat for such a hefty tome. Thom's cohorts, especially Miss Scarlett and Ruth, are well-drawn characters with both irritating and charming qualities. Moore's writing might meander a bit or dip into treacley sweetness at times, but these are minor flaws in an otherwise enjoyable novel. Readers who want more of sickly Larry or the enigmatic Dark Hero will have to wait until Moore's sequel hits the shelves.
Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
Thom Creed is used to being on his own. Even though he is a basketball star, his classmates keep their distance. Thom has secrets and special powers. He is asked to join the League, an organization of superheroes. He connects with a misfit group that opens up challenges and eventually makes him come to terms with his past. In what could be called a coming-of-age story, there is a whole list of interesting characters and strange events. Thom eventually reconciles with his father and also sees his mother. His father was one of the greatest and most beloved super heroes of his time, until a catastrophic event left him disfigured. This is the author's first book, and it is perhaps a bit unique because of the graphic -novel-like sense of heroes and events. One has to concentrate while reading to keep the story characters and sequences in proper order. It is a long novel, so it will probably draw the avid reader rather than the newer young adult one. Reviewer: Naomi Butler
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up
At the same time that he's coming to terms with his sexual orientation, basketball star Thom Creed is trying to figure out exactly what his untrained superpowers can do. In an attempt to break away from his seemingly non-understanding father (an ex-hero with something to hide) and homophobic community, Thom runs away, only to find himself in the middle of a multi-hero rescue operation. Using his ability to heal, he keeps an injured woman alive until the League superheroes arrive and impresses them enough to get an invitation to try out for a hero apprentice position. Thom is teamed with an old woman who can see into the future, a spiteful girl who unleashes her power through fire, a sickly boy who is able to inflict disease on anyone, and a demoted hero with insane speed. With superheroes dying in mysterious circumstances, Thom is forced to admit publicly that he is gay in order to prevent a miscarriage of justice, but finds himself cast out of the League. He organizes his ragtag team to figure out what is really going on and to fight society's prejudices as well as the criminal element of the town. The story tackles love, friendship, and the eternal struggle to come to terms with who we really are in a tactful, interesting, and well-developed manner. Although the beginning is a little slow, there are subtle hooks that will keep readers' interest, and once the action picks up, Hero becomes a real page-turner that is worth the wait.
—Dylan ThomarieCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Superman had kryptonite, and Thom, the teenaged basketball star and son of the now-retired Major Might, tries hard to keep his own Achilles heel-being gay-under the radar. His powers of healing seem to bring him nothing but bad press, however, especially when he decides to go out for a superhero-like boot camp headed up by the League, the sworn protectors of Moore's Metropolis-like city. At first, Thom seemingly botches every one of his team's missions, but when a series of hero-murders threaten world destruction, a cigarette-smoking, foul-mouthed seer assures him that soon enough his strength, powers and sexuality will play a role in saving humankind. Despite the near-ridiculous superhero theme running through this first novel, the interpersonal relationships between Thom and his likable, equally tortured compadres keep the plot's feet on the ground. Capes, X-ray vision, tights and cheesy superhero spoofs run amuck. Despite a few half-hearted attempts at realism, the book reads like a complicated yet quick-moving adult novel. Disappointingly, Moore doesn't dig deeper into Thom's newly found gay world past his coming out, and no doubt readers will be curious as to how he survives in his new skin. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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