Hero-Typeby Barry Lyga
Everyone is treating Kevin as a hero. He was in the right place and the right time and he saved a girl from being murdered. Only Kevin knows though, why he was able to save her. Things get even more complicated when Kevin is seen removing two patriotic “Support the Troops” ribbons from his car bumper. Now the town that lauded him as a hero turns on him,… See more details below
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Everyone is treating Kevin as a hero. He was in the right place and the right time and he saved a girl from being murdered. Only Kevin knows though, why he was able to save her. Things get even more complicated when Kevin is seen removing two patriotic “Support the Troops” ribbons from his car bumper. Now the town that lauded him as a hero turns on him, calling him unpatriotic. Kevin, who hadn't thought much about it up to then, becomes politcially engaged, suddenly questioning what exactly supporting the troops or even saying the pledge of allegiance every day means.
Gr 8 Up
In his third book set in South Brook High School, Lyga introduces Kevin Ross, the hometown hero revered for rescuing a local classmate from a serial killer. However, with each accolade and reward bestowed upon him, the teen becomes increasingly more depressed and filled with self-loathing. Only he knows why he was at the right place to save Leah Muldoon from "The Surgeon." Kevin's life becomes even more complicated when a local reporter photographs him throwing out "Support the Troops" magnets. Instead of explaining why he tossed them, the teen becomes politically engaged as he debates the relevance of the Pledge of Allegiance and examines what it means to support the troops. His unpopular opinions bring up his father's questionable past and ostracize him from his classmates and the community. As Kevin struggles to refine his opinions, he also questions his relationship with his estranged mother in California as well as with the Catholic Church. Readers will be interested in the mystery surrounding Kevin's obsession with Leah Muldoon and his father's dishonorable discharge from the military. Kevin's anguish and guilt are palpable; however, some of the situations, including the all-school assembly for an impromptu debate between Kevin and a classmate he has antagonized, stretch believability. Also, the plot takes on too many issues. Still, Lyga's fans will be rewarded by his authentic teen characters, his willingness to tackle tough issues, and, most importantly, his ability to encourage a dialogue that is crucial to democratic participation.-Lynn Rashid, Marriots Ridge High School, Marriotsville, MD
"Leavened by much humor…this neatly plotted look at what real patriotism and heroism mean will get readers thinking."--KLIATT, starred review
"Lyga’s fans will be rewarded by his authentic teen characters, his willingness to tackle tough issues, and, most importantly, his ability to encourage a dialogue that is crucial to democratic participation."--School Library Journal
"This novel proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature . . . a perfect discussion-group book and is extremely current in a unique way that is not political."--VOYA, (4Q4P)
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: Surreal
Everywhere you go, it seems like there’s a reminder of what happened, of what I did. You can’t escape it. I can’t escape it. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone suggested renaming Brookdale “Kevindale.” That’s just how things are working out these days. The whole town’s gone Kevin Krazy.
Take the Narc, for example. The big sign out front, the one that normally announces specials and sales, now says THANK YOU, KEVIN, FOR SAVING OUR LEAH. That’s just plain weird. The same spot that usually proclaims the existence of new flavors of Pop Tarts or two-for-one Cokes is now a thanks to me. It’s just surreal, the word my friend Flip uses when he’s slightly stoned and can’t think of a better word to describe something strange.
But I sort of understand the Narc sign. After all, Leah’s dad owns Nat’s Market (called “the Narc” by every kid in town except Leah), so I get it.
But . . .
Then there’s the flashing neon sign that points down the highway to Cincinnati Joe’s, a great burger-and-wings joint. Usually it just flashes JOE followed by SAYS and then EAT and then some-thing like WINGS! or BURGERS! or FRIES! or whatever the owners feel like putting up that day. Now, though, it says: JOE SAYS GOOD JOB KEVIN!
Even the sign at the WrenchIt auto parts store wishes me a happy sixteenth birthday. And when you drive past the Good Faith Lutheran Church on Schiffler Street, the sign out front reads: GOD BLESS YOU, KEVIN & LEAH. Which almost makes us sound like a couple or something. And I don’t even go to Good Faith. I’m what Mom calls “a parentally lapsed Catholic.” (Usually fol-lowed by “Don’t worry about it.”) Continuing the Tour of Weirdness that has become Brookdale in the last week or so, you can see similar signs all over. My favorite — the most surreal — is the one near the mall, where someone forgot to finish taking down the old letters first, so now it says, SPECIAL! SAVE KEVIN ROSS IS A HERO!
Gotta love that.
And, God, don’t even get me started on the reporters.
You probably saw me on TV. First the local channels and then — just this past weekend — the bigtime: national TV, courtesy of Justice!. I didn’t want to do the show, but Justice! was one of the big contributors to the reward money. I don’t have the money yet, and it’s not like the pro-ducers are holding it hostage or anything, but when someone’s planning on dumping thirty grand into your bank account . . . I sort of felt like I had to go on. Dad said it was my decision, but I could tell he was waffling. It’s like, one part of him figured I deserved the money, and another part of him hated the idea of this big media company having that over my head, and another part of him probably wanted the whole thing just to go away.
They (you know, the Justice! people) filmed in Leah’s living room, Leah being the girl whose life I saved.
See, here’s the deal the way I told it on TV and in the papers: I’m walking along near the Brookdale library and I hear this scream from down the alleyway. So I go running and there’s this big guy and he’s hassling Leah and he’s got a needle in his hand.
He was big. I was — and am — small. But I couldn’t help myself. I just threw down my, y’know, my backpack and I charged him and somehow I managed to get him in a wrestling hold like they taught us in gym class. He dropped the needle and Leah screamed again and the guy grunted and tried to shake me off, but I was sticky like a parasite, man. I just held on and tight-ened my grip and he couldn’t move.
And Leah called 911 and that would have been that, but it turns out the guy in question was Michael Alan Naylor. The Surgeon. Or . . .
“The man responsible for a series of abductions, rapes, and murders throughout the Mid-Atlantic,” said Nancy deCarlo, the host of Justice!, just before she introduced me to the nation in all my zitty, sweaty, panicky glory.
They stuck me on Leah’s sofa with Leah, who looked poised and calm and radiated perfec-tion. It was like “Beauty and the Beastly” or something. Nancy talked. I listened. I answered her questions, but I can’t really remember it at all. I was too caught up in the moment, sitting so close to Leah that I could smell her perfume and the hot TV lights and the Justice! people run-ning around and everything. It was crazy.
They showed a reenactment of the whole thing, shot in grainy black-and- white, with some little emo kid playing me, running down the alley, jumping . . .
It was TV. They didn’t tell the whole story, of course.
Maybe that’s because I didn’t tell them the whole story.
Meet the Author
Barry Lyga is the author of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl and Boy Toy, both ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Hero-Type is his third book set in South Brook High School. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Barry Lyga is a recovering comic book geek and the author of many books, including The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, Goth Girl Rising, Boy Toy, and Hero-Type for HMH, Wolverine: Worst Day Ever for Marvel Books, and Archvillian for Scholastic. He has also written comic books about everything from sword-wielding nuns to alien revolutionaries. He worked as marketing manager at Diamond Comic Distributers for ten years. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.Visit Barry online at www.barrylyga.com.
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