Moore, Perry. “Hero”, Hyperion, 2007.
Love, Loss and Redemption
You may recognize the name Perry Moore from “The Chronicles of Narnia” films of which he was the executive director. The Perry Moore that wrote “Hero” is somewhat different as he looks at adolescence in his young adult novel, “Hero”. He shows that adolescence is “such a bitch…there’s the weird hair growth, the constant hard-ons, the ridiculous squeak and moan of your voice changing, and then there’s the whole coming to terms with being gay thing—not to mention the struggles of figuring out your superhuman powers!” This is what “Hero” is all about and this is one book you do not want to miss no matter what your age is.
It is the story of Thom Creed, the hero of the book and the first gay superhero in his own fictional world. It is the story of being different in many ordinary ways. Thom has the power to heal but keeps his powers hidden from his father who was a superhero himself. He therefore has a double closet—one for being gay and one for being a super teen. The book is about longing to fit in but it’s the things that make one different that makes one great.
Thom knows how to be on his own and finds it comfortable. He is a basketball star that his classmates stay away from. They feel there is something “different” about him. This plus the fact that his dad, Hal Creed, had been one of the greatest superheroes of his time. It was a catastrophic event that left him disfigured, made him a victim of society and caused Thom to lose his mother. Thom does not want his father to feel any worse so he keeps secrets from him. His big secret is that he has special powers and has been asked to become a member of the League—the same organization that threw his father out. But Thom has another secret that he can hardly deal with himself and certainly can’t tell it to anyone else and that is that he is gay. To top everything off, Thom knows that he is being followed by someone who knows everything.
When Thom decides to become a member of the League, things change and a whole new life lies ahead of him. He finds himself among a bunch of other misfits, all of whom have aspirations of becoming heroes. Scarlett cannot control her anger but has no trouble controlling fire, Typhoid Larry has the ability to make anyone ill by a simple touch, Ruth can see the future. All of them have something to hide, like Thom but they also realize that they have to trust each other when they learn of a conspiracy plan to overthrow the League. Thom will face challenges he never knew existed and he will, in some way, have to come to terms with his father’s past in order to discover what kind of hero he really wants to be. Here we see the problems facing those who choose to lead a secret life and that only when necessary are able to accept the truth. Bravo to Perry Moore for such a wonderfully eye-opening novel.