No one on earth has anything negative to say about this book, so the challenging part of reviewing Perry Moore's first novel is how to reign in the geyser of good vibes. Hero is the first in a series of young adult fantasy novels that centers on the life of a gay teen superhero, Thom Creed. Moore is ridiculously qualified to write such a book. Openly gay and with a long career in the film industry where he is perhaps best known as the executive producer of The Chronicles of Narnia series, it is unsurprising that this novel was an uncontested favorite to win the Lambda Literary Award in the Young Adult category.
It's not only the young adult crowd and the GLBT crowd that are hopping on board this love train, but also the superhero-loving crowd of comic book geeks. Leading the bandwagon of support for this exciting new series is none other than Marvel Comics guru Stan Lee, who is developing a television show based on Moore's novels. The audiobook actually opens with a jolly introduction from Stan Lee, whose enthusiastic recommendation alone should be enough reason to listen to this book.
But there is still more goodness, in that the novel itself is narrated by Michael Urie, the openly gay stage and screen actor best known for his recurring role as Marc St. James on the hit television series Ugly Betty. Urie is gifted with a knack for character voices, and delivers a dozen uniquely hilarious and heartwarming voices for the various superheros and wannabes in this novel. There's the League, featuring an alien calm for Justice, a publicity-ready sparkle for dreamy blond Uberman, and a slinky rasp for speedy Golden Boy, the sidekick of Silver Bullet who has been demoted to trainer of the League's next crop of heroes. Thom Creed, in the universally appealing tones of an outsider's tenderly introspective coming-of-age, is among this crop. He is joined by the voices of perpetually grouchy Scarlett, drippy nosed Typhoid Larry, and sarcastic chain-smoking psychic Ruth, all hiding secrets of their own.
Perry Moore has written a book that does exactly the right thing at the right time, bringing together a remarkably broad audience in a way that can only be described as a game changer for the several genres it bridges. Whatever reason you might have for wanting to give it a listen, Michael Urie's action-packed rendering of familiar feelings and unpredictable situations ensures that you will not even consider pressing that pause button the future of the world is on the line, in more ways than one. Megan Volpert
In the story comic book legend Stan Lee calls "spellbinding" and "totally original," Thom Creed has secrets. For one, like his father, he has super powers. Also, he's been asked to join the Leaguethe very organization of superheroes that spurned his dad. Then theres the secret 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 fathers past, and discover the kind of hero he really wants to be.
Timely and inspiring,Hero tackles love, friendship, and the struggle to come to terms with who we really are in a sincere and suspenseful way.
This audiobook includes an exclusive introduction written and read by Stan Lee himself.
©2007 Perry Moore (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Moore's casting of a gay teen hero in a high-concept fantasy marks an significant expansion of GLBTQ literature into genres that reflect 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." (Booklist)
First, the greatest tragedy about this book is that there will be no more. Perry Moore died earlier this year, and while it is my understanding he had every intention of writing more about his main character Thom, there is no second book or even an outline.
Perry Moore did something here for young gay teens that very few other books have done. I was not a teen when I read this, I was in my early 20s, but I know if i would have read this book when i was a teen i would would have identified with many of the things that the Thom the main character is going through. The bulling and being picked on even by his own teammates, the lack of any real friends, and the fear of having your parents know or find out.
But this book is not about Thom being gay, yes it is a good size part of it, but the book is mostly about Thom's hope and dreams of being a superhero like his dad, and trying to live up to what his dad thinks he should be and balancing that with what he wants to be. Thom find fines friends on the way, and he also fined himself.
I really love superhero growing up, and never had a gay super hero to read about. So you can imagine my happiness when Stan Lee one of the charters of some of Marvel's greatest super-heros came on at the beginning to say how much he supported the work that Perry Moore was doing, and how much he liked the book.
This book just made me feel so good, and i reread it every now and then just to have that same feeling. I hope this help your to figure out if you want to listen to the this book. I do not normally rate books because I have a learning disability in english type subject and i do not spell or write well so i hope you can understand this, thank.
Like the previous reviewer, I couldn't start listening once I started. I responded to the depth and honesty of many of the characters and found myself laughing out loud, groaning in consternation, and shouting at one character or another. Thom, the main character, is certainly likable, but also certainly flawed. I found myself frustrated with him and his actions (or inaction!) more than once throughout the narrative--like a good friend who just keeps making mistakes. The fantasy world of this novel is fun, with many somewhat darker connections to our own world. For me, the fantasy took a backseat to the excellent development of a whole stable of characters, as well as the heartfelt romantic element. This novel is fun, intelligent and meaningful without being cloying or overly concerned with pushing an agenda. The writing style is honest and straightforward with some whimsical touches. I am eagerly awaiting a sequel!
There are not enough stars available to rate this book. I have had the book for several months and I have listened to it three times now and would have no problems listening to it again! The story of Thom and his adventures for self-acceptance is a great journey that anyone could relate to. Perry Moore's writing was engaging, enlightening, gut-wrenching, and soul solidifying. I laughed out loud. I cried uncontrollably. The story runs the gambit of emotions and takes you on a super adventure. Though I am a comic book junkie, don't let that disuade you from experiencing this tale. Michael Urie's narration was phenomenal. Seriously, I am having a hard time trying to express just how great this book is. Images, twists, and plots keep rushing in and I just want to tell you about Scarlett, Larry, Ruth, Justice, and so forth. I won't, but I will encourage to read or listen to this book if you want to embark on a spellbinding (as Stan Lee so eloquently states it) journey. I love this book!!
Glad I didn't listen to the haters. This is a really fun, well-written comic story. It basically takes us through a young man learning powers. The fantasy super-hero world does a nice job of mirroring his own experiences as a gay young man. There is really nothing objectionable subject-wise. Some reviews had me worried that it would be too raunchy. There is nothing raunchy about it. It seems very honest and is true to what a young teen would be feeling about love regardless of whether he or she is gay or not. It's about finding one's place in this world and giving what was given to you by your family to make yourself great.
I'm a twenty-something lit nerd who enjoys Romance, Fantasy and YA Fiction. I like strong female heroes and entertaining readers.
I bought this book for our annual cross-country road trip to go see my in-laws. I stand back really pleased. The hardest thing about choosing a family book to listen to on road trips is making everyone in your car happy. This book had a bit of everything. My man loves super heros and all of those comic book type things and I adore a quirky protagonist with a lot to prove. Perry Moore's novel about a healing superboy who just also happens to be gay, hits all the spots.
I noticed another review talked about the masturbation scene that occurs within the first part of the novel. Okay people, this was NOT a graphic scene, and it was important for the book. As long as your kids are older than 12, they will be just fine listening to this book with you. And if not, listen to it on your own and appreciate the meaning of family and friendship, because those are the true themes behind this masterpiece.
The Audible reviewer Megan Volpert starts her review with "No one on earth has anything negative to say about this book", but I find that hard to believe. For one thing, the author should have invented more of his own superheros instead of re-hashing old favorites. He renamed them, but it's apparent that Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, etc. are all there. The plot is pretty predictable and offers no real surprises.
Thom encounters a LOT of SUPER-negative reaction to his gayness which I suppose if you lived in deepest, darkest Biblebelt or else in the heart of Red-neck-land (often the same thing) you would probably still encounter. It's a little hard for me to go with it in this day and age, but then I live in a socially advanced city so maybe I'm not the best judge on that.
The premise is great, I love the idea of a gay superhero kid. I like his superhero talent, and that he has a great relationship with his Dad, and the story of his disappeared Mom. It's apparent that this is Moore's first novel, but for a first novel the writing is overall good enough. I hope that in future novels he develops his own line of superheros and makes them become classics rather than reusing other people's creations.
Moore writes romance very badly, and the story would have been a lot more interesting without it, gay or straight. It doesn't matter who is involved in a romance, if it's badly written it really grates and romance is well known for being one of the hardest things to write well. Our hero Thom thinks like the heroine in a cheesy romance novel whenever he starts contemplating his own gayness or love life. He jumps to silly conclusions that are obviously wrong, and reacts with equal silliness. Could have been done a lot better, or better yet left out. I dinged this story down to 2 stars instead of 3 for this.
Moore also leaves the open question, if Thom can heal everyone, why doesn't he heal everyone? There are sick people all around him, but he doesn't always fix them. I guess I agree with "David" who also reviewed this book saying: "Yay" for the message, "Meh" for the story".
The narrator did a great job. There are a handful of narrators who are my very favorite and I wouldn't say he falls into that category, but if I wanted another book and it was narrated by him it I'd consider that to be just fine. I didn't mind his voices or inflections at all, and I'm pretty picky about narration.
This isn't the most original writing in the world of unconventional superhero novels...and, quite frankly, Mur Lafferty ("Playing for Keeps, among others), Matthew Wayne Selznick (Brave Men Run), and Jeffrey R. DeRego (Union Dues) have done it better. Nonetheless, there is something just so implicitly honest in the writing that makes it an extraordinarily compelling story. I started listening on a morning run, and finished around 4 in the morning. I haven't gone through a book (audio or print) that quickly in several years.
Of course, the content and conflict of this novel is now made especially pertinent by current events (gay teen suicide, the "It Gets Better" project, and Don't Ask Don't Tell). Undoubtedly, this went into Audible's decision to pick up the 2007 book now. What can I say...good timing.
While the book is aimed at a YA audience, no adult should turn their nose up.
Rarely do you find a book which has a great story, social commentary and superheros.
You can ( and will) enjoy this, and your teen can listen to it without you worrying about the content.
Business Physicist and Astronomer
This book hits at so many levels I can't do it justice in a brief review. While I'm inclined to to warn about the gay content, and encourage the listener to be tolerant, that would violate the spirit of the book.
I've read professional criticisms of this book and laugh inside at how the critics so easily can miss key points. The book intentionally reads like a comic and so the characters are supposed to be somewhat 2-dimensional. Comics are written for kids---it's brilliant that some of the 'action' is predictable. It's not an autobiography!!!
But the ideas are profound. That we torment super heroes with bigotry is very wonderfully presented. That we don't know what the real lives of those around us is really about is brilliantly portrayed.
To the rigid moralist there may be some objectionable passages but I find my own tolerance going deeper as I get older. I think that's called maturity.
I highly recommend this book. I also believe it is an important book.
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