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Hero Paperback – July 12, 2011

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (July 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142419605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142419601
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Lupica, best known for his popular sports novels for youth, explores new territory in this title, which begins with a highly skilled American agent’s first-person account of a dangerous solo mission in the Balkans. By the second chapter, though, readers learn that the agent died during his mission, and the story is picked up by a new narrator, who shifts the telling to third person and the focus to the agent’s son, Billy. After learning that he is being pursued by shadowy bad guys, Billy is ambushed in New York’s Central Park. Luckily, though, he has recently discovered that he possesses supernatural powers, and he overcomes his attackers. Lupica effectively unfolds this high-adventure story, which sends Billy on a classic hero’s journey with two possible guides, one of whom turns out to be treacherous. At the end, Lupica implies that it’s going to take more than one book to tell Billy’s story, which should please the inevitable new fans this effort will attract. Pair this with William Boniface’s The Hero Revealed (2006). Grades 6-9. --Todd Morning --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Mike Lupica is one of the most prominent sports writers in America. His longevity at the top of his field is based on his experience and insider's knowledge, coupled with a provocative presentation that takes an uncompromising look at the tumultuous world of professional sports. Today he is a syndicated columnist for the New York Daily News, which includes his popular "Shooting from the Lip" column, which appears every Sunday. He began his newspaper career covering the New York Knicks for the New York Post at age 23. He became the youngest columnist ever at a New York paper with the New York Daily News, which he joined in 1977. For more than 30 years, Lupica has added magazines, novels, sports biographies, other non-fiction books on sports, as well as television to his professional resume. For the past fifteen years, he has been a TV anchor for ESPN's The Sports Reporters. He also hosted his own program, The Mike Lupica Show on ESPN2. In 1987, Lupica launched "The Sporting Life" column in Esquire magazine. He has published articles in other magazines, including Sport, World Tennis, Tennis, Golf Digest, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, ESPN: The Magazine, Men's Journal and Parade. He has received numerous honors, including the 2003 Jim Murray Award from the National Football Foundation. Mike Lupica co-wrote autobiographies with Reggie Jackson and Bill Parcells, collaborated with noted author and screenwriter, William Goldman on Wait Till Next Year, and wrote The Summer of '98, Mad as Hell: How Sports Got Away from the Fans and How We Get It Back and Shooting From the Lip, a collection of columns. In addition, he has written a number of novels, including Dead Air, Extra Credits, Limited Partner, Jump, Full Court Press, Red Zone, Too Far and national bestsellers Wild Pitch and Bump and Run. Dead Air was nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Mystery and became a CBS television move, "Money, Power, Murder" to which Lupica contributed the teleplay. Over the years he has been a regular on the CBS Morning News, Good Morning America and The MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour. On the radio, he has made frequent appearances on Imus in the Morning since the early 1980s. His previous young adult novels, Travel Team, Heat, Miracle on 49th Street, and the summer hit for 2007, Summer Ball, have shot up the New York Times bestseller list. Lupica is also what he describes as a "serial Little League coach," a youth basketball coach, and a soccer coach for his four children, three sons and a daughter. He and his family live in Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

I would recommend this book for any person who likes action and adventure.
I would definitely say that this is one of the best books Mike Lupica has ever written and I would continue to read his books.
Lori B. Hutchins
This was a very interesting book it had a surprise ending and lots of action.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By nicholas newcomb on November 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What young kid doesn't wish they were a super hero? Zach Harriman believes his dad is a super hero of sorts: he works for the President of the US, was a college sports star, and is a great dad. But, after his dad's dies in an airplane accident, Zach learns there are things that he didn't know about his father, a real super hero connection they both share. Now Zach has bigger responsibilities than most 14 year olds, including filling in for his father and protecting the President of the US.

Mike Lupica has done it again. Zach's character is spot-on in his language, conflicted feelings, and temperment. And, Zach's best friend Kate is his perfect compliment. A great, fast-paced read that shows kids are capable of big things. I can't wait for the sequel!!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Sears on November 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A friend of mine gave me this book in galley form. And I passed it along to my niece, who has read all of Mike Lupica's novels for kids. She loved it. And passed it back to me. And I loved it1 For years, I have heard how Mr. Lupica wants to find a way to get kids to want to read in a digital world. With Hero, he's surely done it. Somehow, with all the superpowers he gives his main character, he has written a wonderful, coming-of-age story about a young man dealing with the loss of his father, about friendship and courage. I recommend this book completely to any young reader looking for a great story. Or any adult trying to instill the magic of reading in a child.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Matt Barry on November 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the coolest book Mike Lupica has ever written. My first Lupica novel was Travel Team, which might still be my favorite of all his sports novels. But when I found out he'd written one that wasn't about sports, that he'd given one of his main characters superpowers for the first time, I had to give it a try. I bought it yesterday afternoon, started reading it.....and finished it this morning! I think everybody who read his other books is going to love Zach Harriman, and Kate, and the old wizard he meets along with all of the cool stuff Zach can do. Most of all the way, you love the way he becomes a Hero as a way of trying to avenge his dad's death at the start of the book. When I finished the book? I had the same reaction everybody is going to have. How long do I have to wait for a sequel?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
Mike Lupica has had great success with his sports themed books for young readers, and I guess he figured it was time to tap into the superhero/fantasy market. Well, this effort is an embarrassment.

There is no book here. The entire story is: Dad was a superhero and now Zach finds out he has super powers, too. Bad guys, (called, I kid you not, "the Bads"), want to use him and it's hard to figure out whom to trust. That's it.

The book is basically Spiderman-lite, complete with girlfriend, shallow teen angst, and a lame reluctant protagonist. (One of the characters actually quotes a line from Spiderman.) The vocabulary and the writing border on the childish. In all seriousness, this could be a book handed in by a sixth-grader as a creative writing project.

There are a lot of really good entry level teen/hero thrillers out there. You could try Horowitz's Alex Rider books, or any of a dozen different fantasy series. Some have strong characters, some have ingenious plots, some have good atmospheric writing, some have a genial good humor, but any of them are better than this effort.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on November 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Hero is a young adult fantasy novel appropriate for 11-14 year old boys. It is a cute story about a boy who learns that he is a super-hero as he is coping with the sudden death of his father. It has a lot of sports talk in it (which was way over my head)...but that would be fine for teenage boys. The sentence structure is stilted, thus distracting from the story, but this problem would be more annoying to adult readers than children. Overall, cute story, poor writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Clemons on June 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered Travel Team and Hero by the same author Mike Lupica mainly for the book Hero which I had seen in a store and Travel Team because while researching Hero on Amazon.com it had good reviews. When they arrived luckily I picked up Travel Team and read it first. I thought it was a great young adult fiction book. I loved the characters and the story and was disappointed when it ended it left me wanting more and there were unaswered questions. After finishing the book I went back to Amzon.com and discovered thre was a second book Summer Ball which I am now reading. After finishing Travel Team I read Hero, a big disappointment. Thank,goodness I didn't read it first. For suspense the main character keeps going back and forth asking "Uncle John" and Mr. Edmond questions about his father and his death and they keep giving him cryptic vague double-speak answers that I guess is suspose to be suspenseful. Do people realy answer questions that way with vague nonsenesical answers. Also for a book with the title Hero there is very little action. Read Travel Team and skip Hero
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on November 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My 8 yo daughter absolutely loved this book so I bought it so my husband and I could read it. Imagine my surprise when my husband corrected our pronunciation of the author's last name (he was familiar with him from ESPN, go figure). My family is superhero crazy- both my girls devour the Avengers, X-men, Spiderman, etc. (the kid friendly versions). And I'll have to say that Super Hero Squad is one funny cartoon.

Anyway, this book is about a 14 yo that ends up with super powers when his father dies unexpectedly. It's your classic good vs. evil book although it keeps you guessing on who the good guys and bad guys are. And ultimately, its the struggle of good vs. evil within ourselves too.

Theology: I am my own god

There's was an old man character in the book with mystical powers and I wondered if he was going to end up as a God-type character, but he didn't.

The main character, Zach Harriman, struggles with grief over his father's passing while dealing with his new death which brings on lots of internal anger. In the end he has to decide what kind of man he's going to be (good). But ultimately, he decides on self-reliance, a typical theme in our American culture where we believe its all about us and we can do everything ourselves.

This is more of a statement on our culture and not a condemnation of the book. We believe that in America if you try hard enough you will succeed (the American dream) but peace comes when we release ourselves to follow our Creator. Submission is the key to happiness, not self-reliance.

If you ask Mike Lupica (interview at [...]), he says

"All of my books are about kids getting knocked down and then showing readers what they are made of by getting back up.
Read more ›
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