From School Library Journal
Grade 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 Thomarie, Johnstown High School, NY
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Thom Creed tries not to disappoint his dad, a disgraced caped crusader who now toils as a factory drudge, so he keeps his gay identity and his developing superpowers under wraps. Then he secretly tries out for the prestigious League, joining aspiring heroes in villain-busting adventures that escalate alongside more private discoveries. Written in a wry, first-person voice realistically peppered with occasional slang and slurs, this ambitious first novel from a Hollywood producer doesn't entirely cohere. The alternate-reality framework is too cursory, and the more realistic strands feel overstuffed with problems, even as they incorporate many well-chosen scenes (including Thom's awkward, anonymous first pickup, which goes only as far as a kiss). Still, 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. Mattson, Jennifer
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