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Hero-Type Hardcover – September 22, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
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From Booklist

Lyga’s latest novel, set in the same high school as his other novels, deals with heroism and investigates its nebulous relationship with patriotism. Kevin Ross, a nobody with bad acne, makes big news when he saves a classmate from a homicidal maniac. Shortly after being lauded as a hero, though, the town is just as quick to vilify him as anti-American after he is photographed tossing a couple of Support the Troops ribbons, which he considers empty symbols, in the trash. Lyga has a keen ear for incisive teen dialogue and employs an appealingly quirky cast of too-smart-for-school teenage pranksters to get the story quickly off its feet. But halfway through, the story veers off into an overly didactic treatise on free speech and patriotism, masked by a doubtful school debate over flag burning, with a mindlessly monotonic opposition to Kevin’s enlightened point of view. Although Lyga might be preaching to the choir a bit here, he still manages to capture the roller-coaster ride that defines high-school life as well as anybody else around. Grades 9-12. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Eliot Rosewater Awards 2010-2011
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547076630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547076638
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,051,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Called a "YA rebel-author" by Kirkus Reviews, Barry Lyga has published twelve novels in various genres in his seven-year career, including the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers and his newest, Unsoul'd (for adults). His books have been or are slated to be published in nine different languages in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

After graduating from Yale with a degree in English, Lyga worked in the comic book industry before quitting to pursue his lifelong love of writing. In 2006, his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, was published to rave reviews, including starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal. Publisher's Weekly named Lyga a "Flying Start" in December 2006 on the strength of the debut.

His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, received starred reviews in SLJ, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus. VOYA gave it its highest critical rating, and the Chicago Tribune called it "...an astounding portrayal of what it is like to be the young male victim." His third novel, Hero-Type, according to VOYA "proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature."

Since then, he has also written Goth Girl Rising (the sequel to his first novel), as well as the Archvillain series for middle-grade readers and the graphic novel Mangaman (with art by Colleen Doran).

His latest series is I Hunt Killers, called by the LA Times "one of the more daring concepts in recent years by a young-adult author" and an "extreme and utterly alluring narrative about nature versus nurture." The first book landed on both the New York Times and USAToday bestsellers lists, and the series has been optioned for television by Warner Bros./Silver Pictures.

Lyga lives and writes in New York City. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ami Hassler on September 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Kevin Ross, Kross to his friends, is all over the news these days. It started when he saved Leah Muldoon, his secret crush of two years, from a serial rapist and murderer. Kross plays it cool by telling everyone he was just in the right place at the right time, but everyone in Brookdale is so proud of him. Signs all over town rave about his courage. The mayor has given him both the key to the city and a sweet deal on his first car, complete with two Support Our Troops magnetic ribbons. And that's when it all falls apart. Kevin's Dad, a former military man himself, tells Kevin to get rid of the ribbons, but unfortunately a photographer catches Kevin throwing the ribbons away. Kross is still getting lots of media attention, but this time it's not for being a hero.

If ever there was a literary character that deserved to go postal, it's Kevin Ross. He truly is the poster child for dysfunctional teens everywhere. For starters, when he tells people he was in the right place at the right time to save Leah, it's true, but that's because he's basically been stalking her for two years. And sure, it's his Dad who tells him to get rid of the ribbons, but Kevin is too nervous to ask his father about his own time in the military. He knows that his father's discharge from the army seems to have made him a bit mental, but he'd rather tip toe around the subject than talk to his Dad about it. Oh, and Kevin's parents are divorced because of his father's fragile mental state, and now his mother lives thousands of miles away in California with her partner, Rita, and Kevin's younger brother.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Miller VINE VOICE on April 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Kevin is a hero. He saved a popular girl, Leah, from getting raped and murdered, and if that wasn't good enough, the person he saved her from is a serial killer. So, Kevin went from a fool that tried to not really get noticed to the center of attention. In school, everyone wants to be his friend and sit next to him. He is even given a pretty good deal on a car from the mayor of the town, who also owns the car dealership. Only, Kevin doesn't feel like a hero. Actually, he is keeping a secret that makes him feel worse every time his heroism is brought up. To make matters worse, a local reporter catches him throwing away two magnetic patriotic ribbons off of the back of his car when Kevin's father tells him to. This reporter turns Kevin into a villain. Kevin is all of a sudden everyone's enemy because they believe that he is not patriotic. Instead of coming clean and just saying that his dad made him do it, Kevin takes hold of this new image and brings about a debate about free speech. Not only does Kevin have to deal with this new villain treatment, but he also has to deal with the secret that he is keeping, and his mom wants him to move to California away from his dad.

I usually like Barry Lyga, but I just did not get into this book. There were too many issues that were happening at one time and I don't believe that any of them were written well enough for me to grip onto and struggle through with the main character. Lyga may have shared what was going on, but it was not done in a way that I cared about. I think part of the problem is that I just never really cared about Kevin. I could relate to him from time to time, but he wasn't a character that I liked. The challenges that Kevin goes through in order to find his identity and what is important to him are not gripping.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on October 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Kevin Ross, known as Kross to his friends, has been called a hero in his hometown and beyond. But can the seemingly innocent decision to remove a couple of magnetic ribbons from the back of his ugly, brown used car catapult his hero status to that of hated enemy? You bet it can!

Kevin happened to be at the right place at the wrong time for a serial killer called The Surgeon. For potential teen victim and classmate Leah, it was a case of the right place at the right time. Since saving Leah from certain death, Kevin can't look anywhere in town without seeing his name and hers linked on "thank you" signs and congratulations of all kinds. People can't seem to be able to do enough for Kevin, and they watch anxiously as he appears on TV and waits to collect a reward for his heroism.

All this praise and excitement is confusing for Kevin. He has long had a crush on Leah and relishes the attention she is now giving him; however, there are several secrets in Kevin's life that cast a shadow on all this positive attention. One secret is his father's mysterious military history in the Gulf War. Even when Kevin's mother still lived with them, the subject of his father's military service was off limits. The other secret is Kevin's own guilt for some event that actually placed him with Leah in the alley at the time of the killer's attack.

On the day Kevin pulled into the driveway with his new, used car, his father angrily demanded that the "support our troops" ribbons be removed immediately. When Kevin innocently explains that the local car dealer had slapped them on as he drove out of the used car lot, his father still insists they need to go. Unfortunately for Kevin, a news reporter still following the local hero witnesses the removal of the ribbons.
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