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Hero-Type Hardcover – September 22, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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: 8.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,471,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kevin Ross is a hero, in his high school, his town of Brookdale, his state and even the nation, for he is a young man who single-handedly stopped a serial killer. He jumped on his back and put him in a strangle hold while a girl from his school who was about to become the next victim called 911. But what nobody knows is why Kevin was there in the first place and what he was doing. But Kevin does and it is tearing him to pieces. But just as quickly as he was placed upon the pedestal, he is torn down, as it gets reported that he takes 'Support Our Troops' magnets from the car the Mayor got him a deal on, and puts them in the trash. Soon he is being threatened, attacked and in a worse place than when people just ignored him. But no one stops to ask why he took them off. Soon Kevin is in a heated debate and battle with the school jock about flag-burning, the pledge of allegiance and what does it mean to support the troops.

This was the third of the books set in Brookdale that I have read. I find it interesting how Lyga can create so many different and yet all intense stories set in the same small town, with minor overlaps in characters. It's funny, but I think I would have liked going to this school and would have loved being in the Council of Fools. They are great stories for teens to read to show them different sides of hard situations, but also for adults to read to be reminded of what teens go through. This story was very interesting to read because of all the political drama and tensions. But it all comes down to what is a hero really, and what should we do with a platform once it has been given to us. It was another great read by an incredible storyteller!
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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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