Hero Review
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Perry Moore’s Hero is a book about being different. More specifically, it’s a coming-of-age novel about a gay teen superhero. The subject matter is unique in that the main character, Thom, seeks acceptance for being different, both in being a superhero and being gay.

Hero is a good book, no doubt about it. The characters are great. They’re all struggling for some sort of acceptance (a common theme in coming-of-age novels), and they’re not your typical Batman-Superman-Spiderman superheroes. There’s Thom, a 17-year-old gay young man who has the ability to heal with his touch. There’s Hal, Thom’s father, a fallen superhero whose wife abandoned him and their son. There’s Scarlett, an angry young woman who can control fire. My personal favorite is Typhoid Larry, who can make people sick by touching them. There’s also Ruth, a tough old woman who can see the future. Every one of them struggles to fit in with society, with their league of superheroes, and with each other. When the plot twists and things turn deadly, the young heroes are put to a grueling test.

  
 
Hero is well written—and Perry Moore tells a great story. Action abounds as good struggles to overcome evil. The superhero theme could have really bombed, but Moore does an excellent job of constructing a believable plot.

However, I’m going to be honest. The elephant in the living room here is the whole gay thing. I think maybe it’s supposed to be—although not for shock value. Make no mistake: I have nothing against gay people. I’m not gay, but I believe that everyone should be who they are. I don’t consider Hero a “gay novel,” and, as an adult, I completely understand that the book is about being true to yourself no matter what, and that lesson applies to everyone, whether gay, straight, weak, strong, etc.

The most troublesome part of this book is not that the protagonist is gay but that he puts himself in risky—if not downright dangerous—sexual situations, for which there are no consequences. He goes off with strange men and engages in risky conduct and hangs around outside gay bars—and alcohol is involved.

While the book is recommended for ages 13 and above, I don’t know if my 13-year-old son would read it or, if he did, whether he would be comfortable with it. Quite frankly, I don’t know if I’d want him to—and I don’t consider myself overprotective. For adolescents, straight sex is hard enough. As a parent, the gay sex content gave me pause for thought. Many times, I thought about handing the book to him and asking him to read it, but I’ve always stopped short of doing so. I think I’d be more at ease if he’d read it when he’s older.

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