Let’s just say that any book that assumes superpowers are commonplace in society is already off to a good start. As usual I’m not sure when I added this book to my list of books to read, but I know I added it because Hero is a conglomeration of the various types of books I like to read—Young Adult, LGBT, Super Heroes, Coming of Age and Coming Out.
Hero is the story of Thom Creed a high school basketball star who volunteers in the community. Thom is a closeted gay teen who just happens to have superpowers. So while other kids think about prom dates, acne and school work, Thom has greater issues (seemingly) such as the fear of people discovering his (non hetero-) sexuality, his father discovering his superpowers and the strange things that happen around him.
The story truly kicks off when Thom tries to run away from home after his dad computer breaks when he’s looking at superhero porn. As most serendipitous things are, Thom happens to be running away from home when a few villains appear on a bus he’s riding. The League (of superheroes) arrives to save the day and offers Thom the opportunity to try out for the League. Thom adds this to the secrets he’s keeping from his father.
The book was overly clichéd at points, but was a fun read and provided a bit of a beacon in the realm of LGBT identified characters. I predicted a good portion of the plot (unlike usual) but the end still wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Moore could have used a bit more character development, as the majority of the characters are background noise, however many do act as foils or provide comic relief.
The ending is happy, which if you’ve read any of my rants about LGBT fiction you know I appreciate. Overall I felt Moore steered clear of the majority of archetypes (okay, coming out of the closet is a big one, but definitely handled in a unique way) and most stereotypes too. I was sad to read that Moore died in February of this year, as he planned to write more novels featuring Thom and I can see both Moore’s writing developing and turning Thom, and the other characters, into something more than the cookie cutters many adult readers might consider them.
I would recommend it – regardless of your sexuality or gender, it’s a fun, quick read which allows you to once again imagine what life would be like if superpowers were real and an everyday part of our mundane lives. Throw in that Moore writes Thom’s adolescent awkwardness perfectly—who hasn’t had those thoughts or that clumsy moment, and you’ve got a great summer read.