Hero by Perry Moore
Thom Creed’s father used to be a superhero. Now he’s an outcast, a single father doing the best he can to raise his son. Thom knows how hard his father works and doesn’t want to burden him with more, but the secrets Thom is keeping are becoming harder to bear.
Thom is gay and has known it for a while. His father once made it clear how he feels about gay men and Thom does not want to lose his father’s love. And now Thom is also starting to manifest a superpower, the ability to heal people. After unexpectedly displaying his powers, Thom receives an invitation to try out for the League, the superhero collective his father once belonged to. The other aspiring heroes auditioning for the League have impressive powers of their own. To his surprise, Thom makes it on to the probationary roster. But fearing his father’s reaction, Thom lies and tells him that he’s got summer league basketball games when he’s actually practicing with a squad of other probationary League members.
Almost every character in Hero has a secret or two, even Thom’s mother, who disappeared years ago. The secrets are kept out of shame or because of expectations and the fear of disappointment, but at what cost? Thanks to his squad, particularly Ruth, a crotchety precog, and Scarlett, whose personality is as fiery as her power, Thom realizes that he can’t let his secrets fester. But how can he tell the truth when doing so may lose him the one person he has left?
Hero is Perry Moore’s impressive fiction debut. Thom’s circumstances and secrets could have made him whiny and self-pitying. Instead, he is confused and compelling, honest with himself even as he lies to his father.
There’s a lot going on in the book, plot-wise. (I haven’t even mentioned basketball, Goran, or murder.) But the plot never hinders character development or the relationships Thom forges. And for all the heavy subjects the book touches on, it’s also pretty funny. C’mon, a squadmate called Typhoid Larry?
Hero will be published August 28. Don’t miss it.
It has also been reviewed by Patti of Oops…Wrong Cookie and Professor Nana
And Perry Moore was A Fuse #8 Production’s Hot Man of Children’s Literature No. 32