Saturday, June 17, 2017


Date started: 3/3/17              

Date finished: 3/4/17

For #20 of BookRiot's Read Harder Challenge: Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel



Once in a while, I get my grubby medium sized hands on a book that I can with a serious face say I stayed up half the night reading. Let me set the scene, the day is Friday, the time about 8:30-9:00 p.m. With nothing to do, I thought to myself "Well, I have an hour or two before bed, let me checkout one of my new library books." I picked up Hero by Perry Moore. At my house, I'm usually asleep by 10-11, 9:30 p.m. the earliest. In this scene, I begin reading. And reading, I did till it was about 2 a.m., and my eyelids were heavy, but there was only forty pages left! My body won out in this struggle, so I slept begrudgingly for a few hours. Then, I  promptly woke up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, so I could finish the few remaining pages. All of this stress on my body was worth it!

I chose Hero simply because I wanted to read a YA LGBTQ+ romance. Using my library's cataloging system (BCCLS), I was able to check out which one of my usual library haunt had the books. The other books, I will put in another post. These books were in other library's, but of course, I'm too lazy to go to travel a town or two over so I stuck with Hero. Also, Hero sounded like an interesting topic to read about especially for me since I like watching superhero movies.

My midnight obsession begins with Thom Creed, a "normal" basketball star, whose team members dislike him for some odd reason. During a particularly harsh game, he discovers he has superpowers. I'm going to mention that Thom is also the son of the famous superhero Hal Creed. Hal Creed, in the story was once a beloved superhero and then a catastrophic event left him disfigured and a social pariah. Hal's social status at times affects how Thom approaches his own superpowers and his interactions with other superheroes and normal people alike.  As he develops these powers, he gains the attention of his father's old superhero crew simply called the League. While in the League, him and his teammates stumble upon a conspiracy involving the deaths of other superheroes.

In total, Hero has many engaging elements at work. I believe it's a trailblazer in the concept of mixing superheroes with discovering one's own sexual orientation.  Yet, the sweeping problem is how some of the scenes were written and included in the book. For the most part, the book is easy and understandable, but there are a few scenes that I had to reread a few times to understand the gist of what was exactly going on. In some of the development of the characters, it seems to me Moore was trying to hard to make his characters well-rounded to the point they borderline unrealistic. I understand fully Moore was trying to produce a more gritty and realistic piece of fiction instead of the "ponies, rainbows, and everyone's so goddarn happy all the time" that appears in some fiction. Using the gritty approach for Moore appears like he was trying too hard at it. With all of it's flaws, I did enjoy reading Hero overall, and it was an engaging piece of YA.


There are a lot of different elements I want to discuss and I'm afraid everything will get all jumbled up together. I prefer nice, neat categories (it's my maternal grandmother in me).

Spoiler Alert Ahead!!! Some of the categories will contain spoilers for the novel.

Romance

The romantic plot of the story does not follow the classic romance novel formula. Moore even makes some nod to the classic romance novels by giving one of the heroes the name of "Dark Hero." Dark Hero is physically imposing, and a dark figure lurking around, sounds like a lot of the gentleman from the romance novels I've read, except maybee the lurking. I am pretty sure it's a romance novel trope. Don't quote me on this though.

Father and Son relationship

 As a parent, it might be difficult to accept who you're child actually is as an individual and not who they wanted you to grow up to be especially when it comes to any hint of them having a different view points. Hal and Thom at the beginning of the story have a strained relationship to the point where Thom decides to runaway. After a major revelation of Thom's homosexuality, Hal shows a father's love at its finest. I don't want to spoil the novel, but I will write they reconcile and save the world father and son style. It's a superhero book, you didn't expect them to save the world.


Superheroes

The older superheroes are jerks. The newer ones are kind of jerks too, but less jerky and missing the sense of entitlement that the older ones have. Meh.

Favorite Scene

Ok. Before I commence with my favorite scene, I will repeat this is a major spoiler alert. So be warned. At one point in the novel, Thom down in the dumps and feeling like he can't do anything right searches for a gentleman to "hook up" with. Or I assume that's what he's doing because this scene is written in a bit of a confusing manner (that I mentioned earlier). Like a classic Hollywood movie, it starts to rain. Thom, who is walking, feels he has reached one of his lowest points. Then, as if by magic, a hot stranger pulls up to the side of him and offers him a ride. Because apparently this happens in the real world. If this does, why hasn't a hot random stranger picked me up, yet? Wait, that sounds dangerous! Scratch that.

Long story short, Thom and this mysterious gentleman make out with each other. It is later revealed that this mysterious stranger was the villain Ssnake.  Moore writes: "Okay, so the guy I happened to have my first kiss with turned out to be the worst villain in the universe. Big deal" (271-272).  Totally something, I would do make out with a villain by accident. And you know what it I guess it isn't a big deal *shrugs shoulders* happens all the time. Yeah, I'm sure Batman makes out with the Joker on a daily basis.


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