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Book Review: Hero

Superpowers, action, and a terrific read

By Maya Williams | April 13 , 2011
 
 

Hero
Author: Mike Lupica
Publisher/Release Date: Philomel/November 2, 2010
Length: 289 pages
Recommended Reading: Ages 9 to 12

The hero in author Mike Lupica's latest book Hero has special powers: he can both fly and become invisible. But before he can use his powers to discover the mystery behind his father's death, 14-year-old Zach Harriman has a lot to learn, including the fact that he even HAS these powers.

Zach's dad, Tom Harriman, works for the President of the United States and is always away on secret missions, something that Zach doesn't like because he misses him a lot. When his father dies in a plane crash, Zach is not satisfied with the explanation and sets out to find the truth.

His curiosity leads him to the crash site, where he meets the mysterious Mr. Herbert, an old man who disappears and reappears at will. Each time he appears before Zach, Mr. Herbert tells him he needs to be "ready." "Ready for what?" Zach asks himself over and over.

As the story evolves, Zach begins to develop a sixth sense along with amazing speed, incredible recovery skills, and insane strength. Mr. Herbert explains to Zach that his father had the same magic that he is just now discovering, and that Mr. Herbert himself helped his father develop those skills. He wants to help Zach, too, he says.

That's not how John Marshall feels about it though. "Uncle John" is Zach's family lawyer and his father's best friend. He knows all about Tom and Zach's powers and wants Zach to just be a kid. He advises him against working with Mr. Herbert.

Everything is very confusing for Zach: he doesn't know what to do or whom to believe, so he turns to his own best friend Kate. Together, the two experience danger and adventure as Zach begins his own personal journey of discovery.

As the setting for the story, Central Park in New York City is as much a character as Zach and Kate. Zach lives in an apartment on Fifth Avenue, just across the street from the park. The park becomes like a friend to Zach, too: both good and bad things happen between them.

I especially liked the author's use of everyday terms to set the book firmly in today's time. In Hero, bad guys being "deleted" and Zach "texts" himself from place to place. The book also references real events (9/11, a plane landing on the Hudson River) and real people (George Clooney).

I liked Hero a lot. Lupica's style makes you want to turn the pages and puts you right in the action. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend, either a boy or girl because the characters are both so strong. Hero is the kind of book you want to read if you are looking for action and surprise!

Check out Kid Reporter Maya Williams' interview with Mike Lupica, the author of Hero!

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