Friday, August 27, 2010

Hero by Mike Lupica

Disclaimer:  This book has not yet been released. I received an Advanced Reader's Copy from Penguin.

I liked this book, but how much I liked it depends on whether is the first book in a series or whether it is a stand alone story.

Billy Harriman is the only child of a wealthy mother and a famous father. Billy’s father, Tom Harriman, is a problem solver for the president of the United States.   Many would consider Billy’s dad a hero, but what they don’t realize he’s actually a superhero.  Even Billy is not aware of his father’s special gifts until after Tom Harriman is killed in a mysterious plane crash.  Then everything changes, including Billy.  With his dad gone, Billy’s own superhero powers begin to develop and her must learn to handle those powers without a clear guide.
The pacing might be a little slow for those used to Lupica’s fast paced sports stories. Everything seems to be building up to a cliffhanger that doesn’t quite happen.  Yet there are still many questions left unanswered opening the way to a sequel. As a stand-alone book, things are a little vague at times.  Tom Harriman fought against the Bads, but it is not clear just who the Bads are.  It is also difficult to figure out who is on the side of good and who is on the other side. (This could be considered a clever writing ploy as it keeps the reader guessing and wanting to come back to find out.)
The book has a lot to offer young adult readers – girls and boys.  There’s magic, potential love interest, typical teen angst (Billy is plagued by a bully at school), mystery (just who did Billy’s dad work for?) and good vs. evil.
Though I would have liked a faster pace, I have to admit I’m hooked. I want to know more about Billy and the other characters.  The book is scheduled for release in November 2010. I will recommend it to my fourth and fifth grade readers and their older siblings.
If the book is the beginning of a series, then I’d have to say I really like it. I checked Lupica’s website and as of this writing there’s no indication either way. If it’s a stand-alone book,  I’d have to say I like it but not as much as previous books by Lupica.
Mrs. Archer’s rating: 4 of 5 for a series beginning or 3 of 5 if it’s not.

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