Billy “Ball” Harriman is a nothing but a middle school student with a dad who is Special Advisor to the President of the United States. At least, that is what he thought until his dad dies in a mysterious plane crash while piloting his small plane home from his latest business trip. What Billy did not know about his father until after he was dead is that his dad was a superhero, and his many business trips were actually missions assigned by the President. Soon after his dad’s death, Billy begins to get agitated, thinking that his dad was too good of a pilot to crash, and why his dad did not parachute out of the plane. Billy decides to go to the crash site, and there he meets Mr. Herbert, a mysterious old man with some even weirder tricks up his sleeve. Herbert tells him that he was the first one to introduce his father to the “magic.” Then the old man disappears, and Billy gets his first taste of the “magic. ” After traveling 50 miles by bus, there should be no way he can run, or even walk back to the city, but Billy sprints the full distance arriving back in Central Park.
After meeting Mr. Herbert, recurring attacks rain down on Billy and anyone with him, including an attack from a giant that hospitalizes Billy for days. After getting out of the hospital, Billy’s mom decides that a vacation would be nice for him, and Billy meets Mr. Herbert again. During this meeting, Billy learns more about his powers, and even about the “Bads,” an evil race of beings who are never seen or met in this book.
When I first heard that Lupica’s new book was a fantasy, I had my doubts. The storyline did not seem like Lupica on first glance, but in the book, sports are mentioned and several times the characters watch New York Knicks. The book definitely had Lupica’s touch and was a very good book. The story left me hanging at the end of the book going “Who ARE the Bads?” and making me flip back pages to make sure I did not miss anything, so I can guess that there will be a sequel. Overall , I believe this was a very good book. Hero is scheduled to come out in stores in November 2010.
(Note: Hero is not in stores yet, I read an Advanced Reader’s Copy from Penguin.)