Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hero-Type by Barry Lyga

Kevin Ross, Kross to his friends, has been labeled a "hero" by his community after saving a classmate from a serial killer. But Kevin feels conflicted about this label, especially since he holds his own and his father's dark secrets. And when a reporter publishes an inflamatory article about Kevin removing two "Support-the-troops" ribbon magnets from his car, he becomes a social outcast. So, what does it mean to be a hero, especially today? And what exactly do those ribbon magnets do anyway?

Okay, so this is definitely a somewhat political book and one that will be interesting to discuss with just about anyone. Kevin speaks to me; he has some real problems and hard questions that no one really wants to hear, much less answer. It is fascinating to watch as everyone around him reacts to his quest to understand and enlighten. His great secret, and that of his father, is very slowly revealed and hinted out; both are also multi-layered and much more complex than most people want to deal with. Right up until the end, you are wondering if Kevin will overcome his problems, continue his quest, and finally become a "hero."

I would really enjoy reading this book with a group of teens. The political and philosophical discussions alone would be electric. Possibly a future teen book club selection? Either way, I am anxious for others to read it, just to be able to fully talk to someone about it! So, I shall pass it on to my coworkers and hopefully have an energetic discussion on a future date.

Only found one other review:


Anonymous said...

We just got the ARC of this, I can't wait to read it! I loved Boy Toy.


Patti said...

I finished reading it tonight. I devoured it. Its interesting, Barry Lyga's books always get me. He's got this breezy writing style and then he punches you in the gut with teens with major serious problems.

This one didn't make me uncomfortable like Boy Toy, but it still made me squirm a little.

I can't believe that Kevin was such a stalker. I mean, he was totally mr. crazy stalker dude. He secretly filmed Leah for TWO YEARS! That is some majorley messedupness. As much as I wanted to like and root for Kevin, I couldn't completely do it. I could tell from the start he wasn't a "hero." (you know...because he keeps telling us that...)And that is why I think the book is so good. It is all about how people are not all good and not all bad, but just shades in between. Kevin is a dirty perv, but he's also a rather earnest well meaning kid. Heros are just people who did good in a certain situation, it doesn't make them good for the rest of their lives. It doesn't mean they won't act poorly later on. Acting bravely is a conscious decision people have to make every day. It's hard, for the most part goes unrecognized, and doesn't always earn you respect. But its what we should all strive to do. Its learning from your mistakes.

The one thing about the book that really bothered me was that Kevin stopped his stalking. Sure he was doing it to fill a hole from when his mom and brother left, but who's to say he wouldn't start up again? He was a predator. Sure, he was a predator that realized his sickness (and what he could became) but a predator nonetheless. Maybe that just makes Barry Lyga's point more profound. I don't know. I'm anxious to hear more opinions on this.