HERO by Mike Lupica


Age Range: 11 - 13
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In a trendy fantasy that’s probably stand-alone but reads like an overblown series setup, a teenager finds himself endowed with superpowers. After the death (presumed, there being pointedly no mention of a corpse) of his secret-agent father, Billy’s grief turns to anger and confusion when two men—one a close family friend, the other a strange, old man who reads minds and can appear and vanish at will—start laying urgent but conflicting and maddeningly cryptic messages on him involving a coming challenge from “the Bads.” Suddenly he’s being repeatedly attacked by street hoodlums, but, thanks to previously unsuspected martial-arts skills, new superfast reflexes and other powers, he both fends off the thugs and proves ready for a climactic save when an assassin targets a presidential candidate. Nonetheless, not only is there more angst than action here, but, among many signs of patchwork plotting, the real agendas of the men haranguing Billy remain murky and Lupica establishes but then abruptly drops an important character. Readers will be left scratching their heads and wondering when the story will get under way. (Fantasy. 11-13)
Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-399-25283-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2010


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