Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 8:21:18 AM
I lied in bed beneath the dim light and tried to fully inhale the novel that just broke me. As I wiped the tears off my face, I looked at the cover of the book. The hollows of the black mask’s eyes read "Perry Moore", one word for each eye, and below it, "Hero". My older brother gave me this book when I was in eighth grade, only two years ago. Before then, I had never read a novel that reeled me in with each word into a realm that extended beyond the boundaries of my 13-year-old innocence.
With the dominating outreach to the LGBTQ teen society, Perry Moore penned a novel that encompasses the regular teen struggles through a character named Thom Creed, but with a twist: superheroes exist in his world. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading it, but the revelation at the end of each chapter left me craving for the next part of the story. Every challenge that Thom faces—keeping secrets from his father, learning to control his powers, fighting crime, and struggling for the acceptance of his homosexuality—conjured up a world in my head filled with action, suspense, fantasy and passionate romance. Thom’s world was so vivid that I could almost feel everything. I felt the pressure of every blow he received. I suffered his lonely heartbreak. I became strong with him.
"Hero" is more than the typical teen novel. It’s like Earth has collided with a comic book; the League is the superheroes, and we are the civilians. There are also invaluable lessons that could be inherited from Thom. My favorite quote by him was imprinted in my mind: “Once in a while, life gives you a chance to measure your worth. Sometimes you're called upon to make a split-second decision to do the right thing, defining which way your life will go. These are the decisions that make you who you are.”
After I read this book, I lent it to several of my friends to read, and although they were glued to it the same way I was, they didn’t quite connect to it as well. And even then I didn’t know why I loved it so much; I was too oblivious to the reality of Thom’s impact on me. It wasn’t until two years later that I realized why my brother gave it to me. I think he knew that Thom would affect me, and once I delved into high school, all of my insecurities appeared within a snap of a finger. Everything became so confusing. What did I like? Who could/would/should I love? Where did I belong? These were all questions that led to secrets I could never tell the most important people in my life to, even today. While the real me is muddled in fog, one thing is clear: this novel was the hammer that cracked my shell and introduced me to the hero I’d come to resemble.