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Hero-Type by Barry Lyga

Hero-Type (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Barry Lyga

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1741268,238 (3.87)3
Authors:Barry Lyga
Info:Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (2008), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:boy, sixteen, high school, violence, bullying, politics, free speech, freedom, censorship, patriotism, politics, media, news, friends, father, brother, guilt, ethics, stalking, crush, identity

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Hero-Type by Barry Lyga (2008)

  1. 10
    Boy Toy by Barry Lyga (clio11)
  2. 00
    Nothing But The Truth: A Documentary Novel by Avi (Runa)
    Runa: The books similarly deal with issues of blind patriotism without deeper thought, one focusing more about supporting the troops, the other about the pledge of allegiance.

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On the surface, this novel seems quite light in its presentation of Kevin Ross, an extremely awkward and funny protagonist. Yet Lyga engages with some very serious issues, including the nature of heroism, our culture’s expressions of patriotism, and the disconnect we all feel during a time of war. This novel had a deep impact on me when I least expected it. ( )
  nfogerty | Mar 7, 2011 |
Kevin is a hero. He saved a popular girl, Leah, from getting raped and murdered, and if that wasn't good enough, the person he saved her from is a serial killer. So, Kevin went from a fool that tried to not really get noticed to the center of attention. In school, everyone wants to be his friend and sit next to him. He is even given a pretty good deal on a car from the mayor of the town, who also owns the car dealership. Only, Kevin doesn't feel like a hero. Actually, he is keeping a secret that makes him feel worse every time his heroism is brought up. To make matters worse, a local reporter catches him throwing away two magnetic patriotic ribbons off of the back of his car when Kevin's father tells him to. This reporter turns Kevin into a villain. Kevin is all of a sudden everyone's enemy because they believe that he is not patriotic. Instead of coming clean and just saying that his dad made him do it, Kevin takes hold of this new image and brings about a debate about free speech. Not only does Kevin have to deal with this new villain treatment, but he also has to deal with the secret that he is keeping, and his mom wants him to move to California away from his dad.

I usually like Barry Lyga, but I just did not get into this book. There were too many issues that were happening at one time and I don't believe that any of them were written well enough for me to grip onto and struggle through with the main character. Lyga may have shared what was going on, but it was not done in a way that I cared about. I think part of the problem is that I just never really cared about Kevin. I could relate to him from time to time, but he wasn't a character that I liked. The challenges that Kevin goes through in order to find his identity and what is important to him are not gripping. The secret that he struggles with is easy to figure out within a few pages of the story and it probably turns me off to the character as a whole. All in all, I really think that Lyga was trying to do too much with this novel and because of that he barely scratches the surface of each topic making this book shallow and not worth the extended amount of time it took me to read it.

I gave it a 2/5 stars. I finished it and it was written by a great author, but I don't recommend it and I would not read it again. ( )
  Kaydence | Apr 18, 2010 |

"After reading Fanboy and Goth Girl I got curious about Lyga's other books, especially as they're all set at the same high school. Cross-title continuity: a sure sign of a comic geek. There are some references to characters/situations from his other books but it's not necessary to have read them to enjoy this one. In fact, some of the references feel rather forced, as if he's name-dropping for the sake of name-dropping and not because these are things that kids would actually say.

The story itself is fine, though if you don't agree with the politics of the author (by way of the main character) you may not enjoy it. He does a good job of explaining his position well-enough, but Kevin had this tendency to speechify everything, even when he's not giving a speech, and I could see that turning people off.

Something I really appreciated about this book was how the parents seemed more complete; in contrast with my complaints about how we never understand the parents in Fanboy and Goth Girl, the problems of the parents in Hero-Type are the root of the problem and have to be dealt with for the book to have any sort of closure. It's got a nice ending, one that's pretty open but with some hope in it." ( )
  lampbane | Dec 30, 2009 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Kevin Ross, known as Kross to his friends, has been called a hero in his hometown and beyond. But can the seemingly innocent decision to remove a couple of magnetic ribbons from the back of his ugly, brown used car catapult his hero status to that of hated enemy? You bet it can!

Kevin happened to be at the right place at the wrong time for a serial killer called The Surgeon. For potential teen victim and classmate Leah, it was a case of the right place at the right time. Since saving Leah from certain death, Kevin can't look anywhere in town without seeing his name and hers linked on "thank you" signs and congratulations of all kinds. People can't seem to be able to do enough for Kevin, and they watch anxiously as he appears on TV and waits to collect a reward for his heroism.

All this praise and excitement is confusing for Kevin. He has long had a crush on Leah and relishes the attention she is now giving him; however, there are several secrets in Kevin's life that cast a shadow on all this positive attention. One secret is his father's mysterious military history in the Gulf War. Even when Kevin's mother still lived with them, the subject of his father's military service was off limits. The other secret is Kevin's own guilt for some event that actually placed him with Leah in the alley at the time of the killer's attack.

On the day Kevin pulled into the driveway with his new, used car, his father angrily demanded that the "support our troops" ribbons be removed immediately. When Kevin innocently explains that the local car dealer had slapped them on as he drove out of the used car lot, his father still insists they need to go. Unfortunately for Kevin, a news reporter still following the local hero witnesses the removal of the ribbons. This news is interpreted as "un-patriotic" behavior, and it unleashes the fury of a town proud of its patriot values.

As Kevin battles the public, who days before spoke of his heroic deed, he learns more about his parents' divorce, his mother's decision to move to California, and his father's struggles in the Gulf War. Readers can watch as Kevin learns the true meaning of patriotism and the freedoms we all take for granted. His story is especially intriguing in this time of political turmoil and tension.

Author Barry Lyga clearly demonstrates the division that can be created by different interpretations of what it means to support one's patriot beliefs. ( )
1 vote GeniusJen | Oct 11, 2009 |
Kevin Cross is a hero because he saves a girl from almost certain death at the hands of a serial killer, but he doesn't feel like one because he was up to nefarious intent at the time. In the wake of the attention he gets for saving the girl, Leah, he gets negative attention for a number of other actions. And it may in the end be these other less popular actions that really earn him the title of hero. ( )
  alice443 | Aug 31, 2009 |
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Dedicated to Captain Peter G. Madriñan and Major Gregory C. Tine, United States Army, both serving in the Middle East as I write this.

Fine soldiers, better friends.
First words
You know those pictures of fat people?
No one's mother should be a hot lesbian. It should be illegal or something.
What's the point of freedom of speech if everyone says and thinks the same thing anyway?  What's the point of freedom of speech if everyone is forced to say the same thing?  Or afraid to say anything different?
Give us guns and bombs and helicopter support and tell a bunch of kids to make foreign policy work.  Kill people to save people's lives.  Blow things up to build them up.  And what's the result?  Ten years, fifteen years later, we're right back there again, doing it all over again.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547076630, Hardcover)

Everyone is treating Kevin as a hero. He was in the right place and the right time and he saved a girl from being murdered. Only Kevin knows though, why he was able to save her. Things get even more complicated when Kevin is seen removing two patriotic “Support the Troops” ribbons from his car bumper. Now the town that lauded him as a hero turns on him, calling him unpatriotic. Kevin, who hadn't thought much about it up to then, becomes politcially engaged, suddenly questioning what exactly supporting the troops or even saying the pledge of allegiance every day means.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:09 -0400)

Feeling awkward and ugly is only one reason sixteen-year-old Kevin is uncomfortable with the publicity surrounding his act of accidental heroism, but when a reporter photographs him apparently being unpatriotic, he steps into the limelight to encourage people to think about what the symbols of freedom really mean.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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