Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hero

Lupica, Mike. Hero.  2010. Read by Dan Bittner.  Penguin Audio.
5.5 hours on CD or digital download

(booktalk)

On the day that Zach Harriman's dad dies in a plane crash, his life begins to change.  At first, he's not sure what is happening.  He has an intense sixth sense. He feels to compelled to do things but can't explain why. His eyesight has sharpened.  He can't get hurt. 

When he meets "Mr. Herbert" at the remote crash site on Long Island, he discovers the truth. With Tom Harriman's death, Zach has become the world's only hero.  There's no time to think about it.  He's got work to do.

This is sci-fi that reads like contemporary fiction, and although it’s somewhat of a departure from sports for best-selling author, Mike Lupica,  sports fans can rest assured that there are many sport analogies and references within Hero. This is a smartly written book - mixing political intrigue and adventure seamlessly with the school and family life of a wealthy, 14-year-old Manhattanite.

Only one person is listed as narrator, Dan Bittner, but it sounds as if there are two, so distinct are the adult voices from that of Zach Harriman's.  Chapter One opens with the voice of Zach's dad, Tom Harriman.  The listener is immediately enveloped in Tom Harriman's latest "mission,"  witness to his powers, privy to his thoughts. And then, Tom Harriman is gone. The mature voice of Tom Harriman makes the opening of Hero sound like an adult political thriller - a gripping and powerful beginning. Bittner switches effortlessly between the voices of Zach, best friend Kate, Mrs. Harriman, and the many adult males in the story. Although school features prominently in the story and Zach is the target of the school bully (obligatory for those with superpowers, no?), the real action takes place outside of school where Zach must navigate the dangerous adult world of politics, lies and evil.

There's sure to be a sequel and kids will be looking for it!
Listen to an audio excerpt or
Read Chapters 1 and 2



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