Sunday, October 12, 2008
HERO TYPE by Barry Lyga
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 Lead in the alley at the time of the killer's attack.
On the day Kevin pulled in 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.