Dear Hero is a YA superhero chat fiction released by INtense Publications on 28th September 2020. I was contacted by one of the authors and gifted a copy for the purposes of an honest review. The blurb made me swipe right but was the story a perfect match?
About the Book
TWEET CUTE X I HATE EVERYONE BUT YOU
Up-and-coming teen superhero Cortex is on top of the world—at least, until his villain dumps him. If he’s going to save his reputation, he needs a new antagonist, and fast.
Meanwhile, the villainous Vortex has once again gotten a little overeager and taken out a hero prematurely. Will any young hero be able to keep up with her? Maybe she should work on finding a steady relationship with an enemy she won’t kill in the first round.
So the two turn to Meta-Match, a nemesis pairing site for heroes and villains, where they match right away. After throwing punches at each other behind coffee shops, practicing their fight choreography, and hiring henchmen to do their bidding (mostly just getting them coffee), they begin to realize they have a lot more in common than just names that annoyingly rhyme.
But not everything in the superhero world is as it seems. Who are the real heroes and villains? And just how fine of a line is there between love and hate? When darkness from the past threatens them both, Cortex and V may need to work together to make it out alive.
About the authors
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 700 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from HOOKED to Writer’s Digest. Her boarding school drama Blaze, (Illuminate YA) released in June, and the sequel Den released July 2020. She’s a theater nerd, occasional runway model, is way too obsessed with superheroes, and may be caught in a red cloak, fairy wings, or a Belle costume in her downtown, for no reason. Her favourite way to procrastinate is to connect with her readers on social media (@hopebolinger). Check out more about her at hopebolinger.com.
Alyssa Roat grew up in Tucson, Arizona, but her heart is in Great Britain, the inspiration for her YA contemporary fantasy Wraithwood. She is the publicity manager at Mountain Brook Ink, a literary agent at C.Y.L.E., a freelance writer, and an editor with Sherpa Editing Services. She holds a B.S. in professional writing from Taylor University. She has also worked for Illuminate YA Publishing, Little Lamb Books, Zondervan Library, and as the online editor and a staff writer for The Echo News. Over 200 of her works have been featured in various publications, from newspapers, to national magazines, to anthologies. Her name is a pun, which means you can learn more about her at http://www.alyssawrote.com or on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as @alyssawrote.
What I Thought
This book was so much fun and just what I needed. Structured like Tinder and then WhatsApp chats I love how much we grew to know the characters. They even actually meet, we just have them chatting about their meet ups after the fact, rather than “seeing them” live.
I was wondering if the format would sustain for the whole story and I’m pleased to report that it did. More characters are introduced as we move forward and there is lots of witty banter to make this a pacy read.
As well as a meet cute, we have a break up and trying out other partnerships, and I think this says as much about modern dating as it does about superheroes. Are these two meant to be together, and what sort of relationship are they destined for?
If you enjoyed Despicable Me and love superheroes then I’m pretty sure you will enjoy this. There are lots of nods to well known heroes and villains and plenty of brand new characters. I’d definitely swipe right to a follow up read.
If you read this I’d love to find out who your favourite character was and in the meantime tell me your favourite superhero/villain pairing in the comments.
Thanks to Hope for reaching out to me on my blog and for the gifted copy.
Bobby Seed has questions.
What’s another word for ‘thesaurus’? How can I tell Bel I want her as my girl friend, not my girlfriend? How much pain is mum in today? Has she taken her pills? And sometimes, secretly, Why us?
Bobby’s little brother Danny has questions too
Will Bobby let him have Rice Krispies for dinner? Can he stay up late on the computer! And why won’t Mum’s stupid illness just GO AWAY?
But it’s Mum’s question for Bobby that could turn everything on its head.
It’s the Big One. The Unthinkable One. If Bobby agreed, he won’t just be soothing her pain. He’ll be helping to end it.
Brian Conaghan was born and raised in the Scottish town of Coatbridge but now lives in Dublin. He has a Master if Letters in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. For many years Brian worked as a teacher and taught in Scotland, Italy and Ireland. His first YA novel for Bloomsbury, When Mr Dog Bites, was shortlisted for the 2015 Carnegie Medal, and his second, The Bombs That Bought Us Together, won the 2016 Costa Children’s Book Award. We Come Apart, a verse novel co-authored with Carnegie Medal winner Sarah Crossan, won the 2018 UKLA Book Award, and his fourth novel, The Weight of a Thousand Feathers, won the 2018 Irish Book Award for Teen & Young Adult Book of the Year. Now Available in paperback.
What I Thought
This is a fairly difficult review to write because I have quite conflicted thoughts about this book. It looks at a very controversial topic – assisted suicide/euthanasia – so it was always going to be an emotive read.
Bobby’s mum has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This is a condition I am familiar with through my work and so this is perhaps where some of the difficulty I had with the book comes from. It’s like when my dad used to complain about London’s Burning because that wasn’t what real firefighting was like.
It’s not completely inaccurate of course, and everyone experiences MS in different ways, but this seemed like a overly sudden progression.
I really enjoyed the first half of the book. Bobby is 17 and classed as a young carer. His younger brother Danny also has undisclosed special needs so he looks after him too. Bobby’s teacher introduces him to a support group with other young people in the same situation. Much of this part of the book is about the connection he makes with the other people there. It reminds me a little of the group scenes in The Fault in Our Stars for that reason. There is some romance too. It was positive to see LGBT rep that wasn’t the main focus of the story too.
His mum asks a couple of big questions so don’t be fooled when the first isn’t the one indicated in the synopsis. My wish would have been a greater exploration about possible reasons for the first question.
School seems to drop off the radar for Bobby although it is his life outside that is the focus of this book.
My biggest difficulty I think is with how the euthanasia topic is handled and there are some quite shocking discussions and scenes around this. It definitely shows the need for a fuller discussion around this societally because there is a definite acknowledgement that young people should not have to be put in this situation.
And the ending was very abrupt. I don’t know if there are plans for a second book.
I did feel empathy towards Bobby and the scenes with his younger brother Danny were good. I liked their connection.
Personally I think I’m just maybe too close to this particular topic to read it completely as fiction.
Thanks to Ian and Bloomsbury for the gifted copy for the purposes of honest review.
Molly Darling wants life to be as simple as wellies and porridge – this is rural Ireland after all. Instead, Mum’s hiding in the attic; Dad’s run away, leaving only a PowerPoint to explain; her sister has a ham sandwich for a fiancé; there’s a boy and THE silence; her BFF will stop at nothing to go viral; and the chickens are missing. It’s enough to make a girl cantankerous. But she’ll fix it all. Easy, right?
Alvy Carragher grew up in rural Ireland. She has an MA in Writing, as well as a first collection of poems published by Salmon Poetry. A former resident of both Louisiana and South Korea, she is currently holed up in Vancouver where she is tinkering away at a second novel and learning to speak Canadian.
Find her on twitter at @alvycarragher
What I Thought
This is such a fun book, from the very first line you know you are going to be in for something different.
The Molly Darling of the title is an Irish teen who has every right to be cantankerous. She lives on a run down farm, her parents are separated, her mum is throwing herself into her art and her new boyfriend, and neglecting Molly and her sister Polly.
To top it off Molly’s pet chickens have “just disappeared”. The chickens were the only bit of normality in her life, giving her companionship and routine. And they form much more of the plot than you might be expecting. Like Molly, and everyone on social media, you will fall in love with Lady Macbeth the rooster that is at heart a chicken. Will they get their peaceful ever after?
Mum’s new boyfriend happens to be the father of one of the hot boys in school and complicated relationships with boys, friends, enemies and veganism abound. Polly’s imminent wedding brings their absent father back into the mix too!
The rural setting of the farm gives a unique backdrop to daring chicken rescues, activist meetings in a chicken shed and a family farm house with a teetering Great Wall of Books on the stairs. With the addition of viral and doctored social media videos you just know the peace and tranquility is going to be toppled.
Alvy Carragher writes with wit, warmth and humour and this book is just simply a joy to read.
Thanks to Laura and Chicken House Books for my #gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review.
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