17 May 2008


What a week! I've been reading Hero by Perry Moore, and though I've loved it, I've also been deeply frustrated by its shallowness. Yes, I know it's a comic book in text, but I'd like more than just moving from set-piece to set-piece with the emotions running blatantly across the top. I keep wondering how someone like, say, Paul Magrs would have dealt with the idea... Not that I'm not enjoying Hero, not at all. It could just have been more. The author is really someone more at home with the movie world than the teen / YA book one, so it's not surprising that the book reads like a film - and one is apparently in the early stages of production. Which in turn makes me wonder which young actor will be brave enough to play Thom! Anyway, Hero is different, interesting and fairly racy - definitely not for younger readers, but great for older teens interested in either heroic stereotypes or gay protagonists.

Perry Moore's website is fascinating - perrymoorestories.com - and he says that he had the idea for Hero after making a list of all the gay superheroes who had met appalling fates in their Marvel / DC / etc. worlds (WHO CARES ABOUT THE DEATH OF A GAY SUPERHERO ANYWAY?: A HISTORY OF GAYS IN COMIC BOOKS). His site has a list - one that I found quite eye-opening. I mean, did I expect the comic world to be more liberal? Yes! I suspect that my exposure to less mainstream comics and manga had made me sanguine about the genre's openness. Oh well. Wrong again.


The other teen book part of my week was attending the launch of Just Henry - Michelle Magorian was there in person, and she read from the book, wonderfully. She was pretty wonderful herself, and I had a lovely evening. I took a 13 year old fan with me, and MM was delightful to him. He came along as he'd read my proof copy of the book, pouncing on it as soon he saw it was about movies, which are his passion. He loved the book too, so was able to enthuse muchly to MM, which I hope pleased her. A thoroughly good evening all round.


Anonymous said...

I got a proof of Just Henry and loved it! (took me a few days to actually get round to reading it.... it was as big a book as hp5 and therefore a bit of a weight to lug round on the bus to work).
My grandad keeps bugging me to borrow it as he loved Goodnight Mr Tom but the thought of the postage keeps putting me off sending it!

I asked my manager to buy a copy of both the ultimate first book guide and a copy of the ultimate teen book guide for staff use (I work in a bookshop). Everyone is loving reading them on their breaks and as well as re-discovering books they loved as children, seem to be more confident in recommending books to parents.

Just really wanted to say thanks very much for such an informative book and I can't wait until the 8-12 book is published!

Leonie said...

What a great comment! Thank you so much, it really is heartening to know that the UBGs are being used and useful and valued! And now I'm curious, which bookshop do you work at?

There is a 2004 edition of the 8-12 guide around, and the updated one will be out next year, in February.

As for 'Just Henry' - isn't it great? Not quite 'Goodnight Mr Tom' but definitely the best book she's written since!

Anonymous said...

I work for Borders. Thanks for letting me know about the 2004 ed., (probably should have checked myself... oops ;)) I'll try to order in the 8-12 one as I'm sure it will be gobbled up just as fast!