I don’t remember where I heard about this, but I remember thinking “I don’t read enough books about boy teenagers or gay kids. I should do read this.” And so I did.
Thom Creed is used to being on his own. Even as a high school basketball star, he has to keep his distance because of his father. Hal Creed had once been one of the greatest and most beloved superheroes of The League-until the Wilson Towers incident. After that Thom’s mother disappeared and his proud father became an outcast.
The last thing in the world Thom would ever want is to disappoint his father. So Thom keeps two secrets from him: First is that he’s gay. The second is that he has the power to heal people. Initially, Thom had trouble controlling his powers. But with trail and error he improves, until he gets so good that he catches the attention of the League and is asked to join. Even though he knows it would kill his dad, Thom can’t resist. When he joins the League, he meets a motley crew of other heroes, including tough-talking Scarlett, who has the power of fire from growing up near a nuclear power plant; Typhoid Larry, who makes everyone sick by touching them, but is actually a really sweet guy; and wise Ruth, who has the power to see the future. Together these unlikely heroes become friends and begin to uncover a plot to kill the superheroes. Along the way, Thom falls in love, and discovers the difficult truth about his parents’ past.
I started out digging the book. And then – it lost me. The plot and timeline was a little weird at the beginning, but I was willing to go with it. And since I just saw “Watchmen”, I was into this idea of costumed superheroes and disgraced non-superpowery heroes and (spoiler!) twists where the good guy is the bad guy. I was digging it. But then there were too many names. Ultra boy? Golden boy? It was too much. And the invisible mom, and … it lost me. And I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that this town was cool with random superheroes, and was big enough that they could lose 17k people in a freak supervillian incident, and still thrive – but one gay kid threw them into a tizzy of homophobic rage? The world just wasn’t developed enough for me, I guess.
I did enjoy reading most of it, and would like to see more – but this one just didn’t do it for me.