I’m all for the hero with the six-pack abs, but I also love the everyman—or the outcast—who defies his pigeon hole and becomes the hero.
1) Lewis Barnavelt: Fat kids rule! Overweight orphan, Lewis—worrywort extraordinaire, bully target, and defeater of necromancers, moves in with his wizard uncle and displays true courage in a series of life-threatening situations chronicled in an eleven-book series by John Bellairs and Brad Strickland. Though Lewis often melts in the face of bullies, he stands up for himself when the end of the world is near and always saves the day with the help of his best friend, Rose Rita. Lewis is the classic every-man, and shows that with courage and conviction, anyone can stop the clock of doom and save the world.
2) Ben Bancroft: from Stoner and Spaz by Ron Koertge. Ok, I’m biased, my daughter has cerebral palsy like Ben, but what I liked about this book was that Ben wasn’t a hero because he was disabled, he was a hero because he finally found a place where he fit in—a difficult journey for anyone, and often harder for someone with a disability. There were no fairytale endings for Ben and Colleen Minou—who yanked Ben out of his shell—but I think that’s what I loved the most—it was realistic and honest. Just seeing Ben put himself out there and find a place where he was accepted makes him a hero in my book.
3) Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers from this hot new book, but Peeta was taking a beating—literally—since an early age, all for the girl he loved. Heartbreakingly enough, his love interest is oblivious, yet leads him for everyone to see on TV. Can’t wait for book two to see what happens. Will the hero get the girl?
4) and 5) Heroes from the Buffy Universe: OK, technically from TV shows—also comics and novels based on the shows–but Angel was the hot, flawed guy doing good and winning the girl. Sigh.
Time after time, he sacrificed his own happiness and made me wish I was Buffy and could hop into bed with him to comfort him. Um, my husband isn’t reading this is he?
Spike: Who doesn’t love a reformed bad boy with a biting sense of humor and cheekbones to die for—literally? I love Angel, but there’s something sooooo tempting about the jerk turned sensitive hero—especially when he’s spouting his dry wit with an English accent. If I had to choose, it’d be Spike I brought home to mom, though I’d probably regret it in the long run. This series had the most bang for the buck as far as heroes are concerned—Zander, Giles, Wesley, Gunn, and Oz—all a-typical heroes who made me swoon.