The Art of Hero Worship (Natalie’s Review)

Title: The Art of Hero Worship
Author: Mia Kerick
Buy link: (Second Edition)
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: February 14, 2016
Genre(s): New Adult
Page Count: 181 pages
Reviewed by: Natalie
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Trembling on the floor, pressed beneath a row of seats in a dark theater, college freshman Jason Tripp listens to the terrifying sound of gunshots, as an unknown shooter moves methodically through the theater, randomly murdering men, women, and children attending a student performance of Hamlet. Junior Liam Norcross drapes his massive body on top of Jason, sheltering the younger man from the deathly hail of bullets, risking his life willingly, and maybe even eagerly.

As a result of the shared horror, an extraordinary bond forms between the two young men, which causes discomfort for family and friends, as well as for Jason and Liam, themselves. And added to the challenge of two previously “straight” men falling into a same-sex love, are the complications that arise from the abundance of secrets Liam holds with regard to a past family tragedy. The fledgling passion between the men seems bound to fade away into the darkness from which it emerged.

Jason, however, is inexplicably called to rescue his hero in return, by delving into Liam’s shady past and uncovering the mystery that compels the older man to act as the college town’s selfless savior.

The Art of Hero Worship takes the reader on a voyage from the dark and chilling chaos that accompanies a mass shooting to the thrill of an unexpected and sensual romance.

Wow, where do I begin? First, trigger warning! If you’re unable to deal with a book that covers the subject of a mass shooting in detail, this isn’t for you. I think the synopsis is pretty clear but if you can’t handle that component you won’t be able to get through the first chapter.

I was immediately pulled into the story.

“Pop-pop-pop…” The sound of gunshots.

“Always in sets of three, letting me know where he is.”

Chilling. I felt like I was crouching down beside Jason. You wonder if he’s going to survive, how he’s going to survive.

Others around him are picked off one by one by the lone gunman. He rapidly approaches the area where Jason is hiding, mere steps away and of course, Jason thinks he’s going to die. Not a moment too soon, Liam comes to his rescue.

“I’m gonna push on your back really hard and I want you to squeeze as much of your body underneath the chairs as you can, got it?”

They manage to escape the gunman but it’s not over, it’s far from over.

What can I say about this book? It was fantastic. This was my first Mia Kerick read, and it certainly won’t be my last. We meet two boys who were thrust together due to a tragic event and to cope; they hold on to each other. An odd bond has formed, and they find that even though they can’t explain it, they crave the company of the other man. Strange considering they both identify as straight, but no one understands what they endured. Liam is the strong one, the hero, the one who is able to segue into a sense of regularity after the shooting. Jason is struggling and only when he’s with Liam is he able to forge ahead.


    Mia’s writing style. I adored it!
    The character development. It was awesome!
    The non-issue of their gender. Liam and Jase (Jason) were initially weirded out by their attraction because hey, they liked girls! What was wonderful about the progression of their relationship is their genders didn’t matter. They both found a connection to another human being who understood and accepted them and sexuality wasn’t that big of a deal. I loved this aspect of the story. SO MUCH! I love the GFY trope as much as they next person but this was a very different take on it, for me anyway.

Con: The description of Ginny. Wasn’t clear where Ms. Kerick was going with Ginny’s physical description.

“Her long dreads are tucked up under a black beanie, and her exotic face is flushed…”

Huh? Was Ginny a woman of color? If so, I think the description could’ve gone over better. If not, I think her physical characteristics still could’ve been fleshed out a bit more. Pet peeve of mine when authors describe people as exotic. Focuses too much on otherness, but I digress.

Honestly, that was the only con I had with the entire story. I highly recommend The Art of Hero Worship if you’re looking for a gripping New Adult tale that not only reflects modern times but is likely something different than you’re used to seeing in New Adult reads.

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ARC of The Art of Hero Worship provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.