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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book
I really loved Heroic by Phil Earle. Like the author's two previous books, Being Billy and Saving Daisy, I found Heroic to be a hugely emotional experience as I really fell in love with the characters and their relationships with each other. I love the strong ties of brotherhood throughout the book from men fighting in a war, between friends and the relationship between...
Published 11 months ago by Michelle Cardozo

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good storyline but text tricky
BOught this for my son who was really keen on it but it turns out the text is too difficult to read, he is dyslexic - the spacing is not as good as it looks from the "look inside". I now have a book which can't be read, sad as it was a very interesting story :(
Published 6 months ago by Katy Campbell


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book, 29 April 2013
By 
Michelle Cardozo (Wokingham, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Heroic (Paperback)
I really loved Heroic by Phil Earle. Like the author's two previous books, Being Billy and Saving Daisy, I found Heroic to be a hugely emotional experience as I really fell in love with the characters and their relationships with each other. I love the strong ties of brotherhood throughout the book from men fighting in a war, between friends and the relationship between actual brothers, Sonny and Jammy.

Heroic focuses on these two brothers, Sonny and Jammy during the months that Jamm is serving in Afghanistan. We get to see both perspectives of Jammy at war, struggling with the heat and missing home. We witness him trying to keep an eye out for Tommo, his childhood friend who joined up at the same time as him and we see him trying to make a connection with one of locals. This part of the story was both interesting and sad, seeing how Jammy thought of home but didn't quite know what to say to them either so that they wouldn't worry. His experiences in Afghanistan involved some really difficult stuff but I was super glad that nothing about what Jamm or his family goes through ever felt over-dramatised.

Back at home we have Sonny and his mom waiting it out and what it's like for Sonny and everyone else back at home doing their best not to worry, to remain upbeat when talking to Jammy even if they're worried sick. Wondering if that'll be the last time they speak together. It's heartbreaking, both situations.

Sonny and Jammy are part of this group of boys living on this estate that have each other's back and I loved the banter and the loyalty between them all. They're definitely no angels, as the book starts off with them all robbing a van of cigarettes and alcohol to sell on for profit, but I just loved the lot of them. Especially Sonny. He's the younger brother, always sort of in the shadow of responsible and level-headed Jammy. And Sonny isn't much like Jammy. He does dumb things and gets caught out for them all the time, but his heart is in the right place. He tries his best to hold things together while Jammy's away and then also when Jamm does come home and Jamm comes back a very different person.

They are some quite obvious acts of bravery that occur in Heroic involving Jamm in the war and it brought tears to my eyes when we finally do learn of what Jamm goes through just before coming home. But what I really noticed while reading this book were the other smaller and more mundane acts of courage that take place all the time. There's the courage of facing the grind day after day, in being the ones left behind or picking up the pieces. There's heroism in sacrifice and in asking for help, in working hard to make things better for those we love, in dreaming for more in life.

I thought Heroic was a really beautiful book. I was surprised by how much I felt for both Sonny and Jamm and their family and friends while reading. I knew that it was unlikely that everything could end happily, but I wanted that for all of them. The last hundred pages or so really had me on edge as everything comes to this dramatic head and things hang in the balance. It is tense stuff and it only works because of how wonderfully these characters are presented and because of how tangible their feelings are and how strong their relationships with each other are.

This is a book that really sucked me in right from the start and put my heart through the wringer. I really very highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gut-wrenching and heart-breaking - brilliant!, 6 May 2013
By 
Shazjera (Bournemouth) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Heroic (Paperback)
There's a poem at the beginning, `The Brothers' by Michael Wagg. When I first read it I thought it was something really special and when we get to the acknowledgements at the end, we find out just how special.

Sonny and Jamm's story is told in distinctly different voices. We spend time with Sonny on the Ghost (estate) and with Jamm from the moment he's touching down in Afghanistan. At the point where we leave each brother, we're left with a cliffhanger, not knowing how it's going to work out.

On the Ghost, we have the stereotypes you would expect with crews like the `Cuda' and we learn from Sonny the commandments Jamm made that keep them safe ... and which he doesn't follow exactly. We have poignant scenes with hearses being driven along the High Street for the returning soliders ...

In Afghanistan we arrive with Jamm and best mate Tommy at the Forward Operating Base and spend time on the hot, draining streets and buildings where the estate rules mean nothing.

In both places, I felt as if I was actually there with them. Earle's writing is so evocative, it engages the senses and you feel the fear and adrenaline alongside our two brothers in their different environments. You feel the community and belonging alongside the loss and distress. I love the way Earle `shows' us in a few words a depth of feeling.

When Jamm comes home on leave his experiences have scarred him. Sonny is the only one who can see there's something wrong. It doesn't take long for the action to begin and I couldn't predict what would happen. I have to say that the ending was just perfect!

Heroic is a gut-wrenching and heart-breaking novel. It is sensitively written with the underpinning values of family and community - and the lengths those that are closest to you will go to protect you.

Even though I loved Earle's first two novels, Heroic is even better!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read, 20 April 2013
This review is from: Heroic (Paperback)
A third exceptional book from Phil Earle. Great writing, engaging characters and a well told story. Highly recommended for all ages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent page-turner, 20 April 2013
This review is from: Heroic (Paperback)
Another page-turner from the excellent Phil Earle. In this gripping tale of friendship, Earle switches the action brilliantly between war-torn Afghanistan and a crime-ridden council estate, without ever being patronising or indulgent. The characters are well-drawn and believable, captured, as ever, with warmth and humour, and the thrilling plot is full of suspense. What a cracking film Heroic would make! I'm looking forward to what's next from this deservedly award-winning author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good teen read, 25 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Heroic (Kindle Edition)
Brings home the hardships of war, life, love and family through the eyes of two brothers. A book that you won't easily forget.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-stop excitement, 3 Jun 2013
This review is from: Heroic (Kindle Edition)
A wonderfully - terrifyingly - realistic story of danger and fellowship. The narrative voices of the two brothers who tell the story are utterly compelling. The action - which switches from a tough estate in the north-east of England to Helmand Province, Afghanistan and back again - is constantly gripping. Phil Earle's gift for dialogue is striking: the book is alive with voices of the characters, their banter, jokes, arguments and, above all, their attempts to say what is in their hearts. They make a tremendously exciting story a very moving one too. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb read......, 22 April 2013
This review is from: Heroic (Paperback)
Well done Phil Earle. Another cracking read. Quite different to the first 2 books but for me the best yet. Looking forward to whatever comes next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars all the way, 21 April 2013
This review is from: Heroic (Paperback)
A fantastic novel: a prize-winner if ever there was one. Phil came to our school to talk about "Billy" and "Daisy" and he's coming back in May to talk about "Heroic", which I think is his best yet: very humane and sensitively-drawn, very tender and very pacy. Really good stuff: I read a lot of YA fiction, and this is as good as it gets.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 20 April 2013
This review is from: Heroic (Paperback)
Another fantastic book from Phil Earle. He writes with such detail, energy and humour and has single-handedly turned my non-reading teenage niece into a reader. A really important talent in the world of young adult fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful author - obligatory reading for everyone, 18 April 2013
This review is from: Heroic (Paperback)
As a parent and teacher of teenagers, I shouted for joy after reading Phil Earle's first book, Being Billy. It thoroughly deserved to be on Waterstone's 2012 teen fiction shortlist. His second book was equally devoured in my household. But Heroic has to be his best yet. Earle's writing is sensitive, funny, poignant and exciting. Heroic, the story of brothers Jammy and Sonny McGann is finely crafted and contains some wonderful characters. Earle's work is perfect for teenagers, both at home and in the classroom - a teacher friend of mine in Australia had her class of students with challenging behaviour clamouring perhaps too loudly for Saving Daisy after they had read Being Billy! But perhaps the best thing about Heroic and Earle's two other books is that you don't need to be, live or work with teenagers to enjoy them, If you do, you'll probably do what I do: creep into their bomb site of a bedroom and "borrow" these books while they're not looking.
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Heroic
Heroic by Phil Earle (Paperback - 25 April 2013)
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