The Hero

Publisher: Yearling
Nobody would believe Dennis Leeper was a hero. He was the kind of kid you hid from when he pedaled his rickety bike down the road. But Jamie couldn’t say no when his father asked him to include Dennis in the raft project. And someone needed to hold the line when Jamie and his cousin Jerry finally got the raft in the river. But they should have known that Dennis couldn’t be trusted to hold onto it.

Without paddles and out of people’s sight, the three boys are swept downstream—toward the dams, the steep falls, and three separate destinies. One swims to shore. One is rescued. And one never returns alive.

Overcome by guilt and the fear that Dennis’s father will take revenge for his son’s death, Jamie tells everyone how he survived: Dennis was a hero. The question is: Will anyone believe it?

From the Hardcover edition.


At the time, I had no way of knowing all that my plan would set in motion.

The problem was, I was behind in my weeding. And tired of it, too. So, leaning on my hoe, cursing the heat, looking at the river, and wishing the raft was finished so I could float away from this boring garden, I'd come up with a plan. A...
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“Woods divides his tale neatly in two, and each is fraught with palpable suspense . . . raising this tragedy to a higher order of moral complexity.”—The Bulletin

“[A] page-turning drama. The author deftly handles a convincing adventure with emotional depth and tenderness toward his characters. There’s lots of substance here.”—School Library Journal

From the Trade Paperback edition.