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(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

In The Hero, young Dale O. Fither (his name is an anagram for "life or death") is at first shocked and then ultimately dismayed by the discovery that he has the ability to foresee life-threatening incidents, especially those involving children. Acting on his visions, Dale rescues several children from imminent death, thereby earning for himself the reputation of a hero. But the same psychic gift serves to alienate Dale from others, including his domineering and aloof father, his passive mother, and his school friends at St. Asaph's, where his father is headmaster. Dale is sent at last to a secretive institution for other young psychics, presided over by the brilliant but sinister Dr. Airman, who intends to use their talents to further his own megalomaniacal ambitions. In unraveling and finally revealing Dr. Airman's designs, Dale simultaneously strives to come to terms with the burdensome label of "hero" which has been thrust upon him.