A World Without Heroes, the first installment of the "Beyonders" series, is not the type of book I usually read, but I'm trying to read more 'boy' books, and I really liked it.
A World Without Heroes is about Jason, an average kid from Colorado who strangely finds himself landing in a strange world called 'Lyrian' after being swallowed by a hippopotamus. Lyrian is nothing like Colorado, and almost seems like a transport back in time. It's not though, and the people of Lyrian (including wizards, 'displacers' - people who can separate parts of their body - and other magical types) are generally unhappy under the rule of their current emperor, Maldor. Maldor also happens to hate "Beyonders," or people from outside of Lyrian. It is said that there is a secret word that can kill Maldor and restore order to the kingdom, but finding this word is quite the undertaking. Jason begins the quest, thinking that eliminating Maldor is his only hope for returning home, to the Beyond. He meets up with another girl who was randomly transported to Lyrian along the way, and their quest is full of twists and turns.
I really liked the idea of the secret "Key Word" and the revelation of the word syllable-by-syllable throughout the quest. It kept me wondering and wanting to read more, even though at sometimes I thought the book got a little boring. The world of Lyrian was really well-imagined, though, and I'm curious to see what happens in the next book!