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We Can Be Heroes

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Kyrie McCauley, author of If These Wings Could Fly, delivers a powerful contemporary YA novel about a trio of girls fighting for each other in the aftermath of a school shooting and the lasting bonds of friendship. Perfect for fans of Laura Ruby and Mindy McGinnis. “Welcome to Bell, proud home of Bell Firearms for two hundred years, and where five months ago, the teen heir Kyrie McCauley, author of If These Wings Could Fly, delivers a powerful contemporary YA novel about a trio of girls fighting for each other in the aftermath of a school shooting and the lasting bonds of friendship. Perfect for fans of Laura Ruby and Mindy McGinnis. “Welcome to Bell, proud home of Bell Firearms for two hundred years, and where five months ago, the teen heir to the Bell fortune took his father’s guns to school and killed his ex-girlfriend, Cassandra Queen.” —WE CAN BE HEROES PODCAST Beck and Vivian never could stand each other, but they always tried their best for their mutual friend, Cassie. After the town moves on from Cassie’s murder too fast, Beck and Vivian finally find common ground: vengeance. They memorialize Cassie by secretly painting murals of her around town, a message to the world that Cassie won’t be forgotten. But Beck and Vivian are keeping secrets, like the third passenger riding in Beck’s VW bus with them—Cassie’s ghost. When their murals catch the attention of a podcaster covering Cassie’s case, they become the catalyst for a debate that Bell Firearms can no longer ignore. With law enforcement closing in on them, Beck and Vivian hurry to give Cassie the closure she needs—by delivering justice to those responsible for her death.


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Kyrie McCauley, author of If These Wings Could Fly, delivers a powerful contemporary YA novel about a trio of girls fighting for each other in the aftermath of a school shooting and the lasting bonds of friendship. Perfect for fans of Laura Ruby and Mindy McGinnis. “Welcome to Bell, proud home of Bell Firearms for two hundred years, and where five months ago, the teen heir Kyrie McCauley, author of If These Wings Could Fly, delivers a powerful contemporary YA novel about a trio of girls fighting for each other in the aftermath of a school shooting and the lasting bonds of friendship. Perfect for fans of Laura Ruby and Mindy McGinnis. “Welcome to Bell, proud home of Bell Firearms for two hundred years, and where five months ago, the teen heir to the Bell fortune took his father’s guns to school and killed his ex-girlfriend, Cassandra Queen.” —WE CAN BE HEROES PODCAST Beck and Vivian never could stand each other, but they always tried their best for their mutual friend, Cassie. After the town moves on from Cassie’s murder too fast, Beck and Vivian finally find common ground: vengeance. They memorialize Cassie by secretly painting murals of her around town, a message to the world that Cassie won’t be forgotten. But Beck and Vivian are keeping secrets, like the third passenger riding in Beck’s VW bus with them—Cassie’s ghost. When their murals catch the attention of a podcaster covering Cassie’s case, they become the catalyst for a debate that Bell Firearms can no longer ignore. With law enforcement closing in on them, Beck and Vivian hurry to give Cassie the closure she needs—by delivering justice to those responsible for her death.

30 review for We Can Be Heroes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eva B.

    I won an ARC of this book through a Goodreads giveaway, and this in no way impacts my opinions on the book. WE COULD BE HEROES is by far one of the best YA contemporaries that I've read. Split into four perspectives (Beck and Vivian in prose, Cassie in verse, and Merit Logan's podcast in script format), it tells the aftermath of the murder of Cassie Queen, a teenage girl shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend Nico Bell, heir to the Bell Firearms company. It covers gun violence, domestic abuse, and o I won an ARC of this book through a Goodreads giveaway, and this in no way impacts my opinions on the book. WE COULD BE HEROES is by far one of the best YA contemporaries that I've read. Split into four perspectives (Beck and Vivian in prose, Cassie in verse, and Merit Logan's podcast in script format), it tells the aftermath of the murder of Cassie Queen, a teenage girl shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend Nico Bell, heir to the Bell Firearms company. It covers gun violence, domestic abuse, and other relevant issues with a deft hand and carefully crafted manner. It never felt like characters or positions were being strawmanned, mainly because most of it rang very true to the real-life responses to school shootings, gun violence, and domestic abuse cases. It also never felt like it was leaning too much into a blanket "guns always bad" message, which I sometimes see pro-gun-control stuff and it also never felt preachy. My one complaint is that sometimes Beck and Vivian didn't feel too distinct as characters, mainly since the formatting was split up so much, and Vivian in particular felt like she could have been fleshed out a bit more.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Holly | The Caffeinated Reader

    Full review to come, but wow. Just wow. This book. I fully recommend. tw: gun violence, death, domestic violence, mentions of child neglect, mentions or sexual assault.

  3. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    Beck and Vivian never could stand each other, but they always tried their best for their mutual friend, Cassie. After the town moves on from Cassie’s murder too fast, Beck and Vivian finally find common ground: vengeance. They memorialize Cassie by secretly painting murals of her around town, a message to the world that Cassie won’t be forgotten. But Beck and Vivian are keeping secrets, like the third passenger riding in Beck’s VW bus with them—Cassie’s ghost. Female friendship, ghosts, venge Beck and Vivian never could stand each other, but they always tried their best for their mutual friend, Cassie. After the town moves on from Cassie’s murder too fast, Beck and Vivian finally find common ground: vengeance. They memorialize Cassie by secretly painting murals of her around town, a message to the world that Cassie won’t be forgotten. But Beck and Vivian are keeping secrets, like the third passenger riding in Beck’s VW bus with them—Cassie’s ghost. Female friendship, ghosts, vengeance and it's pitched as "perfect for fans of Laura Ruby and Mindy McGinnis" Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  4. 4 out of 5

    sarah

    ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ. READ IT.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: gun violence & school shooting, mentioned alcoholism in parents, mentioned child neglect, domestic abuse, mentioned fatal car accident, lung cancer, PTSD, mentioned statutory rape 4.6 Cassie, Beck, and Vivian have been best friends for what feels like forever, inseparable since they were children. But when Cassie is murdered by her ex-boyfriend, the other two girls find themselves on opposite ends of an endless canyon. Cassie was the only thing holding them I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: gun violence & school shooting, mentioned alcoholism in parents, mentioned child neglect, domestic abuse, mentioned fatal car accident, lung cancer, PTSD, mentioned statutory rape 4.6 Cassie, Beck, and Vivian have been best friends for what feels like forever, inseparable since they were children. But when Cassie is murdered by her ex-boyfriend, the other two girls find themselves on opposite ends of an endless canyon. Cassie was the only thing holding them together- and when they accidentally find their way back to each other, somehow they find Cassie too. Blessed with the miracle of Cassie back, ghost as she might be, they decide they need revenge. And the only way to get that revenge is to get the whole world watching. "If the hero dies, they call it a tragedy, but when the heroine dies, it's called a romance." This story is so beautiful, and heavy, and tragic. There is something so delicate in this story, yet with a bite underneath. It's like angry crying, release when there's nothing you can do but let go and howl. I don't know how McCauley manages to balance so much heft and righteous anger with the soft story of sisterhood, grief, and refinding your self after drowning, but she nails it exactly. Honestly, the writing in this book is phenomenal. All of Cassie's sections are written in verse, as light and ethereal as Cassie herself is in her inbetween state. But that careful, poetic writing is present in all places in this book, in quieter ways. Each of these characters have their own personalities, views, and voices, and but that undercurrent of beauty is always there. The characters themselves are great. I love the conversation they have with each other throughout, learning about them from each other. They take up different amounts of space, and each fit together in different ways, but they still work so well on the page. My favorite was, by far, Beck, who wishes for aliens and loves her grandfather and her old truck, but every one of them felt like real characters and were impossible not to love. Through these different characters, and because they're each given enough depth, you get to see all different reactions to grief and trauma, which is so, so important. It's also done incredibly well. All of these reactions are valid, whether or not they wind up being taken to a healthy place, and McCauley definitely approached this whole subject in a respectively and patient way. The story with only the elements mentioned so far would have been fantastic, but what made it excellent were the additional layers. The revenge sparked centers around murals, and each of these murals reimagines Cassie, and others like her, as figures in Greek Mythology. I loved the way they chose these figures and the way they rewrote them, getting to see those ideas side by side with what Cassie had gone through. The whole idea of forcing the narrative away from the expected- letting the women stay behind the scenes, or written off- is powerful, and cathartic. The other element was the podcast itself. I thought the addition of having a podcast talking about the events, and other events that were adjacent to the main story, added so much layer to the greater implications and greater world, as well as painting a real picture of what a place like Bell would be like. And, finally, the abuse, while hard at times to read, is amazingly well written. This is the kind of book I could see someone really getting an important education out of that they may one day need. The way red flags are laid out, the education in how to get help, the very real way that Nick acts and the way he progresses his power over her, is going to make an impact in the real world. It's all handled so well, and so truthfully, I can only thank McCauley. "Collige Virgo Rosas. Gather, girl, the roses, while you still can." This is a book of friendship, tragedy, justice, and female voices being raised, and it's one of the most important books you can pick up this year.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    This was a super quick and emotional read! I really enjoyed it, but it is definitely dealing with the really heavy topic of gun-violence/intimate-partner-violence and there are not a ton of lighter moments to make that easier. Honestly I'm glad this was as short as it was because it would have been too much for me to read much more about a topic like this without levity. It does have a bright ending though! I liked the characters, especially Beck, and the way they worked together to deal with the This was a super quick and emotional read! I really enjoyed it, but it is definitely dealing with the really heavy topic of gun-violence/intimate-partner-violence and there are not a ton of lighter moments to make that easier. Honestly I'm glad this was as short as it was because it would have been too much for me to read much more about a topic like this without levity. It does have a bright ending though! I liked the characters, especially Beck, and the way they worked together to deal with their grief and the problems in their hometown. Good book! Content Warnings Graphic: Gun violence and Domestic abuse Moderate: Violence, Sexual violence, Mass/school shootings, Cancer, and Alcoholism Minor: Car accident

  7. 4 out of 5

    Louisa

    This was such a great read, but oh, did it enrage me, the violence against women, the gun rights, urgh, it's so unfair that these characters (and people in real life) have to deal with this! This was such a great read, but oh, did it enrage me, the violence against women, the gun rights, urgh, it's so unfair that these characters (and people in real life) have to deal with this!

  8. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) We Can Be Heroes is a book I finished in a few days I was so absorbed. I became possessed by Beck and Vivian's rage. By the way that the system failed Cassie. This multiple POV story sheds light on the ways on some of society's failings. The ways that money greases palms and can have disastrous consequences. We Can Be Heroes not only presents a story about justice and friendship, (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) We Can Be Heroes is a book I finished in a few days I was so absorbed. I became possessed by Beck and Vivian's rage. By the way that the system failed Cassie. This multiple POV story sheds light on the ways on some of society's failings. The ways that money greases palms and can have disastrous consequences. We Can Be Heroes not only presents a story about justice and friendship, it also questions who exactly is protected by the laws. I was so emotional reading We Can Be Heroes. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel 007

    WOW.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I think (know!) it's a new favorite. The ending took my breath away. I fell completely in love with the characters. Especially--perhaps completely unsurprisingly--with Beck and all her wild. The friendship between the three girls is beautiful, and this novel tackle such important topics (gun control, misogyny, power structures, etc) in a way that feels so personal to the characters, and thus to the readers. Cassie as a literal ghost is such an excellent choice and I love how Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I think (know!) it's a new favorite. The ending took my breath away. I fell completely in love with the characters. Especially--perhaps completely unsurprisingly--with Beck and all her wild. The friendship between the three girls is beautiful, and this novel tackle such important topics (gun control, misogyny, power structures, etc) in a way that feels so personal to the characters, and thus to the readers. Cassie as a literal ghost is such an excellent choice and I love how it allows her to have a voice and agency in a way she wouldn't otherwise. The murals and the imagery introduced throughout the book are stunning as well. McCauley's prose is just knock-out beautiful. A gorgeous, painful, important book. I suspect it will move the world in the way it moved me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Cox

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review* We Can Be Heroes follows the stories of Cassie, Beck, and Vivian, a group of friends living in the town of Bell, which is known for the company Bell Firearms. They are inseparable until one day, Cassie is killed in a school shooting, murdered by her ex-boyfriend, the heir to Bell Firearms. In the aftermath, Beck and Viv drift apart, each dealing with the loss and trauma in their own way - until, that is, they are brought back toget *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review* We Can Be Heroes follows the stories of Cassie, Beck, and Vivian, a group of friends living in the town of Bell, which is known for the company Bell Firearms. They are inseparable until one day, Cassie is killed in a school shooting, murdered by her ex-boyfriend, the heir to Bell Firearms. In the aftermath, Beck and Viv drift apart, each dealing with the loss and trauma in their own way - until, that is, they are brought back together by Cassie's ghost, stuck on Earth with unfinished business. Brought back together by her ghost, Beck and Viv set out on a mission of vengeance, to get justice for Cassie by bringing the world's attention to what happened to her, and how an entire town failed to help before it was too late. They do this through painting murals throughout town, depicting Cassie as various Women from Greek Myths; relating the tragedy of what happened to her to the tragedies of the women in these myths - Cassandra, Medusa, Helen of Troy, Ariadne - and then posting them on social media. "But I think maybe, to be a girl in this world, sometimes you have to burn. Sometimes it's how we light the way". This is an emotionally heavy book that deals with many important topics, from gun violence and school shootings to domestic violence. It is set out in four very distinct voices - Cassie the ghost, who is almost poetic in the way she speaks; a podcast covering the story of what happened to Cassie, hosted by Merit Logan; and the POV's of both Beck and Vivian. Through these different voices, we get an in depth view of what happened to Cassie Queen leading up to that fateful day, and how those who were supposed to protect her, ended up failing her. The entire book is tragic, haunting, and beautiful to read. You can feel the anger from Beck and Vivian in their chapters and, as the story continues, you find yourself feeling the same anger they are. You want to scream at those who failed Cassie, and this is a testament to the writing of McCauley, that she can drag you so thoroughly into their story. But alongside the anger and grief, there is another feeling of sisterhood, of what you will do for those you love and how you show up for them, even when they're haunting you from beyond the grave. This story shows the beautiful bonds of friendship and love, and how these can never be broken, even in the most heartbreaking of circumstances. Overall, while this book does handle important and devastating topics like gun violence and domestic violence, it is a story about the strength of girls and how we can write our own stories. How we can be our own heroes. "You already know it is possible for three girls to be at the center of their own stories - to be at the center of everything. You already know that we can be heroes".

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an eARC copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. I was a little unsure with this book at first. The writing didn’t catch my attention right off the bat, and I shelved it and read something else before coming back to pick it up. I am so glad I did. There’s so much greatness in this one. It tackles hard issues, but I thought the author handled them with grace and poetic dignity. With such a difficult topic as gun violence—and suicide, domestic vi Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an eARC copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. I was a little unsure with this book at first. The writing didn’t catch my attention right off the bat, and I shelved it and read something else before coming back to pick it up. I am so glad I did. There’s so much greatness in this one. It tackles hard issues, but I thought the author handled them with grace and poetic dignity. With such a difficult topic as gun violence—and suicide, domestic violence, and even police corruption—I was impressed. The dynamics of the three friends—and my goodness, the words written from Cassie’s POV especially—made me cry more often than not. The chapters are all really short and propel the reader through the story at a great pace. Highly recommend.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    I got chills so many times reading this book I can’t even describe it

  14. 4 out of 5

    Giselle

    This book was absolutely amazing. Please read it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    I am officially a Kyrie McCauley fangirl. This is just so damn good! I had been listening to her debut novel as a reread while I read this follow-up book and it's clear this author is unbelievably talented and passionate and writes such well-rounded, lifelike characters dealing with issues that are incredibly important and worthy of being read. It's also clear the author may have a bit of an agenda when it comes to domestic violence and gun control and policing and for that she deserves all the I am officially a Kyrie McCauley fangirl. This is just so damn good! I had been listening to her debut novel as a reread while I read this follow-up book and it's clear this author is unbelievably talented and passionate and writes such well-rounded, lifelike characters dealing with issues that are incredibly important and worthy of being read. It's also clear the author may have a bit of an agenda when it comes to domestic violence and gun control and policing and for that she deserves all the applause. This second book really digs deep into these topics in a huge rage-inducing way. I loved it all so much and can't gush enough. I'm already eagerly anticipating the book to be released into the world so I can see the drawings of the murals and gush about it more with others.

  16. 4 out of 5

    vri

    probably one of the most touching and important books ive read, we can be heroes is unafraid of shouting out loud for things that matter. 10/10 would recommend!!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    DeAnne

    *I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This book was a very emotionally hard read, but also such an important one. There were so many conversations happening in this book that are happening today, but also still need to happen regarding subjects such as gun violence, domestic abuse, grief, victim blaming and more (trigger warnings for all of these subjects). The story begins in the wake of a school shooting where a jilted abusive ex-boyfriend had entered the school *I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This book was a very emotionally hard read, but also such an important one. There were so many conversations happening in this book that are happening today, but also still need to happen regarding subjects such as gun violence, domestic abuse, grief, victim blaming and more (trigger warnings for all of these subjects). The story begins in the wake of a school shooting where a jilted abusive ex-boyfriend had entered the school and murdered his ex and then also killed himself. The community at large, which is a community built on guns (the largest employer being the shooter's family, which manufacturers the very firearms he used), has essentially forgotten the victim and thinks of the shooter as a "good kid who made a bad decision." Cassie's friends are trying to pick up the pieces of their own lives (one of them also having been shot by the shooter) when they discover that Cassie herself is haunting them - so they decide that they must have vengeance, or at least hold those who were in some ways just as responsible for Cassie's death as her ex, accountable. I really enjoyed the fact that not only do we get Beck and Vivian's perspectives (Cassie's friends), but also a perspective from Cassie that slowly reveals some of the things that happened in the past, and the perspective of a podcast that is covering all the events happening surrounding Cassie's death once things kick into motion. This book goes deep into the subjects I mentioned as well as nuances we often see in the media surrounding these types of events (such as those in positions of authority not wanting to follow protocol because they don't want to damage the accused' future). It also really shows the journey of Beck and Vivian as they try to process their grief and find a way to live without Cassie. The way McCauley wove this book and brought all the different threads together was done so well and I believe this books contains an important conversation that needs to keep being had.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chaela

    * Thanks to NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. * We Can Be Heroes is one of the best books I have read this year, hands down. It was beautifully written and emotional and everything I would want from a book with this premise. This story follows the aftermath of a school shooting where Cassie Queen's abusive ex-boyfriend entered her high school, murdered her and then killed himself. It takes place in the town of Bell where they only really have two things they're kno * Thanks to NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. * We Can Be Heroes is one of the best books I have read this year, hands down. It was beautifully written and emotional and everything I would want from a book with this premise. This story follows the aftermath of a school shooting where Cassie Queen's abusive ex-boyfriend entered her high school, murdered her and then killed himself. It takes place in the town of Bell where they only really have two things they're known for, Bell Firearms (the biggest employer in the town and owned by the family of the shooter) and an annual sunflower festival held in August. The story is told in alternating perspectives- Cassie's two best friends Beck and Vivian, a woman named Merit Logan running a podcast titled We Can Be Heroes, and Cassie's perspective as a ghost. In this book I really enjoyed the different perspectives, I felt like it helped readers piece things together. While we slowly have past revealed to us we also get to read about the coverage on Cassie's death in the podcast when the media takes notice of Bell. I loved learning about the friendship dynamic between the three girls from each point of view. This books talks about gun violence and domestic abuse in a very graceful yet concise manner. The author didn't sugarcoat things but they also didn't talk about anything in a super graphic manner, which I thought was perfect. I think probably the only thing about this book that I would like to change is for Vivian's character to be explored and developed a little more. I felt like in comparison to Beck we didn't know very much about her other than she was going to go to college and isn't anymore. It's a shame cause I like her character quite a bit but I would've liked to learn more about her. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I think it's an important book for people to read and that it's one that I will definitely reread. 4.5 stars

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paige Green

    Disclaimer: I received this finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: We Can Be Heroes Author: Kyrie McCauley Book Series: Standalone Rating: 5/5 Recommended For...: young adult readers, magical realism, contemporary, murder mystery, thriller Genre: YA Mystery Publication Date: September 7, 2021 Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books Pages: 368 Recommended Age: 16+ (death, violence, gore, Domestic Violence TW) Explanation of CWs: Domestic violence shown. Death is shown and mentione Disclaimer: I received this finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: We Can Be Heroes Author: Kyrie McCauley Book Series: Standalone Rating: 5/5 Recommended For...: young adult readers, magical realism, contemporary, murder mystery, thriller Genre: YA Mystery Publication Date: September 7, 2021 Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books Pages: 368 Recommended Age: 16+ (death, violence, gore, Domestic Violence TW) Explanation of CWs: Domestic violence shown. Death is shown and mentioned. Violence and gore is also shown. Synopsis: “Welcome to Bell, proud home of Bell Firearms for two hundred years, and where five months ago, the teen heir to the Bell fortune took his father’s guns to school and killed his ex-girlfriend, Cassandra Queen.” —WE CAN BE HEROES PODCAST Beck and Vivian never could stand each other, but they always tried their best for their mutual friend, Cassie. After the town moves on from Cassie’s murder too fast, Beck and Vivian finally find common ground: vengeance. They memorialize Cassie by secretly painting murals of her around town, a message to the world that Cassie won’t be forgotten. But Beck and Vivian are keeping secrets, like the third passenger riding in Beck’s VW bus with them—Cassie’s ghost. When their murals catch the attention of a podcaster covering Cassie’s case, they become the catalyst for a debate that Bell Firearms can no longer ignore. With law enforcement closing in on them, Beck and Vivian hurry to give Cassie the closure she needs—by delivering justice to those responsible for her death. Review: For the most part I really liked this book. It had a good hook and I was intrigued from start to finish. I feel like the character development was well done and the pacing was fairly well done as well. However, I did think that the world building lacked a little different and the plot was a little slow to catch on for a bit. Verdict: It was good!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    This is a wonderfully heartbreaking book that shows what the true power of friendship can really do! Vivian and Beck have lost their best friend in a gun shooting, but this not your typical case of a school gun shooting. Cassie was killed by her boyfriend Nico and Nico also managed to shoot Vivian in the leg destroying her dream of going to college. Beck and Vivian are furious that more was not done to help their best friend who has been the light of their lives in their awkward yet beautiful fr This is a wonderfully heartbreaking book that shows what the true power of friendship can really do! Vivian and Beck have lost their best friend in a gun shooting, but this not your typical case of a school gun shooting. Cassie was killed by her boyfriend Nico and Nico also managed to shoot Vivian in the leg destroying her dream of going to college. Beck and Vivian are furious that more was not done to help their best friend who has been the light of their lives in their awkward yet beautiful friendship triangle. Even though Beck and Vivian haven't always seen eye to eye, their love for Cassie is no question and their ready to give their best friend the justice she deserves! This is one of those cases where more could have been done, but it wasn't due to Nico's father having a successful gun manufacturing company. A lot of people have let Cassie's case of domestic violence slip through the cracks and her best friends are not the only ones who are angry and seeking justice. A podcast is also ready to interview anyone they are able to related to Cassie's case and they aren't afraid to dish out the right questions to uncover some nasty truths. This book is so powerful in many ways on the issues it highlights and the character's that refuse to go down without a fight. The friendship in this book was so beautifully told and I felt it made the story so much more heartbreaking and refreshing to see these girls come together. Also, a big shout out to Beck's grandfather who always stayed by Beck's side until his very final breath. Get ready because this book will break your heart and piece it back together.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Caitie

    This is such an important book. In the small town of Bell, the Bell family owns a gun company (manufacturing and selling of firearms) in which the entire town is essentially built around. One day, Nico Bell, the son of Bell Guns owner, brings a gun to school and shoots and kills his former girlfriend Cassie Queen before killing himself. In the aftermath, the town literally does nothing to prevent something like this from happening again. Bell Guns doesn't get fined and the sheriff doesn't seem t This is such an important book. In the small town of Bell, the Bell family owns a gun company (manufacturing and selling of firearms) in which the entire town is essentially built around. One day, Nico Bell, the son of Bell Guns owner, brings a gun to school and shoots and kills his former girlfriend Cassie Queen before killing himself. In the aftermath, the town literally does nothing to prevent something like this from happening again. Bell Guns doesn't get fined and the sheriff doesn't seem to care about the impact of such a traumatic event because the company runs the town and everyone is afraid of potential fallout. The only people that actually do care are Cassie's friends Vivian and Beck. In response to the tragedy, the two girls begin to create murals around town and post them on social media in order to gather attention for the fact that Nico Bell--and therefore Bell Guns as a whole--needs to hold some (if not all) responsibility for what happened. Because, as it turns out, Cassie was the victim of dating violence, something that has become all to common. No one did anything to help Cassie because Steve Bell (Nico's dad) literally runs the entire town and wanted to sweep the fact that his son was violent under the rug. Highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a hard hitting contemporary with a message!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris G.

    Nico’s obsessive, manipulative romance with Cassie came apart in the spring of senior year, so he brought a gun to school and shot her, her best friend Vivian, and himself. Now Cassie and Nico are dead, Vivian’s leg wound has canceled her track scholarship, and Beck is riven with guilt that she skipped class that day. Nico was the son of Steven Bell, (after whose family the town is named,) and who is the owner of Bell firearms, which exerts control over every aspect of their small town. Cassie lo Nico’s obsessive, manipulative romance with Cassie came apart in the spring of senior year, so he brought a gun to school and shot her, her best friend Vivian, and himself. Now Cassie and Nico are dead, Vivian’s leg wound has canceled her track scholarship, and Beck is riven with guilt that she skipped class that day. Nico was the son of Steven Bell, (after whose family the town is named,) and who is the owner of Bell firearms, which exerts control over every aspect of their small town. Cassie loved the theater, so Beck and Vivian create murals all over town of women characters who were attacked or victimized by men or by communities in Cassie’s honor. Putting them up on social media,attracts the attention of Merit Logan, who takes up Cassies’s case on her podcast, upping the anxiety of powerful men in Bell. Told in the narrative voices of Cassie and Vivian, on podcast transcripts, and in Cassie’s poetry as she returns as a ghost to encourage Beck and Vivian to find some justice and closure, this is a powerful look at violence against women and what can be done to combat complacency and complicity. EARC from Edelweiss.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)

    4.5 stars Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for an advanced copy of We Can Be Heroes to review! Honestly, I was hooked by the cover for this one. It just looks stunning. I am happy to say that the story inside does this gorgeous cover justice! This story is told by three narrators, Beck, Vivian, and Cassie, with snippets of the podcast between each of their chapters. Between the three of them, we can piece together what happened to Cassie and what sparked the debate about gun violence in their 4.5 stars Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for an advanced copy of We Can Be Heroes to review! Honestly, I was hooked by the cover for this one. It just looks stunning. I am happy to say that the story inside does this gorgeous cover justice! This story is told by three narrators, Beck, Vivian, and Cassie, with snippets of the podcast between each of their chapters. Between the three of them, we can piece together what happened to Cassie and what sparked the debate about gun violence in their town. What I appreciated about this book was that we weren’t made to actually live through the school shooting itself. We get the gist of what happens, and that’s enough for the story. I also appreciated the fact that this book draws a correlation between domestic abuse and gun violence. It also points out the fact that teen girls that come forward about domestic abuse often aren’t taken seriously because they’re teenagers. They’re told “it’s just a phase” or that it isn’t that serious because they’re young. However, abuse signs can be seen early and can often be just as deadly (as we can see in Cassie’s case). The only reason this isn’t getting a full five stars is because I could see through the mystery aspect just a bit. However, I think if the right cast is selected, this could be a phenomenal audiobook with the podcast angle. So if you’re an audiobook listener, definitely keep an eye out for that! All in all, I think this book was really well done and sheds light on a topic that definitely needs to be talked about more. From the characters to the message, this is definitely one that you’ll want on your radar.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pages For Thoughts

    We Can Be Heroes is a powerful, relevant story that illuminates how the rich and powerful can take control of the system. It establishes a clear link between domestic violence and gun control. McCauley paints a picture (no pun intended) of all the signs that were missed leading up to the murder and what should have been done when the abuse started. The police continued to cover up her cries for help because they couldn't let domestic violence be tied to Steven Bell. His father witnessed the abus We Can Be Heroes is a powerful, relevant story that illuminates how the rich and powerful can take control of the system. It establishes a clear link between domestic violence and gun control. McCauley paints a picture (no pun intended) of all the signs that were missed leading up to the murder and what should have been done when the abuse started. The police continued to cover up her cries for help because they couldn't let domestic violence be tied to Steven Bell. His father witnessed the abuse, heard the threats, and still left extremely powerful guns within his son's reach. Having Cassie present as a ghost was a skillful part on the author. Rather than chapters simply explaining what happened in the past, the author created sections for Cassie's poetry, reflecting on her life and relationship with him. Even though she is technically dead, she does have her own character development of growing courage and strength through the activism of Beck and Vivian. We Can Be Heroes embraces the title; anyone can use their voice, art, or writing to make a difference in the world.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    Clearly this was a weekend for books with hard topics that left me wrecked. I don't think I've ever read a book that tackled so many hard issues at once. Gun control, the power of money (especially when it comes to guns), dating violence in teens, grief and loss, and cancer are all subjects of focus in this book. Mainly gun control and the power of money but the other topics are just as hard to read about. Told in a mix of podcast interviews, verse and prose, we learn about Cassie, Vivian and Be Clearly this was a weekend for books with hard topics that left me wrecked. I don't think I've ever read a book that tackled so many hard issues at once. Gun control, the power of money (especially when it comes to guns), dating violence in teens, grief and loss, and cancer are all subjects of focus in this book. Mainly gun control and the power of money but the other topics are just as hard to read about. Told in a mix of podcast interviews, verse and prose, we learn about Cassie, Vivian and Beck as Vivian and Beck try to heal and make sense after the death of their friend. I love how this book did not shy away from any topic and how, through her characters, the author was not afraid to call shit out. I also really liked the paranormal aspect to the story. There was one part of the book that sort of did not fit for me and that had to do with the host of the podcast which is the only reason I gave the book four stars instead of five. Definitely pick this one up. I'm off to find something light and fluffy to read now because phew.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ava Budavari

    This is the first young adult book I've read that actually acknowledges the direct link between gun violence and domestic violence. What has been an incredibly common thread amongst these mass shootings in the United States is that almost all of the shooters are white and male, and many have a history of domestic violence, yet many were also able to easily and legally access firearms. This author validates the fears that I and so many other gen Z'ers have grown up with, of getting murdered in sc This is the first young adult book I've read that actually acknowledges the direct link between gun violence and domestic violence. What has been an incredibly common thread amongst these mass shootings in the United States is that almost all of the shooters are white and male, and many have a history of domestic violence, yet many were also able to easily and legally access firearms. This author validates the fears that I and so many other gen Z'ers have grown up with, of getting murdered in school, and of the adults around us valuing property over human life. The way that McCauley discusses how the legal system betrays domestic violence victims and survivors is so painfully accurate and infuriating. The bafflement and the pain and the way that it ripples as a result of this epidemic are captured so poignantly in this novel. The power of female friendship, of the special bond that girls can have with one another, of when survivors stick together had me weeping. Please read this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Wow! I literally finished this in one amazing sitting. First, TW: gun violence, domestic abuse, school shooting, suicide This book was incredible. A scream for the power of women and girls and how since the beginning they have been heroes and earth shakers as much as any man. This is an ode to the need for gun reform, for stricter gun laws, for laws that protect women from domestic violence. It’s a heartbreaking but inspiring story of a small town thrown into a gun debate after the murder and su Wow! I literally finished this in one amazing sitting. First, TW: gun violence, domestic abuse, school shooting, suicide This book was incredible. A scream for the power of women and girls and how since the beginning they have been heroes and earth shakers as much as any man. This is an ode to the need for gun reform, for stricter gun laws, for laws that protect women from domestic violence. It’s a heartbreaking but inspiring story of a small town thrown into a gun debate after the murder and suicide of two of its teenagers. This is also a deeply poignant story of grief and anger. An important and extremely well done story that will resonate with all teens who are currently living this very same scenario every day.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex Richards

    I loved this book so much. McCauley seamlessly weaves together 3 distinct POVs, as well as a podcast, which together tell a heartbreaking (and all too common) story of domestic abuse and gun violence. Each character is so distinct -- filled with rage, innocence, compassion, drive, love. Not only do we care about these girls on individual levels, but the the story itself -- and what they are seeking justice for -- is so incredibly important and unfolds so beautifully. Sad, poignant and full of ho I loved this book so much. McCauley seamlessly weaves together 3 distinct POVs, as well as a podcast, which together tell a heartbreaking (and all too common) story of domestic abuse and gun violence. Each character is so distinct -- filled with rage, innocence, compassion, drive, love. Not only do we care about these girls on individual levels, but the the story itself -- and what they are seeking justice for -- is so incredibly important and unfolds so beautifully. Sad, poignant and full of hope, WE CAN BE HEROES emphasizes some of America's most tragic and overlooked problems in a haunting, lyrical way. Necessary reading for teens and adults alike.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jolee Arnn

    "Now I only want stories where girls are the heroes, and our fates are neither written in the stars nor held in the palm of a man's hand but are entirely our own." -Cassie Oh my goodness this book was so amazing!! I recieved my pre-order copy yesterday evening and finished this evening! Kyrie McCauley is officially one of my new favorites both of the books she has released so far have been fantastic and impossible to put down! Like her first novel "If These Wings Could Fly" it was a very heavy bu "Now I only want stories where girls are the heroes, and our fates are neither written in the stars nor held in the palm of a man's hand but are entirely our own." -Cassie Oh my goodness this book was so amazing!! I recieved my pre-order copy yesterday evening and finished this evening! Kyrie McCauley is officially one of my new favorites both of the books she has released so far have been fantastic and impossible to put down! Like her first novel "If These Wings Could Fly" it was a very heavy but very important read. I am absolutely in love and will be excitedly waiting for her next release!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    This book is one of the most infuriating things I have ever read. Infuriating because it has to exist. Infuriating because (except for the ghost) every single thing that happened could be happening anywhere in this country at any time. School shootings happen. Relationship violence between teenagers happens. People in power ignore these things or pretend they weren't as severe as people made out them out to be. People get angry and threatening if it's ever suggested that maybe they shouldn't hav This book is one of the most infuriating things I have ever read. Infuriating because it has to exist. Infuriating because (except for the ghost) every single thing that happened could be happening anywhere in this country at any time. School shootings happen. Relationship violence between teenagers happens. People in power ignore these things or pretend they weren't as severe as people made out them out to be. People get angry and threatening if it's ever suggested that maybe they shouldn't have an assault rifle. If they're told maybe their child shouldn't have access to a gun. One of the most infuriating books I have ever read, but also one of the most important and beautiful.

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