|We can be heroes
Author: McCauley, Kyrie
After a girl is killed by her ex-boyfriend in a school shooting, her two best friends attempt to memorialize her in a town economically dependent on the shooter's family,
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2021 Gr 10 Up—Five months ago, Nico, the heir to Bell Firearms, took his father's guns to school, killing his ex-girlfriend, Cassie Queen, and himself. Beck and Vivian always had trouble getting along and were only friends because of Cassie. One night, Vivian catches Beck painting a mural based on Greek mythology to bring awareness to Cassie's murder and how it could have been prevented. Vivian decides to help Beck, and together they plan other murals, which causes a stir in town. The girls aren't alone in the quest for vengeance. Cassie's ghost is haunting Beck's van and hoping for justice. A local podcast is also covering the murals and what happened to Cassie. McCauley's latest novel is a well-written and enjoyable read on a controversial topic. Gun control is a significant aspect of this book, as is relationship abuse as readers learn Nico was violent towards Cassie. The book is divided into sections for each of the murals created. Within these, the story includes Beck and Vivian's perspectives written in prose, Cassie's written in verse, and transcripts of different episodes from the podcast. Beck and Vivian's perspectives are distinct, and Cassie's point of view adds an even more powerful layer. The characters' races are never explicitly stated, but Beck is mentioned as having red hair, and Vivian is often referred to as having dark braids. Hair color is the only indicator for other characters as well. VERDICT A worthy purchase for libraries.—Amanda Borgia, Uniondale P.L., NY - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 10/01/2021 Cassandra Queen's death has been called many things: a great tragedy, unavoidable, something nobody could have seen coming. But the truth is, it could have likely been avoided if only Cassie had been believed. But even with bruises on her neck left by Nico Bell, the sheriff and Nico's father (the CEO of Bell Firearms) are worried more about the town's reputation than Cassie's. With a desire for vengeance and justice, Beck and Vivian (both white)—along with the ghost of Cassie, who appears in Beck's van—start painting murals around town. Before long, Merit Logan (white) features them on her podcast, which focuses on the connection between firearms and violence against women. In her sophomore novel, Morris Award winner McCauley (If These Wings Could Fly, 2020) crafts a timely and bold narrative, exploring the emotions from three unique perspectives, punctuated by transcripts of Merit Logan's podcast, We Can Be Heroes. Heartbreaking and hopeful, this story of friendship and fierce loyalty is a sharp and affecting commentary on domestic violence and gun control for modern-day teen readers. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.