WE COULD BE HEROES, by Margaret Finnegan , Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Feb. 25, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
A pair of friends bite off more than they can chew in Margaret Finnegan’s We Could Be Heroes.
School is hard for Hank. Especially when it comes to listening the terribly sad book his teacher keeps reading to his class. When Hank decides to take matters into his own hands and destroy the book, he ends up with a week’s suspension. He also catches the attention of new girl Maisie Huang, who thinks Hank might just be friend material.
Maisie has been on the lookout for a someone brave enough to help her with an important secret mission — saving her neighbor’s dog, Booler. Booler spends all his time outside, which such a bad thing when you’re a dog. The problem is, Booler has seizures, and his owner keeps Booler tied to the tree 24/7 to keep the dog “safe.”
Hank knows what it’s like to be different. He’s got autism and has had his fair share of poor encounters. He feels for Booler, and wants everyone to know that different isn’t a bad thing. But things aren’t always as they seem, and Booler might not be the only one who needs saving.
We Could Be Heroes is the story of an unlikely friendship that makes perfect sense. Author Margaret Finnegan’s daughter has autism and epilepsy. This personal experience lends an air of authenticity that rings true throughout.
While Maisie is vibrant and strong, it’s Hank that really stole my heart. His quiet introspective nature has an innocence that’s refreshing and compelling. He’s making his way through this world with an incomplete social map that most of us have. He is heartbreaking and frustrating and lovely — hands down one of my favorite recent middle-grade characters.
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