8Books Review: “We Could Be Heroes” by Mike Chen

Curling up with Mike Chen’s recent novel, We Could Be Heroes, turned out to be the perfect snow day activity. Regardless of whether you were also deluged in snow over the past couple days, reading We Could Be Heroes is a delight. Jamie Sorenson aka The Mind Robber and Zoe Wong aka The Throwing Star are arch rivals who meet in a memory-loss support groups. Jamie has the ability to read and erase other people’s memories. Zoe has super speed and super strength. Follow along as the two become unlikely friends in this page-turning adventure. They may be super-powered, but they’re human and flawed and they have trust issues, just like us — feelings simply yet poignantly captured in Chen’s prose. Throw in some mysterious blue lightning, a secret facility, villains who might be heroes, heroes who might be villains, some witty and not so witty (but nevertheless charming) banter, and voila, you’re sucked in.

I read this in one sitting. Ten months into a global pandemic, We Could Be Heroes is the kind of refreshing book we need. A little escape and a reminder that extraordinary comes in many forms.

I had the three of the four title words as sung in the end credits of Big Hero 6 running through my head when I was done (I don’t know), but you more appropriately should end up with the title’s actual inspiration* in your head instead. And couldn’t we all use a little more David Bowie in our lives?

*This is my umpteenth pitch to always read the Acknowledgements, they are always joyful and heartfelt in ways that will make you smile. And also you will learn things.

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About Lily

East Coast Chinese American. I like thick-skinned dumplings and hard-covered books.
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