Saving Charlie

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Title: Saving Charlie
Creator: Aury Wallington
Date(s): December 26, 2007
Medium: Novel
Fandom: Heroes (TV)
Language: English
External Links: Heroes: Saving Charlie on Amazon US Heroes: Saving Charlie on Goodreads

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Saving Charlie is an official tie-in novel for the US TV show Heroes that was published in 2007, in the gap between the show's second and third seasons (although it relates to the events of the first season). It is the only official tie-in novel that was published for the show, although other tie-in webcomics and graphic novels were also published.

The novel revolves around an event in the show's tenth episode in which Hiro Nakamura accidentally travels too far into the past in an attempt to save the life of Charlie Andrews, a waitress who is killed by Sylar, one of the series' main antagonists. It extends the time that Hiro spends in the past as he searches for a way to avoid her death and travels back and forth in time, searching for clues, and further develops his relationship with Charlie. It also develops Hiro's character and backstory beyond what had been covered by the show up to that point.

Wikipedia states that the novel "was made with the full cooperation of the show's creators, although its canonicity in relation to the television series has not yet been established."[1] However, it is likely that the book is not considered canon as the events of the show's fourth season provided a different resolution for Hiro and Charlie's love story.

Fan reactions to the novel were mixed; while some enjoyed it as an expansion on the show, others found Hiro's characterisation to be wildly OOC and the novel as a whole to be disappointing. In particular, although the book's synopsis implies that the events of the novel might alter Charlie's fate, the ending complies with the show's first season, making it seem rather anti-climactic and inevitable.

Despite its status as an official tie-in novel, many consider Saving Charlie to essentially be published fanfiction - which can be good or bad depending on your perspective.


Hiro Nakamura possesses the remarkable power to control time. And like his uniquely blessed comrades, he’s on a mission for the good of humankind. But another challenge awaits him: saving the love of his life from an unspeakable death. Charlene “Charlie” Andrews is the big-hearted, small-town beauty whose sunny smile and sweet soul knocked the shy Hiro head over heels. But when Charlie’s young life is snuffed out by a grisly serial killer, their budding romance is brutally cut short.

Or is it? Thanks to his astounding newfound skill, Hiro has the means to do what no tragedy-stricken lover in history ever could–turn back time. And no matter how raw his abilities, or how many twists of circumstance conspire to foil him, he vows to deliver Charlie from the evil poised to claim her. He will be her hero.

But what possible consequences might changing the past visit upon the future? How could saving one cherished life affect millions of others? And what ultimate choice will Hiro make when the power of fate rests in his hands?[2]

Fan Reviews & Responses

Positive Responses

I was always a fan of the Hiro/Charlie storyline and was wondering what the hell went on during his disappearance during that time. The book brought it together nicely. The only thing I didn't particularly care for was the author had them have sex at one point in time. I just couldn't see Hiro or Charlie doing that. Great book none the less. Pick it up.[3]

Do you remember the 1st novel you ever read? Mine was this book. After reading a lot of fanfics i decided i wanted to become a "book person". And i definitely dont regret picking this book as my 1st. I could relate to hiro so much since i was obsessing over manga and anime characters too. And as for Charlie, she's such a charming girl. Your typical "loved by the whole town" girl yeah; but you still cant help but like her with her sarcastic and witty comments.

And let's not talk about the plot twists. My god.. The plot twists are what made me enjoy this book so much, the kind that you would never predict. And finally, the ending was so realistic and so beautifully written i had to stop for a minute after i was done with this book because the moral of this story hit me so so hard.[4]

This book is a 260 page long SQUEE. For real. Hilariously awesome. It is impossible to put the book down and NOT be smiling, which is impressive considering (a) we all know how it ends and (b) uh, the ending isn't the greatest. But as we learn during the course of the book, while life may not be a fairy tale, and the endings are almost never happy, it's the middle that counts. Also, I'm sure the author got a kick out of writing the scene in which Kaito is vaguely annoyed by Hiro's Star Trek posters. Because George Takei is made of awesome in any form.

Random note: the author also wrote a couple of episodes of Veronica Mars in S1. AWESOME.

That's three uses of the word awesome, people. It's a fun read.[5]

The book works as a story between episodes. Some reviewers may complain that the book doesn't provide any new information about Hiro, but keep in mind that the book and show are produced by different writers, and if the book writers introduced new information it would conflict with upcoming television shows.

One thing I like most about this book is that "Saving Charlie" shines with back story of Hiro as a kid. It provides a background of the powerful business of The Nakamura family. I enjoyed the scene of Hiro's first crush on his big sister's best friend. Hiro has major insecurities with girls and fails to live up to the expectations of his father.

The entertainment value of this book is high. The author Aury Wallington writes with the witty dialog of the NBC hit Heroes. It's a nice read wile waiting for the DVD of season 2 and the premiere of season 3 Villains in September. The only thing missing is a hook for the non Heroes fan. If you have never seen the show I doubt you would like this book. I read this as a fan and I'm very happy to have it in my collection.[6]

After reading several reviews by readers dissatisfied with this book, I admit I agree with a lot of their gripes, but overall I can't deny how much I enjoyed reading this book. It was a pleasure to come back to over the couple of weeks I spent reading it a bit at a time. Really, I think half of the problems stem from people looking for a canon insight into the Hiro/Charlie story, when this book is more like a novel-length fanfic. It's just one author's take on the characters and what might have gone on in the bits we didn't see. I don't know how many of the people who picked up this book were experienced fanfiction readers, which might also be a factor. As someone who reads a LOT of fanfiction, I'm used to authors' takes on characters I like not always matching up to what I have in my head, and I can overlook a few flaws in favour of a good read.


I approve of tamajinn's idea that Charlie should have gone with Hiro and Ando to prevent the oncoming nuclear explosion - it would have been a bold direction for the author to take the story in and full of exciting possibilities. Instead, what we got was a rather cop-out attempt to slot this story back in with the canon version when really, if we were satisfied with the canon version of things, we never would have picked the book up in the first place.

To summarise, the book is good on the romance side of things but low on action and adventure as well as lacking a truly satisfying plot. I wouldn't call it the definitive story of Hiro and Charlie, just one of many versions.[7]

I couldn't put this down - I read it over a couple of days. Although not the best written book ever - in fact sometimes it becomes downright cheesy - Heroes: Saving Charlie is a great read to help fill the gap until the new series of Heroes arrives.

It does give an insight into Hiro's life before he discovered his powers - and expands on the relationship he had as a boy and as a teenager with his father and his sister, without getting too melancholy or gritty.

It is written with sufficient pace to keep the reader interested, and I could visualise the situations as I read them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you are a fan of the TV Series, you can't go far wrong.[8]

I loved this book, we learn a lot about Hiro and his past and the relationships he holds with his family. It defines Hiro more than the Series manages to capture him and gives him a real warmth. It focuses on Hiro trying to save Charlie as the title says, but turns into much more when a romance blossoms. The book deals with the erratic nature of Hiro's powers and the ability (or lack thereof) to control it. He goes through a journey of self learning and discovery as he gets closer and closer to charlie. A very emotional book with fantastic character development. At times the writing is a tad cheesey but easily forgiven because of the general Epicness of the book in general. I would recommend this to anyone, fan of heroes or not, although watching the series would help to understand certain points. It may not be as much action as the series has but it doesn't need the action. But it does have some very thrilling scenes :D[9]

Honestly I had low expectations for this book. I am a huge Heroes fan but didn't expect this part of the extended storyline to be interesting at all, this part of the overall story was only in one episode and was very brief. I was pleasantly surprised by this story as it was interesting and kept with the baseline of the main story. Mind you this isn't literature, but it was an entertaining read. Fans will like the treatment of Hero in this and frankly it helps to explain some inconsistencies elsewhere in the first series. The day after I finished reading it I had to watch Season I all over again.

I would suggest getting a used copy if you are a casual fan - you'll throw it away when you are done. As for the hard core folks, this fills in some nice little gaps and will be treasured. The cover art, font composition and other aesthetic points of the book itself were nice. Pages were thin but that is common in a trade book. The perfect binding even held up to my normal abuse. If you are a heavy reader like me this book will take just a couple of evenings. If you are obsessive and read Divinci Code in like a day, you'll read this in a few hours.

For the folks who control the story line I would suggest spending some time looking at how Lucas & Star Wars handle the extended universe, lots of cross over and tons of cool story lines - things like this book are exactly what fans want.[10]

It's been said that this is a novel length fanfic and that's truely what it reads like. No, the writing isn't great. No, questions from the show aren't answered. And yet it's quite enjoyable. It's a fun easy read about two of my favorite characters (Hiro and Charlie) from the show.

Basically, don't expect anything great from this book. Just expect a light, cheesy romance with a slight sci fi bent.[11]

I am a huge fan of the Heroes TV show so when I stumbled across this book I was beyond excited. While it doesn't come close to capturing the magic of the show it was still a good read. Even someone unfamiliar with the characters or the plot could read this and follow along. I liked getting to know more about Charlie who was in the show for such a limited amount of time. Hiro was the same Hiro although I didn't always think the author did his character justice. All of that being said the end of this book did make me tear up and I did enjoy reading it. It wasn't the best book ever written but for fans of the show it was a quick peek into another timeline of the series and worth a read.[12]

Critical Responses

The character Hiro in this story was nothing like the character from the television series. This version of Hiro came off as constantly whiny. If I wasn't a fan of the show I probably wouldn't have continued reading this story. :( [13]

I am a huge Heroes fan, and I've been dying to know the details of the Hiro/Charlie story. Even though it was only a tiny part of the series, I really loved the character and wanted to know what could possibly have happened to cause Hiro to not save Charlie. Did all the jumping forward and backward in time mess up the time line? Did saving Charlie lead to some worse result later on? Would we have a Sylar/Hiro confrontation? Unfortunately, the novel gives us nothing, and that nothing occurs in the last few moments of the book. We don't even get to see what happens in the final timeline where Hiro and Ando walk into the diner that Hiro has been working at for all those missing months. Instead, all we get is page after page of a Hiro that bares little resemblance that the Hiro we've come to love. I did find some of the Hiro/Charlie romance charming, and the book did have a nods to the fans. But ultimately, it reads more like a short fanfic expanded to book length instead of a story that could have actually been part of the show.[14]

A case of trying to hard coupled with mediocre writing, this book really didn't do it for me. The author even somehow managed to turn the single most lovable character in Heroes into an annoying, emotional, even whiny unlikable loser. I get that Hiro isn't perfect and that he's kinda been a disappointment to his father and all, but many times did they have to get into his utter lack of ever even managing to kiss a girl? Or, the need to bash us over the head with his extremely exaggerated emotional swings? (Since when is Hiro manic?)

I just didn't enjoy it. I don't generally read books based on existing properties, but I thought it'd be a light, fun read. I mean, how could it go wrong? Hiro is just so gosh darn likable on the show. But this book didn't read like him at all. Clearly, the author didn't understand the character and that came through as you felt, reading the book, you didn't either.[15]

I love Heroes. I watch it religiously, I'll buy as many graphic novel compilations as they care to publish in hard copy, and I enjoy discussing the show's finer plot points with fellow fans. So, when I heard a novel was being published about Hiro's mission to save Charlie, I jumped at the chance to have my questions answered about a somewhat unsatisfying subplot. I was excited to immerse myself even more deeply into the unfolding Heroes universe. I assumed the powers-that-be would be careful in their handling of this process. Of course a supremely gifted author would be chosen to steward the storyline of a wildly popular series.

I was wrong. I suspected I'd be made to endure something less than excellent when I read the line, "Hiro peacocked in front of the men's bathroom mirror, bringing sexy back." This was barely into the beginning of chapter 1. I pressed on, however, reasoning that among the ridiculous nods to pop culture idiocy of the last two to three years there would be a minuscule nugget of enlightenment, some small treasure of explanation that would make even Charlie's having "dropped it like it was hot" worth the read. Wrong again.

This novel barely adds meaning to the story of Hiro and Charlie, and some passages even read like a terrible romance novel. I agree with other reviewers in that this is like fanfic--really bad fanfic. Save your money to buy the graphic novels or the shortened season 2.[16]

Written by Aury Wallington, who I gather was a script editor on 'Sex and the City', I have to say I find the whole tone of the book a bit dubious. It's very much written as a 'goofy rom-com for young teenagers' and I have to say I find a lot of the tropes and attitudes in it somewhere between embarrassingly twee if not irritatingly ignorant (and filling young readers heads with daft ideas). Probably avoid unless you're a die-hard Heroes fan or like tacky US girlie comicbook rom-com.[17]

This book starts off really good but the story just falls away in the second half of the book and you feel short changed by the end of it. I may be doing the author an injustice here but in my opinion it seems to have been hastily written. I suspect the reason for this, as is the case with most TV tie ins, is that the book was rushed out to cash in on the shows popularity when a better story could have been produced if the author was given longer to write it. Still, I think fans may want to read this one as it does have some good moments and compliments the show quite well.[18]

At least this as an interesting approach to a TV tie-in novel; instead of more exciting adventures with the characters from the series it’s a character piece based on it, a romance with superpowers. That choice is the best thing about the book though. What this story could have been is a tragic, doomed romance which, knowing the ending, breaks your heart. What it ends up being is a quick shallow sprint through what should have been a tender relationship. Hiro’s reduced from the lovable onscreen geek to a sketch of a geek, a pop culture obsessed virgin who can’t talk to a girl. And Charlie is a caricature of a smalltown girl. There’s no depth or impact to the tragedies of her life, they’re just things that have happened to her, from the death of her parents to her own death. The moments that should have sung, moments like Hiro using his powers for romantic purposes and a late reciprocation by her just occur with no visible impact. There’s no attempt to play up the culture clash between Texas and Tokyo never a moment where you can marvel at how strange it really is. And this is all wrapped in perfunctory prose which often seems to struggling to his a page count. Perhaps if this had been an episode the actors could have lifted it – the material’s certainly there for them to play the audience’s heartstrings like a violin – but what’s here feels better material for the screen than the page.[19]

It is a rare thing, for me to set a book down and give up on it. This is an exception. I made it about 35 pages into it before the writing style made me want to gouge my eyes out with a spork. The writing style and narrative quality of this novel were akin to that of a teenager writing slash in an online forum. Using So. Cal. valley-girl colloquialisms, I felt that Hiro and charlie's story was being told to me by a middle-school girl on too much caffeine.

As much as I liked this particular subplot in the show, I could not get into this book. For those who could, I hope you enjoyed it, and I applaud you.[20]

Aury Wallington's writing is so beyond mediocre it isn't even suitable for a Hallmark card. He could have done so much more with the story, especially in such a colorful world portrayed in the show. Now, I LOVE Heroes as a show, but this book was like reading a bad fan fic. I felt like I was reading something one of my nerdy friends would have written when I was 14, except they were better writers. The language used was a terrible attempt at being hip, the story was trite and uninteresting, and the book itself was incredibly immature. He made Hiro's character BEYOND pathetic. On the show Hiro is a nerd, yes, and at times he is socially retarded and incredibly awkward, but never pathetic. The only reason I gave it one star is because this site doesn't allow you to give a book half a star. I want $24 and 10 hours of my life back.[21]


  1. ^ Heroes: Saving Charlie on Wikipedia. (Archived snapshot) Accessed May 20, 2019.
  2. ^ Saving Charlie (A Heroes Novel): summary from Accessed May 20, 2019.
  3. ^ Great book., review on Published December 20, 2010 (Acessed May 20, 2019).
  4. ^ Review by Donia, Goodreads. Published July 15, 2017 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  5. ^ Review by Meg, Goodreads. Published December 22, 2007 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  6. ^ cool book of a Great Show, review on Published July 9, 2008 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  7. ^ An Enjoyable Novel-Length Fanfic, review on Published July 1, 2012 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  8. ^ Heroes: Saving Charlie, review on Published June 27, 2008 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  9. ^ Amazing, review on Published October 22, 2008 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  10. ^ Hero is my Hero, review on Published January 12, 2009 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  11. ^ Fluffy fanfiction, review on Published July 11, 2012 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  12. ^ Review by Loran (Algonquiins), Goodreads. Published September 13, 2014 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  13. ^ The character Hiro in this story was nothing like the character from the television series, review on Published March 29, 2015 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  14. ^ Didn't answer any questions, review on Published January 12, 2008 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  15. ^ Not the Hiro I came to love in the TV show, review on Published June 12, 2015 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  16. ^ Forget Charlie; Save Your Money , review on Published March 30, 2008 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  17. ^ dubious, review on Published August 8, 2017 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  18. ^ A little disappointing, review on Published January 19, 2009 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  19. ^ Review by Jon Arnold, Goodreads. Published July 7, 2015 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  20. ^ Review by Aj, Goodreads. Published April 5, 2011 (Accessed May 20, 2019).
  21. ^ Review by Lisa, Goodreads. Published October 26, 2008 (Accessed May 20, 2019).