Heroic acts don’t require supernatural powers. Sure, in the world of fiction, those crime-fighting, justice-seeking individuals with unrealistic abilities are fun to root for. However, being brave enough to fight for what’s right without the armor of additional senses is even cooler. There’s so much more at risk when you go against the grain. Some of the people below are feared, ignored, and even targeted, simply because they speak their minds. But every single one of them should be celebrated for standing out in the crowd.

Here are eight regular humans (fictional folks, but still inspiring) that are better than superheroes. (Including David from Steelheart. And you could win a copy of Steelheart by entering our giveaway below!)

1. Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation

Most people suffer through high school and can’t wait to move as far away from their hometown as possible. Not Leslie Knope of the Parks Department from the great city of Pawnee, Indiana. I’m not sure how much longer Parks and Rec will be on TV, but I’ve already made a plan to have my future daughter watch the entire season as soon as she can sit upright. Leslie is the ultimate role model for women, and really, people everywhere.

You have a dream? You chase it. You never stop chasing it no matter how impossible, no matter how many obstacles are in your way, no matter how long it takes. Leslie Knope is unstoppable. And no matter how the series ends, Leslie Knope is destined to run the world one day – even if it’s just in my imagination.

2. Agent Phil Coulson from The Avengers

As the world faces an army of monsters on air bikes pouring out the sky, The Avengers can’t even put their egos aside to come together in battle. It isn’t until Agent Phil Coulson stands up to the irresistibly evil Loki (Love you, Tom Hiddleston) and is brutally stabbed to death, that this group of misfit superheroes puts their sh** aside and fights together in his honor. His courage is the only reason the Earth is still intact. Thanks, Phil.

3. David from Steelheart

David’s entire existence is centered around fear. When he was young, he witnessed his father’s murder. A superhero, or “Epic” as they are called in this gripping, futuristic story, killed his father right in front him. The new world is overrun with greedy, evil Epics and those without superpowers have to blend in, in order to stay alive. Everyone other than The Reckoners. The Reckoners are a group of regular humans that live in the shadows and take down one Epic at a time in an effort to get the world back to where it once was. They find the one weakness every Epic has, through heavy research and observation, and then they attack when the time is right. David wants in. He is the only one aware of the most powerful Epic’s weakness and he wants revenge. His fight to avenge his father is action-packed, thrilling, and will make you proud to be a regular human without superpowers.

4. Jessica from Twilight

Jessica lives in a world of supernatural beings, with superhero skills. And you know what? She is the breath of fresh air in this franchise. Not the book version of Jessica. The movie version. Rather, the Anna Kendrick version. Anna adds her classic dry wit to every single one of her lines and gives us a break from the unbearable angst throughout the series. Don’t underestimate the power of an advanced sense of humor. It can save your sanity in a world full of vamps and angsty lip-chewing.

5. Olivia Pope from Scandal

Truth be told, I’ve never seen this show. But it doesn’t even take a regular viewer to know that Olivia Pope belongs in this group. Just based on the gifs, the tweets, and the status updates of my friends who do watch this show (and keep telling me I need to watch because I will become addicted instantly. I know, guys!), I’m pretty sure Pope and Associates could handle anything. ANYTHING.

6. John Locke from LOST

There was never anything on TV quite like LOST before it aired, and there hasn’t been anything like it since. I can still feel the chills running down my spine from the first time I saw the episode about Locke’s pre-island life. He didn’t let his wheelchair define him, and it didn’t keep him from signing up for a rigorous Australian walkabout. They didn’t let him on the walkabout, but this knife-throwing, boar-hunting, answer-seeking wild card certainly got the adventure he was looking for once his plane crashed.

Sure, regular humans who can’t walk don’t usually gain that ability after a plane crash, but let’s take Locke’s lead and chalk it up to an island (purgatory?) miracle.

“Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”

7. Kristina Braverman from Parenthood

This mother of three has been through some serious SH**, you guys. She’s not fearless, she’s not tough as nails, but she can make you cry with just an exasperated sigh. Please tell me I’m not alone here. How do you bring me to tears so quickly, Kristina Braverman?! She’s a breast cancer survivor, mother to a special needs child, and she just ran for mayor (SPOILER ALERT) and lost. But she’s real. She’s emotional, she’s kind, and she stands up for what she believes in. She’s a wonderful reminder that crying isn’t a sign of weakness, and set backs are only temporary. This woman is a scrappy fighter in soccer mom attire. Do not underestimate her.

8. Jennifer Lawrence/Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games

I’m not going to make a list of awesome human beings and not include J.Law. It’s just not going to happen. She is a superior being because of her glorious honesty. She’s an Oscar winner, on her way to receiving back to back nominations, and she refuses to diet, she loves Budweiser and the Kardashians, and doesn’t listen to haters. She is 100% comfortable with who she is, warts and all. She owns her insecurities. She wants to inspire her fans. She’s a hero to all of us. Confidence is one of the most powerful weapons at our disposal. And J.Law punches the world in the face with it.

For the sake of continuity, I will include her most beloved role on here too. Because let’s face it, Katniss certainly deserves a spot on this list. She might seem superhero-like, because of her elite archery skills, but she’s just a human girl with years of practice. And not even in recreational shooting. She has spent her entire life honing her survival skills, because life in District 12 is just a tamer, slower version of the arena. She’s terrified of the position she’s in and the position she has put her family in, but that doesn’t stop her from being a courageous badass with a bow.

Giveaway Deets:

In the comments below, answer this: You are perfect, just the way you are. But if you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? Share your answer for a chance to win a free copy of this book!

Only entries from residents of US will be considered.

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