Book Review

REVIEW: Not Your Sidekick

January 28, 2020
Not Your Sidekick Book Cover
Not Your Sidekick Sidekick Squad Young Adult Science Fiction Duet Books Paperback 283 pages

Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

My Thoughts:

I first came across this book last year on twitter recommended by C.W. of The Quiet Pond who talked about the strong Chinese character as a lead. Then I read somewhere else that it had a trans character and I was definitely sold! I really enjoyed the perspective of a main character who was mixed race that didn’t include white. The complexity of her being Chinese /Vietnamese was interesting to read and definitely breaks the “all Asia is the same” stereotype.

I really enjoyed the queer rep in this story, like Jess being confidently Bisexual and not thinking she might be confused or anything like that. Bels as a trans guy was so well done, with no real misgendering and him being treated as male so matter of factly. It is only through mentions of binders and preferred pronouns that you are able to put together that he is trans.

The superhero plot is very interesting and I really enjoyed the world this was all built around. I am a sucker for a good book that evaluates what is good and evil, who is right and wrong. This book definitely is a good examination of that. I also enjoyed that it seemed more on the lower end of the Young Adult age range with it at times feeling borderline Middle Grade. One of the twists was fairly obvious but it was fun watching Jess flail around trying to figure it out.

Overall a fun book with cute queer characters and an examination of what is right and wrong, and who gets to have a say in that.

I give Not Your Sidekick:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee was published 8 September 2016 by Duet Books. You can purchase your own copy at Mighty Ape, Whitcoulls, Booktopia, or wherever you like to purchase books.

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  • Reply littlemissstar55 January 28, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    I still need to pick this one up. It’s been on my wish list/to get list for a while, but I haven’t got there yet. It has been bumped up because of your review, though!
    I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. 💜

  • Reply Sue - doddyaboutbooks February 23, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    Yay, I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I need to pick up the next in the series.

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