Not Your Sidekick (Not Your Sidekick #1), by C.B. Lee
Description: (from Interlude Press)
(I feel like the description kinda spoil the book so maybe don’t read it!)
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, whom 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.
This book… THIS BOOK. It had flaws, but you know the saying about loving someone despite their flaws? Well, that’s the case here.
I got it for Christmas and (according to my stats on Goodreads) “read [it] from December 29, 2016 to January 01, 2017”. So that was the first novel I finished reading in 2017 and I’m super glad because it was AWESOME. Like “new fave comfy read” kind of awesome!
I started by talking about its flaws, because it has some. For instance, everything felt too obvious and I guessed almost everything from the start. I usually like to be surprised by stories, I like to be mind-blown and for twists to be thrown at me. But here I really didn’t mind, I mostly was eager to see how those revelations were going to be handled and how the main character was going to react to them. There were also several issues with typos or words that shouldn’t have been there. English is not my first language so from time to time I had to read some sentences three or four times before realising there were words not supposed to be there. I guess they split through the editing process.
Those are the two negative things I can think of right now. And even with those, I gave this book 5/5 on goodreads.
Jess knows the laws about pre-Collective tech are to conserve resources and she agrees that’s incredibly important, but she doesn’t see the point of banning most of the media produced before 2035. Why is Shakespeare allowed but Star Wars isn’t? The Collective banned most of Jess’s favourite films.
There are too many amazing things on this novel to list them all. I loved the main character, Jessica Trans. She really felt like a normal teenager with normal problems -apart from her worries about not having super powers like her parents and the story being set in America in the far future, after some Disasters happened, which led to some people getting powers and resources being now quite scarce. Her mother is Chinese and her father is Vietnamese. So there are talks about her mixed identity and about belonging. Plus, she is bisexual. This is not a coming out story, but her sexual identity is a part of who she is and a part of the story.
She could probably pass for cute if she tried hard enough, and smart, well, she works hard for her grades. She’s developing confidence, but it’s a constant effort. The only time she’s came close to being “known” was when she accidentally came out as bisexual during sophomore English class while talking about her favourite poem.
C.B. Lee also is a bisexual Asian American writer, so this is an #ownvoice novel and the reason why I was interested to read it in the first place.
The friendship with her two best friends, her conversations with her mother, the crush she has on Abby… Everything was so spot on, I had all the emotions ❤ I feel like the romance was the heart of the story. And by the heart I mean that it was what drove Jess and what interested me the most (when they are actual people with super powers on the background)! I also really liked how heroes and villains were perceived and depicted, how everything is not how it first seems.
“He,” Jess corrects. Bells uses he/his pronouns.”
“Oh I didn’t know.” Abby takes a bite of her sandwich.
“It’s okay. I think it’s pretty cooly you thought of using ‘they’ when you didn’t know for sure.”
The family has a little robot that clean the house and it was the cutest, it really felt like a pet! I kept imagining the little noises it makes as the ones BB-8 makes too!
This story felt like the ones you make up before falling asleep. With all the cute and fluffy parts, some hindrances and some piece of fantastical (like robots and super powers), going in adventures with your crush and discovering big schemes… Perfect read for an afternoon in a comfy blanket ❤
The sequel Not Your Villain will focus on a side character from this novel, I am really looking forward to it. I saw it listed as a 2017 release and I hope it is true. I will definitely pre-order it when the release date will be announced!
You might also like: Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn