Review: Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee // Queer superhero stories are my aesthetic

not your sidekick by cb lee

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.

Author: C.B. Lee

Publisher: Duet Books

Published: September 8th 2016

Sidekick Squad #1

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My Review 4

Disclaimer; I apologize in advance for the lack of coherency in this review. Feelings were everywhere.

If you follow me on Goodreads, I was very… passionate about this book. You could tell by the way I was spamming updates every 3 pages while reading. I wanted something cute and sweet and I don’t think the smile on my face left. I love this book to pieces.

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Jessica Tran is having a few issues: she’s forgettable, hopelessly crushing on her classmate Abby and doesn’t have superpowers. Which is bad when her parents and older sister are superheros and her younger brother is a genius. But it’s fine; she just got an paid internship with said crush and things are going well. Until she discovers a secret that could shake the superhero/villain world.

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The pacing in the beginning was a bit slow; the book was only thirteen chapters and I read it in an hour, but the start felt lengthy. However, that didn’t last very long, Jess got her internship and that’s when my smile turned wide and permanent. 

I don’t know if it’s the book covers or the world building, but this book highly reminded me of The Incredibles. A certain plot device as well as the villain who did hero stuff but was bad at it? The nostalgia was strong in this one.

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The diversity of the cast was so amazing. The Vietnamese/Asian rep, the multiple scenes where pronouns were asked of and being queer wasn’t out of the norm and everything was great. I can’t choose who my favorite character was: Jess (who is my Bi. icon because it’s so relatable)? Abby? Bells (who is black and transexual!!!)? I genuinely can’t make up my mind. Jess was so awkward and relatable and seeing her around Abby had me squealing out loud because it was so awkward and cute and I love them together, okay?

But then again, Bells and Emma (who is Hispanic) were also a great supporting cast. The support. The friendship. Just… everythingIt’s also hinted at in future books that’s she’s aro/ace? SO NOW I NEED THE REST OF THE SERIES ASAP.

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I did guess a few twist, specifically who some mystery characters real identities were, but it was fine. Yeah, some were meant to be more obvious than others, but it added to the cute factor and I was feeling it.

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However, I think my biggest issue was the fact that the villain and the conflict wasn’t something I feared. Yes, the book ends on a cliffhanger (albeit a happy one) but throughout the book, the plot and Orion especially, seemed goofy. And I get it: this was a very cute book and focused on Abby and Jess together. Maybe as the series continues, everything will be fleshed out and expanded on, but for now, I wasn’t fearing for the characters.

However, I am beyond happy book two will be from Bells POV; I’m excited, I’m a fan and I stan ALL OF THE THINGS.

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19 thoughts on “Review: Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee // Queer superhero stories are my aesthetic

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