Rarely do I come across a book that’s hard for me to put down, but Not Your Sidekick was a breath of fresh air. I am such a sucker for superhero stories wherein the heroes actually turn out to be the villains (Hi, Renegades!), especially if these stories have so much diversity in them. Not Your Sidekick has all of these, and so much more.
Jessica Tran is a bisexual Chinese-Vietnamese teen trying all her life to find her place in the world. Her parents are well-known superheroes and her sister is on the road to becoming one, while Jess at seventeen still hasn’t found powers of her own. There’s that wall of pressure she can’t seem to climb, and she knows that she’s constantly disappointing her family too. She applies for a job under the most prestigious tech company (think Stark Industries!) and ends up working for a villain. But her crush (who she dreams would finally notice her existence) is her co-worker, so what is she gonna do, say no?
I can’t review this book without mentioning its inclusion of diversity. Jess is, as mentioned, half Chinese and Vietnamese. It’s so easy to relate to her as a mixed Asian, where it’s pretty hard to be accepted since you’re too little or too much of a particular race. She’s also bisexual, and one of her best friends is an African-American trans guy. None of these characters felt like fillers or just add-ins for bonus points in diversity, and it’s pretty easy to tell that the author is filled with genuine love for these people. The f/f romance was my favorite part of the book, and I looooove how soft they are! Seriously! So many times I was in bed smiling while reading this book and I feel so protective over this ship. Slander will not be accepted, even over my dead body! It was sweet, funny, and as realistic as the amazing world-building the author had done.
Though the book had very predictable moments and even had me scratching my head at how oblivious Jess was, these moments still made it so much better. My only issue would be with the initial slow pacing, but it picked up fairly quickly and was able to draw me in completely.
Despite that though, I still greatly enjoyed my read of this book. So many of the young adult books I come across have cookie-cutter leads and unrealistic character developments, but this offers readers something new, refreshing, and exciting. Not Your Sidekick deserves so much more love, and I hope that this review will encourage others to pick it up! With a book about superpowers, an unexpected internship with your crush that leads to the leads trying to take down the government, how can you say refuse?
Do you love superhero books? I do! If you have any recommendations, let me know in the comments below! I’d also greatly appreciate if you recommend me more books with soft f/f leads <3
Title: Not Your Sidekick (Sidekick Squad #1)
Author: C.B. Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Adventure
Publication Date: September 8, 2016
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