Hello hello, good morning, y’all!
Today, I’m super excited to be part of the blog tour for C.B. Lee’s SIDEKICK SQUAD, which was organized by the amazing CW over at The Quiet Pond!
When I signed up to be part of the tour, I decided to select the option to do a series review. Since I hadn’t yet read the first two books, I figured it would be fun! But reviewing three books for one day…ambitious, yeah? Especially when you consider that I’ve been in a reading slump since February. *lolsobs* But! I’m excited to say that I’ve managed to fulfill my obligation (yay!).
So! As part of the tour, instead of doing a single post for the series, I decided to make it an all day celebration by writing an individual review for all three books and posting them separately! This is (obviously) the first post, and the other two will post throughout the day.
Feel free to leave some comments and share your own thoughts on the books! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour–all linked at the end of the review posts!
- CW’s Tour Introduction Post on The Quiet Pond
- SIDEKICK SQUAD BLOG TOUR (Part 1): Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee (this post!)
- SIDEKICK SQUAD BLOG TOUR (Part 2): Not Your Villain by CB Lee
- SIDEKICK SQUAD BLOG TOUR (Part 3): Not Your Backup by CB Lee
Publisher: Duet Books
Release Date: September 8, 2016
Received From: Purchased through Amazon
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 towns 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 theres 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.
SEXUALITY: bisexual, lesbian
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: biromantic, homoromantic
TROPES: magical abilities/superpowers, superheroes & villains, class disparity, coworkers to lovers, friends to lovers, classmates to lovers
TAGS: young adult, fantasy, dystopia, romance, queer romance, queer characters, Vietnamese character, Chinese character, biracial character, Black character, Latinx character, POC author, Chinese author, queer author
WARNINGS: parental illness, ableism, war mention, physical injury, racism, kidnapping mention, medical testing mention, nonconsensual medical testing mention, nonconsensual drugging, vomiting, corrupt government
Finishing this book makes me wonder why I’ve waited so long to read it! NOT YOUR SIDEKICK is all the fun, suspenseful fantasy (and more!) that all your friends have promised!
The best part about this novel is the diversity found within the pages! Jess, the main character, is a Vietnamese-Chinese, bisexual disaster who is desperate to develop super abilities and fit in with her family, and tries to work up the nerve to ask out her glamorous crush once they start getting to know one another as they work together at their internship. Abby is the aforementioned love interest and a lesbian, and she’s really just Trying Her Best as she struggles to keep up with all aspects of her life while her parents are gone. Then, there are Jess’ two best friends–Bells, a Black, trans boy, and Emma, a Latina girl. All four of them are so unique and fun and contributed different cultural and queer nuance to the story. It was so lovely to read a book where the entire cast is queer and/or POC, and I’m very much looking forward to more from the series, especially getting more insight into the lives of Bells and Emma!
As far as the writing goes, it’s fairly basic, but I think it works for the story. It puts more of the focus on the characters, making the book more character-driven than plot driven. But that’s not to say that there wasn’t an exciting plot! While it could be slower in a some areas, there was a frequent suspenseful undertone to the novel as Jess gradually begins to notice that not everything is as it seems and that the government–and the superheroes–are not nearly as good or praiseworthy as previously thought. A few of the plot twists were fairly predictable and expected, that may be affected by the fact that it’s been a few years since the book came out and I’ve likely seen spoilers online, even if I didn’t recognize them as spoilers at the time.
The one aspect that struck me as odd was the way most of the characters begin making this realization about the government and Heroes League. It seemed a bit strange that Abby, the one white character, is the one to bring it to Jess’ attention and convince her that there’s something amiss, which then leads to them convincing Bells, Emma, and Jess’ parents. Considering the entire cast, other than Abby, are of various racial minorities, it would seem to make more sense for one of them to notice the cracks in the government’s facade.
But, other than that, this novel really worked for me and was a great read! I’m looking forward to more of these characters and the world Lee has created with this series!
CB Lee is a Lambda Literary Award nominated writer of young adult science fiction and fantasy. Her works include the Sidekick Squad series (Duet Books), Ben 10 (Boom!) and All Out (Harper Teen). CB loves to write about queer teens, magic, superheroes, and the power of friendship. When not nationally touring as an educator, writer and activist, CB lives in Los Angeles, where she can neither confirm nor deny being a superhero. You can learn more about her and her adventures as a bisexual disaster at http://cb-lee.com.
Lee’s work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Wired Magazine, and Hypable. Lee’s first novel in the Sidekick Squad series, Not Your Sidekick was a 2017 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist in YA/Children’s Fiction and a 2017 Bisexual Book Awards Finalist in Speculative Fiction. Seven Tears at High Tide was the recipient of a Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Fantasy Romance and also a finalist for the 2016 Bisexual Book Awards in the YA and Speculative Fiction categories.
CW @ The Quiet Pond (Introduction)
Harker @ The Hermit Librarian (NYB Review + Quotes/Who Would I Be in CB’s World?)
Shari @ Colour Me Read (NYS Review + Illustration)
Fadwa @ Word Wonders (NYB Review + Aesthetic)
Ceillie @ Let’s Fox About It (NYB Review + Character Interview)
Avery @ The Book Deviant (NYB Review + Quiz)
1st June [NYB RELEASE DAY]
Rita @ Bookish Rita (NYB Review + Quiz/Aesthetic)
Laura @ Green Tea & Paperbacks (NYB Review + Creative Post)
Lili @ Utopia State of Mind (NYB Review + Handlettering)
Nicky @ Small Queer, Big Opinions (Trilogy Review)
Kait @ Kaitlyn Gosiaco (NYB Review + Author Interview/Aesthetic)
Shenwei @ READING (AS)(I)AN AMERICA (NYB Review)
Janani @ The Shrinkette (Trilogy Review)