Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee is one of those books that you just fly through (unintentional pun) because it’s so much fun!
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.
This book seems like a really cute superhero story reminiscent of Romeo and Julia but then gay. And it is exactly that (a little less Romeo and Julia-like though). But it is also a really badass story about corrupt governments and family and friendship with some morality mixed in. The story starts off with Jess starting an internship at what she thinks is a good organization only to realize her boss is actually a villain (and also her parents – who are superheroes – enemy). She now has to deal with not only that new job, but also with a crush on Abby who also turns out to work there.
“Maybe Jess was caught up with these ridiculous, impossible ideas because it meant she never had to try for something real.”
The story is really predictable, and that sounds like a bad thing, but I really didn’t mind it at all. It actually might have made it even more fun, in a way. You knew what was going to happen and that things were going to be okay, and that made it just a really fun experience because you didn’t really have to worry about anything, you know? Is that weird? Probably.
This book is so diverse, it’s amazing. The main character Jess is Vietnamese-Chinese and bisexual, and her friend Bells is a transgender black boy and her other friend Emma is latina. I just adored these characters so much! In the first book you follow Jess’ perspective but in Not Your Villain Bells is the lead and in the next book that will hopefully be released soon Emma will be the lead.
“We can’t just sit on our asses and not live our lives while we’re trying to expose a corrupt government.”
A thing I liked less was the writing style, it was not bad, but it felt a bit rigid in the beginning. I actually thought I wasn’t going to like it as much because of that but after reading a bit more, I really didn’t mind it at all and it actually grew on me.
I’m giving this book 4.5 stars because it was just so much fun! I had the best time reading this book and I immediately picked up the next after I was done (that says a lot because I’m usually terrible at picking up sequels). The characters and the story were great and I can’t wait to read more about them! I really recommend picking up this book if you like books that are really easy and fun to read but do want that cute queer content 🙂
“I hardly think we’ll ever be normal , but I heard that’s overrated.”