Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Not Your Sidekick cover

(Chantel)

4/5 – It took me too long to finish this book. I want to emphasize that this is not a reflection on the book. I’m just a slow reader and was going through a slump last month.

This book was amazing. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel with ladies loving ladies. I know I’ve said before that I’m not into the superhero books, but yet here I am reading another series that takes place in a world where superheroes exist. It also happens to have multiple queer characters and that was the main reason I picked this book up. I know I’ve said so many times about the lack of LGBTQIA books I had access to as a teenager and I’m so glad there are books like Not Your Sidekick and Dreadnought, among others, that LGBTQIA teenagers can see themselves in.

Despite not being a teenager anymore, I definitely saw 16-year-old Chantel in this book. I related so much to having an intense crush on a redhead, not quite bordering on stalkerish. The relationship between Jess and Abby would’ve been a dream come true. Sorry, if that was a spoiler, but it’s pretty central to the book. It starts as a slow burn, a transition from a friendship to more and I thought it was handled very well. I would’ve liked to see more of Emma and Bells, but I know they get their own books so I’m okay with it.

The main plot of the book doesn’t really come to the forefront until over halfway through the book. There are bits and pieces sprinkled here and there, but I would’ve liked more in the beginning just so it wasn’t all crammed in at the end. However, I did appreciate the commentary made of things that are relevant in the present. There could’ve been a better balance between the relationships and the plot. Another bit of criticism is the beginning was a bit slow, but it picks up once Jess starts her internship. Also, this isn’t necessarily a criticism, but there was a huge reveal and I totally guessed it. I don’t think it was well hidden and there were plenty of hints, but I wasn’t surprised by it and that’s okay. I thought it made things more fun.

The characters were just fantastic, even if the villains were a bit cartoonish. I do want to gush about Abby if I may, she was very smart and good with electronics and robotics and while it might be a small thing, I think that’s very important for younger girls to see. Another important thing was the word bisexual being seen on the page and an Asian protagonist whose parents are refugees from China and Vietnam. There is so much representation in this novel, there is an adorable love story and even an interesting plot. I want this book to be in the hands of every little awkward teen who has a crush because trust me, it’s too real at times.

3 thoughts on “Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

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