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Not Your Sidekick (Sidekick Squad, #1)
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Not Your Sidekick

(Sidekick Squad #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  3,398 Ratings  ·  769 Reviews
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 supervilla ...more
Paperback, 283 pages
Published September 8th 2016 by Duet Books
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claire There is a trans character and *spoiler* two girls that end up falling in love, so right off the bat, there is three queer characters. It's not…moreThere is a trans character and *spoiler* two girls that end up falling in love, so right off the bat, there is three queer characters. It's not explicitly in your face about their sexuality and gender, it's more just context for how they act or feel so I would say it would be good for conservative people. The story is really cool and it doesn't just focus on the lgbtq+ aspect. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story kicks ass quite effectively.
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

Ok, I'll try to be more coherent now.

I think this book is fully deserving of 4.5 stars (damn you, Goodreads, for not giving me half star options!) and I am utterly in love with it. I am a sucker for superhero stories that are against the norm, stories that embrace silliness in superhero tropes and manage to make those stories new even if the conventions are the same. And this book is everything I wanted it to be.

This felt like such a step f
Avon Gale
As a bisexual girl who didn't know that was a thing until her 20's I got all emotional wishing this book existed when I was 16. I cannot express to you how wonderful it felt to see a character identify ON PAGE as bisexual as a young adult. I understand that some people don't need labels or don't like them, but as a bisexual person you are constantly represented in the media by the "oh, she just doesn't like labels" or "she just likes PEOPLE, not gender" etc. Not that these are bad things! But to ...more
CW (new book blog coming soon! ✨)
Let me introduce to you my new favourite book.

Not Your Sidekick is one remarkable, superpowered book. It has everything that I want in a book: it has superheroes and supervillains, a lovable Asian protagonist, gorgeous friendships, and heart-melting crushes. Though the pieces of Not Your Sidekick may sound familiar, Lee has crafted a beautifully cohesive story that puts a refreshing spin on the increasingly hackneyed superhero narrative. Needless to say, I was enthralled by this book.

Nobody may
This book was everything I need in my life.

Jess Tran is a bisexual Vietnamese-Chinese young adult trying all her life to find the superpower that is meant for her. Having parents as well-known superheroes and a sister who basically succeeds in life, Jess feels the massive pressure on her that she's disappointing her family. One day, she stumbles upon an internship that sounds just perfect to her but she ends up finding out that the company is owned by the supervillains... Well, at least, she is
I really wanted to give this five stars for what it was trying to do. For the most part, it succeeded. The characters are absolutely wonderful, the tone of the book is light and warm, the overall premise is quite fun. Unfortunately, there were some plot elements that didn't quite work as well as they could have.

Let's start with the good, though: Jessica Tran. I adore this protagonist. She's, 17, she claims her bisexual label, she's half-Chinese, half-Vietnamese, she wants to be accepted by both,
Here are some of my thoughts:
• Cute. Cute. Cute. It’s a chill YA book. I think the romance is better developed than the hero-villain plot. The romance is very cutesie (and I like it). And cheers for LGBTQ+ representation in this book. The plot, on the other hand, is interesting but nothing spectacular IMO. Like, it was a bit too obvious and in-your-face that (view spoiler). I would have liked to see Jess’s story be a bit more foc
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This review was originally posted on Happy Indulgence! Check it out for more reviews.

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

I love superheroes and books with Chinese characters, so it was a no-brainer to pick up Not Your Sidekick which was also our Name of the Book Club June book of the month. Spanning a world where superpowers are common, and superheroes and villains rule the streets, the book follows a bisexual Chinese-Vietnamese heroine called Jess in her quest to discover herself. Initially, Not Your Sidek
I so very much wanted to love this book. I love the concept -- teenage mutant superheroes, with lots of different identities represented! -- but I did not love the execution.

The worldbuilding was wildly inconsistent. We've got an earth where all the countries are different, where much of the world is uninhabitable, where people with mutant powers now fly through the air and save people, where robots have personalities and everyone has hologrammatic wrist devices. But the social norms are pretty
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.25/5 –

Not Your Sidekick is so fun and i had a blast reading it. there are so many wonderful elements that made me feel YESSSS – starting with a bisexual Asian MC in a world with superheroes!

my only issues with it were that it felt a little obvious and nonsensical at times. for example, the world is supposed to be set 100+ years in the future, but there were little things that made it feel as if the world hasn't developed much from how it is now. these little things made me aware and took me o
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Full review originally posted on my blog: Word Wonders

I’ve had this book on my TBR for the best part of a year because it’s one of my friend cw’s favorite books and she’s always raving about how good it is, I also got the ebook around a couple months ago and while I was planning to pick it up right away, it’s safe to say I got distracted but I finally read it and I DO NOT REGRET IT. It is so so good, such a fun, quick read that has important underlaying themes and I a
lauren ♡ (wonderless reviews)
This was the cutest superhero story I've ever witnessed. Whilst I struggled with the long chapters I absolutely flew threw the ending because it was so action packed. I loved how C.B. Lee took the ideas of "heroes and villains" and turned it on its head. I also love how this was like a "fun styled" superhero story and not all dark and gritty. It reminded me of Sky High haha!!! Jess and Abby are the cutesttt. And all the rep was so great!!
georgia ☽
the wlw superhero story the world needs

my only slight issue is that it was really predictable and a little cheesy at times? (i'm mostly talking about some of (view spoiler)

but i smiled the whole way through and i can't wait for the next one
Read on my blog.

LGBTQAI+: Bisexual girl main character (#ownvoices), main f/f relationship, trans guy side character (I’m also pretty sure Emma is a-spec but it’s not mentioned in this book yet)
Sex on page: No
Note: Chinese/Vietnamese main character

Pretty much everyone I know has either read this book or is planning to read it, so here I am, officially joining the squad. (Not the sidekick squad, unfortunately, though that would be badass.)

There are never enough #ownvoices bisexual heroines, espe
RoAnna Sylver
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
“It’s a secret identity thing, isn’t it?”
“You could say that.”

* * *

I love superheroes. I especially love superhero books where the writing is lively and engaging, and the marginalized rep is easy, inclusive and positive. I love Jess' drive to find herself and come into her own as a hero instead of standing in her sister's (and parents, to an extent) shadow. I love her resourcefulness and tenacity in the face of opposition and conspiracy from adults, and I love her and Abby's interactions and ch
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a fun little superhero story with a cute romance between the bisexual main character and her female crush.

Jessica Tran is the daughter of immigrant parents who are the superheros of the town where she lives. Unfortunately, she doesn't appear to have inherited any superpowers herself. She picks up an extracurricular internship to help with her college applications, but it turns out that the internship is with the town's supervillain couple. Also, her long-time crush Abby is working there
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
While reading Not Your Sidekick I tried to sort my thoughts into 'pros' and 'cons' lists. It was difficult to do so because this book was so good I barely wanted to switch from my iBooks app to my Notes app.

But, here we go:

- from a quick scan of reviews; this is great bisexual representation
- I believe this is an #ownvoices novel? correct me if I'm wrong
- Great characters
- Great writing
- great setting
- a trans character is featured and I believe that's also good rep
- s u p e r p o w e
Sue (Hollywood News Source)
Not Your Sidekick reminded me what I love about YA.

This book is damn revolutionary on its own. We have a Vietnamese-Chinese-American bisexual main protagonist named Jess. Her identity is part of the story, but it's not driving point of the plot. It is a breakthrough for LGBTQ+ genre who have heightened focus on coming out and other relevant issues the community faces.

It's lifting and needed to have a story that doesn't tackle the norm, where a bisexual character have a strong supportive system.
Claudie Arseneault
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Deliciously tropy and queer in all the best way possible. this was fun and cute!
Laura (bbliophile)
I should've listened to all the people yelling at me to read this a lot sooner
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book seems like a really cute superhero story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet but then gay. And it is exactly that (a little less Romeo and Juliet-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 dea ...more
emily t
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
*2.5 stars


superhero secret identity shenanigans = my literal favorite trope of all time, and the premise of this book was basically a dream come true. I'm not kidding when I say that, from the summary, this was The Book I wanted to read. I appreciated all the representation, which felt very authentic (esp asian + bi rep in jess, whose experiences I could really relate to, in a refreshing way) and the dramatic irony re: double identity
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: queer, young-adult
As Jessica Tran nears her seventeenth birthday, she's starting to come to terms with the fact she doesn't have a superpower, so she decides to get a job instead, a paid internship at a local robotics company, where her crush also happens to work.

The f/f romance is cute (if you ignore the dub-con aspect), and the characters represent a variety of colors, backgrounds, and sexualities, but the world-building is inconsistent and occasionally nonsensical, and the story itself is sloppy even in the fi
Maf (Bookworm Wanders)
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"I hardly think we'll ever be normal , but I heard that's overrated."

Oh my God, I am so in love with this book. I'm so happy I finally read it because it was truly the cutest thing I have ever read. I loved every single character, at first I felt so bad for Jess and just really wanted to give her a hug but eventually I realised she didn't need me hugging her because she has so many people around her who absolutely love her. I literally don't have anything else to say about this because I am
Not Your Sidekick was so much fun to read. There were multiple things I really liked about the book. The book definitely gave me Sky High vibes, but in a good way. It was a fun story in a world of superheroes.

To start, the world building was fantastic. The author didn't feed you too much information at once but was also able to give a clear understanding of how the world got to where it currently was. It explained how superpowers emerged excellently. I'm not someone who needs these sort of thing
May 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating is 2.8

So I kinda had to sit down and really think about how I was going to review this story. There were things that worked for me, things that did, and things that were neither here nor there.

FTR, I was really pumped to read this book since I'd loved the author's previous novel ( Seven Tears at High Tide ). And then I read it...

OTOH, it's deffo a book I recommend to younger readers. Especially those who are POC and/or members of the LGTBQ+ community. Because representation IS imp
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I would give this book 3.5/5 stars.

So this is the story of a girl who's parents happen to be the town's superheroes and her sister also has powers and her brother is a genius but she doesn't seem to have anything going for her. So she decides to find an internship and she ends up finding a really interesting one that just so happens to be a position working for the town's villains. Her crush also just happens to work for them.

So this story was really cute. The writing style was hard to get int
Lauren James
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtqia
One of the best visions of the future I've ever seen. I really love the romance in this one - Lee is a very clever writer. One of the few times when the identity of the love interest manages to surprise me.

I'm very excited for the sequel, which has a trans main character.
This is an incredibly fun YA superhero adventure. The story follows Jess, a bi Chinese-Vietnamese American heroine as she tackles every day life with expectations around powers.

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Other books in the series

Sidekick Squad (3 books)
  • Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad, #2)
  • Not Your Backup (Sidekick Squad #3)
“The only time she's come close to being "known" was when she accidentally came out as bisexual during sophomore English class while talking about her favorite poem.” 5 likes
“She's given up trying to stand out.” 3 likes
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