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SIDEKICK SQUAD, BOOK ONE—
Welcome to Andover, where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess Tran 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, whom 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.
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2016 Lambda Literary Award Finalist
With a diverse cast of characters, both in terms of sexuality and ethnic background, and a wholly adorable romance for Jess, it’s a lively exploration of morality in a superpowered age.
Exactly the kind of super-powered jolt the genre needs right now.
- Asian Characters in LGBTQIA + YA, The Gay YA, April 21, 2016
- Most Anticipated Books of 2016, Barnes and Noble, June 1, 2016
- The Critical Evolution of Queer Young Adult Literature, The Establishment, August 8, 2016
- 46 Queer and Feminist Books To Add To Your Reading List, Autostraddle, August 29, 2016
- Redefining Super, Diversity in YA, September 17, 2016
- The Best Superheroes Right Now Aren’t On Screens. They’re In Books, Wired Magazine, September 19, 2016
- Kick Off Bisexual Awareness Week With 12 2016 YA Books, Barnes and Noble, September 19, 2016
- Bisexual Awareness Week: Interview with C.B. Lee and Rachel Davidson Leigh, The Gay YA, September 21, 2016
- Celebrating Bisexuality in Reading, Kirkus Reviews, September 30, 2016
- A Little Bit More Action, Please: The Asian American Superheroine Novel, Brooklyn Magazine, October 28, 2016
- 12 YA Books with Characters of Color and Diverse Characters, Teen Vogue
- The Post Coming-Out Story in YA LBGTQ Fiction, The Gay YA, November 11, 2016
- 8 Queer SciFi Books To Read Right Now, Autostraddle, February 2017
7 Superheroic Reads, Book Riot, March 2017
- #OwnVoices Spotlight, YA Interrobang, March 2017
- 100 Must-Read LGBTQIA YA Books, Book Riot, May 11, 2017
- 8 YA Books To Read After You Watch Wonder Woman, Barnes and Noble, June 2017
- Young Adult Best Books, Staff Picks, New York Public Library, June 2017
- NBC News Feature: 15 Recently Released LGBTQ Books For Your Summer Reading List, NBC News, July 2017
- 100 Must-Read Inclusive YA SFF Books, Book Riot, August 4, 2017
- 100 Must-Read Indie Press Books, Book Riot, September 12, 2017
- 100 Must-Read Books By Queer Authors, Book Riot, September 15, 2017
- 50 Must-Read LGBT Fantasy Books, Book Riot, August 3, 2018
- 13 YA Novels To Read If You Love Comic Books and Superhero Stories, Bustle, December 2018
- 10 Great Parents from Young Adult SFF, Tor, December 6, 2018
- 50 States of YA: Young Adult Books Set In Each State, Book Riot, February 11, 2019
- 8 Amazing Books about Queer/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Women with Superpowers, Autostraddle, December 9, 2019
- 50 YA Books That Share LGBTQ+ Perspectives, For Pride and Beyond, PopSugar, July 2, 2020
- 26 YA Science Fiction Books For Any Type of Reader, BuzzFeed, August 20, 2020
- 13 Spectacular Young Adult Books From Independent Publishers, Buzzfeed, September 8, 2020
- 8 Amazing Novels About Female Superheroes, Tor, December 22, 2020
- 20 Joyful Asian Stories You’re Going To Love, Buzzfeed, May 12 2021
A large part of the story deals with her expectations about what it means to be ordinary and what it means to be extra-ordinary. This is a theme that will speak strongly to the current generation. What happens when you try as hard as you possibly can but you still can’t achieve what you intend to do? How do you rebuild who you are when you fail short of your parent’s expectations?
—Queer Sci Fi
C.B. Lee has given us such an enjoyable and fresh superhero-based story with a twist that all comic book lovers and regular book lovers alike will love with Not Your Sidekick.
—G Jacks Writes
The highly anticipated Not Your Sidekick demonstrates C.B. Lee’s brilliant ability to create uplifting, enjoyable and entertaining YA that explores racial identity, heritage, family, sexuality, romance and friendship in a refreshingly light and honest read. If you’re looking for a read that is all about the plot and fun and “just happens to be” inclusive, without being reductive, Not Your Sidekick ticks all the boxes. What we get is a deftly and cleverly layered story which has delicate touches of world building and plot exposition.—MuggleNet Reviews
It’s billed as a three book series, and I can’t wait to read the next installment. Due to the “superhero” aspect of the plot, expect some charming comic-type art within the book, as well.
— V’s Reads
I have read astonishingly little F/F – something which I mean to rectify RIGHT NOW – and so I hadn’t really realised how well it would resonate with me. Of course, this is also because Jess is explicitly bisexual. A huge current went through me when she boldly and proudly stated her bisexuality. I don’t think that I have ever read a young adult novel where being bi is posited as an almost purely positive experience. I wish I had read this when I was younger.
—What The Log
This book takes superhero tropes but it has fun with them and flips the genre on its head and makes it something new…almost unbearably fun… I feel like this was such a step forward for queer literature. It wasn’t just about coming out and learning how to be gay and superhero it was just part of her identity, and it felt like such a move forward.
— Problems of a Book Nerd
Not Your Sidekick stays aware of every stereotypical trope of superheroes, and finds a way to either point at its absurdity or turn it on its head. Along with calling out the absurdity of how the hero somehow never can figure out the identity of the shadowy figure (case in point, Jess doesn’t figure out who ‘M’ is until damn near two-thirds of the way through), Lee builds up scenes where Jess, a girl with no powers of her own, becomes the hero and saves the day. We even get a taste of the notorious villain monologue, and everyone is aware of how ridiculous it is. This playful jest at heavy-handed plot devices makes for a comical atmosphere, but this novel stays out of the zone of satire, not only maintaining the real dangers of superheroes blending with non-powered society, but touching on the real world issues of today, including nationalism, racism, sexuality, and if the “common good” really is good…Lee has created something that is not only dynamic for the entire genre, but integral for the movements of both creating space for more Asian leading characters and queer characters.
—The Writer’s Will