irregular review

Irregular Review: Not Your Sidekick

29904219Not Your Sidekick
C.B. Lee
★★★★★ (It was amazing.)

“Have you ever thought about the people in Meta-Human Training who go through the program but don’t become superheroes?”

The Good
Not Your Sidekick is probably the most diverse book I’ve ever read. The protagonist, Jess, is a bisexual daughter of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants to the North American Collective (former United States and maybe Canada and Mexico, too?). One of her best friends, Bells, is trans. Jess has a crush on a girl, Abby.

The blossoming relationship between Jess and her super cute girl crush, Abby, is the most adorable and satisfying romance I’ve ever read. Like I said on Twitter,

I know I can’t shut up about that book, because reading it was a revelation. There were casual conversations about using the correct pronouns, a character gently checking in on her friend to make sure he hasn’t been wearing his binder for too long, a minor subplot about the way cis gay men can sometimes dominate LGBT+ spaces that are supposed to be for everybody.

But don’t get the wrong idea. This isn’t an “issue book.” This is a superhero story, and it kicks ass – even if Jess doesn’t have any powers.

The Bad
The superhero plot pacing was liiiiitle slow, but I feel better about that knowing there’s a sequel due out sometime next year, and I was too wrapped up in the romantic subplot to care – which is definitely a first for me.

The present tense writing always took a few minutes to get used to, each time I opened my (e)book (app), but it wasn’t too distracting.

Judging a Book by its Cover
This cover has everything it needs: Jess in action, testing herself; the mysterious M flying in the background; an in-joke about the resident super villains on Jess’s t-shirt; and the colors evoke the Southwestern currently-US/future-NAC setting. Fun, dynamic, eye catching.




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