Sidekick Squad: Not Your Sidekick – C.B. Lee
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.
Jessica Tran was born into a family of supers, Mom, Dad and big sis are superheroes, lil bro is a super genius. She, however, is average. It hasn’t stopped her from trying her best and doing her research to find out that maybe, just maybe, she does have some kind of power. Jess reminds me of Rock Lee from Naruto who couldn’t do any fancy chakra manipulation like the other shinobi but was instead dubbed as a genius of hard work.
Blame it on my elementary days spent hoarding Marvel collectible cards but I have always fantasized about having superpowers. Telekinesis because I’m a lazy-ass shit. Teleportation or flight because I want to travel but I’m broke. Supercomputer brain because I suck big time at physics and I was, unfortunately, a physics major. Etc, etc. So, at first glance, C.B. Lee’s Sidekick Squad world is the kind of world I want to get stuck in. It seemed an exciting, ordered world where superheroes fight super villains and everybody cheers them on. All things in their right place until Jess becomes friends with M and Abby and she starts noticing and asking questions about the villains.
For me, villains are almost always more interesting than a goody-goody hero. For one, they are usually more intelligent, complex and nuanced. And as a lifetime of anime has taught me, villains are not always bad. They usually have a compelling reason to do what they do. Jess started to realize that there’s more to this heroes vs villain thing than their government has let on. And I started thinking I might be better off as an average citizen in Andover.
Jess has a crush on Abby, an elite student and varsity player in her school. I admit, I am neutral on the FF front, it doesn’t affect me the way MM couples do but C.B Lee did a great job creating the tension and describing the awe Jess felt towards Abby. There was mutual attraction between the two and it was cute how Abby, in the shadows, tries to encourage Jess to ask her out and how Jess is just a bundle of nerves when it comes to asking Abby out
Bells and Emma are Jess’ bestfriends. Bells is crushing on Emma but Emma is oblivious. Bells has some secrets of his own and I can’t wait to read his book. Would Emma finally notice?
Not Your Sidekick is a good stab at the heroes vs villains trope. C.B. Lee has created a world where, at first glance,
things seem to be clearly divided between good and evil. How Jess and her friends uncover some of the secrets and how the lines become blurred were pretty interesting but overall this book falls between like and love. This means I couldn’t really pinpoint what was wrong, maybe nothing really. It’s more like, it didn’t really wow me. I’d still recommend this books for the interesting premise, great characters and cute FF couple.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
Soundtrack: Heroes & Martyrs
Artist: Bad Religion
Album: New Maps of Hell
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Soundtrack to Sidekick Squad: Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee