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Not Your Sidekick
     

Not Your Sidekick

by C. B. Lee
 

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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

Overview

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, 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/03/2016
The non-superpowered teenage daughter of two minor league superheroes ends up secretly working for their worst enemy—as an intern. Jessica Tran, 16, would like to be a hero like her parents and older sister, but if she can't do that, working in the Experimental Division at Monroe Industries will at least help with college applications. Much to her surprise, it's a front for the dreaded villain Master Mischief. Jess takes the job anyway, and she quickly comes to enjoy working with the mysterious mecha-suited M and her longtime crush, volleyball star Abby. Soon, Jess learns that strange things are afoot, with numerous villains disappearing, and the Heroes' League of Heroes may be involved. Lee (Seven Tears at High Tide) offers up a fast-paced, engaging tale set in a quasi-dystopian 22nd-century America where the line between hero and villain is often blurred. 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. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
10/01/2016
Gr 5–8—Although her parents are the local superheroes, it looks like Jessica Tran is merely "normal." Taking an internship would be another normal thing for her, except it turns out she'll be working with her biggest crush as well as for her parents' nemesis. Can she work alongside Abby without making a total fool of herself? And what is the truth about heroes and villains in this superpowered world? This is a light romp of a middle grade adventure/romance, but the real strength is in its matter-of-fact representation of LGBTQ and first-generation American identities. While the meanings of these identities are explored, they are not the focus of the book and are simply part of the character- and world-building. Coming out has already happened, friendships based on immigrant identity are complicated, and there are many primary and secondary characters who fall into these categories so that no single character has to stand for everyone. It's unfortunate that the use of the third person is so clunky throughout and that the twists are so obvious, but these are minor issues. VERDICT A good addition to any middle grade library concerned with LGBTQ and racial diversity representation across all genres.—L. Lee Butler, Hart Middle School, Washington, DC
Kirkus Review
2016-08-03
In the 22nd century, the population includes meta-humans, those whose dormant superhuman powers were activated by the solar flares that also sparked World War III. Jessica Tran struggles to find her voice as a regular teen sandwiched between an older sister who inherited their father’s ability to fly and an intellectually brilliant younger brother. The daughter of Vietnamese and Chinese refugees, bisexual Jess is a Nevada high school junior with two best friends, Bells, a Creole trans man, and Emma, who is wealthy and Latina. While the trio avidly follow the exploits of Captain Orion, celebrity face of the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Jess has kept quiet her parents’ undercover identities as their city’s minor local superheroes. An internship at a leading tech giant results in another secret: the fact that she’s now working on behalf of her parents’ longtime enemies. With her fellow intern Abby, a red-haired, blue-eyed, white girl she is desperately attracted to, Jess gets involved in adventures far more risky than the boring clerical job she signed on for. Although the central romance is sweet, and Jess and her friends are appealing, the writing suffers from more telling than showing, awkward word choices that pull readers out of the story, and inconsistent descriptions of individual characters as well as the world of the novel. A superhero tale that never quite takes flight. (Science fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781945053030
Publisher:
Novelstream dba Interlude Press
Publication date:
09/08/2016
Pages:
296
Sales rank:
83,264
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.67(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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