AUDIO: Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Review published on August 5, 2018.

So many superhero stories are coming out currently, for toddlers to primary schoolers, and adults of course, and here’s an example of an upper-teenage read. It’s an ‘alternative reality’ scenario, where powers have developed in an X-Men-like way, with the history the heroes a minor plot threading through the story.

Before teenagers turn 17, any power you have will manifest. Jessica is desperate for any she may have to appear, being the daughter of two superheroes. But try as she might, none seems latent within her. In the shadow of a heroic sister as well as parents, Jessica scouts around for a job and finds a rather mysterious one that means she’ll be working for a rather questionable boss. For her world also contains villains…

Add to the mix Jessica’s crush on her co-worker and fellow high-school student, Abby, and we have a teen fledgling-relationship story mixed into a superhero/villain set-to.

I preferred the first half to the second, at least until near the end when the action picked up – I think the middle may have sagged a little as I was listening. The world of the heroes is a good one, lots of detail through Jessica’s school reading assignments, a cute crush story with two girls (for a change) handled naturally (some lovely scenes as they work together on a school project with feelings under the surface), and a growing understanding in the reader of the situation with heroes and villains and how their world sees them.

Jessica is sympathetic, a teenager surrounded by powerful, confident family members and looking to stand out in her own right. The eventual plot is actually a good one, and my full attention returned when it picked up.

The narrator of the audiobook is appropriate enough, a bright and youthful female voice conveying Jessica’s vulnerable but spirited persona. It wasn’t a long read. I’m not sure I’ll continue with the rest of the series, but I am glad I gave this a listen. Brought a new dimension to the superhero canon.

I would recommend this to ages 14 and above. The relationship content is fairly mature but there is nothing unsuitable graphic.

Katy Noyes 4/3

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
Tantor Audio B07D9P6L43 audiobook May 2018

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