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.
Ahhhhh so much love for this! I love the concept, I love the characters, and I love the universe.
There are a couple of things that are a little ham-handed – around the league and M – but overall I found it really more-ish and easy to lose myself in.
I’m going to start with Bells, because he’s glorious and also a huge nod to the casual inclusivity of the universe. Because throughout the book it doesn’t matter than he’s trans, he just is. I love that. It’s an accepting world anyway, as pronoun choice comes up, and there are lots of characters on the LGB scale at the least, but Bells was what made it clear to me.
It’s also super inclusive on race too – Jess is of Korean and Chinese heritage and Bells is black.
Jess is a great main character – her adoration of Abby from afar turning into something more real is just the cutest. And her feelings around her family and around powers are beautifully done. Especially everything with her sister.
I love the powers too – especially the ones we learn about later on, the less flashy ones. But even the “normal” things like speed, strength, flight are all very cool. And I always like things like killing (or very!) ominous organisations and this gives us a couple! The way we see stuff with the League and the Captain play out is really well thought out, and even where it’s a little “cackling supervillian” I think the book plays into those stereotypes nicely! There’s monologuing! Hehe. I’m dying to know why media is banned or changed though. The changes I sort of get, though I’d love to know why they made the one Jess discovers, but the bans seem arbitrary. Hopefully more in future books!
Really inclusive, really fun, and just generally really good. Well worth a read!
Buy Not Your Sidekick from Amazon UK.