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Not Your Backup

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Emma Robledo has a few more responsibilities that the usual high school senior, but then again, she and her friends have left school to lead a fractured Resistance movement against a corrupt Heroes League of Heroes. Emma is the only member of a supercharged team without powers, and she isn't always taken seriously. A natural leader, Emma is determined to win this battle, a Emma Robledo has a few more responsibilities that the usual high school senior, but then again, she and her friends have left school to lead a fractured Resistance movement against a corrupt Heroes League of Heroes. Emma is the only member of a supercharged team without powers, and she isn't always taken seriously. A natural leader, Emma is determined to win this battle, and when that's done, get back to school. As the Resistance moves to challenge the League, Emma realizes where her place is in this fight: at the front. Lambda Literary Award finalist C.B. Lee returns with the third book in her bestselling Sidekick Squad series, which has garnered both critical acclaim and fans for its joyous tone and inclusivity.


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Emma Robledo has a few more responsibilities that the usual high school senior, but then again, she and her friends have left school to lead a fractured Resistance movement against a corrupt Heroes League of Heroes. Emma is the only member of a supercharged team without powers, and she isn't always taken seriously. A natural leader, Emma is determined to win this battle, a Emma Robledo has a few more responsibilities that the usual high school senior, but then again, she and her friends have left school to lead a fractured Resistance movement against a corrupt Heroes League of Heroes. Emma is the only member of a supercharged team without powers, and she isn't always taken seriously. A natural leader, Emma is determined to win this battle, and when that's done, get back to school. As the Resistance moves to challenge the League, Emma realizes where her place is in this fight: at the front. Lambda Literary Award finalist C.B. Lee returns with the third book in her bestselling Sidekick Squad series, which has garnered both critical acclaim and fans for its joyous tone and inclusivity.

30 review for Not Your Backup

  1. 5 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    My full review can be found on my blog, The Quiet Pond. Friends, this series is just getting better and better. I absolutely loved Not Your Backup and I know all of you are going to adore Emma. - Follows the Sidekick Squad as they work together to take down the corrupt League of Heroes. This book centres on Emma, the Latinx teen part of the Sidekick Squad! - I really loved Emma's perspective. I loved Jess's because I related to her struggle as being part of diaspora and her heritage, but I love Em My full review can be found on my blog, The Quiet Pond. Friends, this series is just getting better and better. I absolutely loved Not Your Backup and I know all of you are going to adore Emma. - Follows the Sidekick Squad as they work together to take down the corrupt League of Heroes. This book centres on Emma, the Latinx teen part of the Sidekick Squad! - I really loved Emma's perspective. I loved Jess's because I related to her struggle as being part of diaspora and her heritage, but I love Emma because... well, she is me. A perfectionist, a little anxious, and is doing her best to prove that she can do a good job, even without her powers. - Also explores being aromantic and asexual! I really loved this exploration through Emma's character, and learned a lot about being ace and aro - and where I fit in these categories. - Though this book has its moments of fun, it's also critical, discursive, and so compelling in its socio-political commentary. - Honestly? Such a great addition to one of my favourite series. I cannot wait for book #4! Trigger/content warnings: (view spoiler)[internal shame though asexual and aromantic questioning, science-fiction violence (hide spoiler)]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Claudie Arseneault

    This isn't going to be a regular review. I've been too closely involved with the aro & ace rep in NOT YOUR BACKUP to really do that, honestly. But I will tell you: I love this book to pieces, I love Emma, I love the way it twines her questionning and her relationship with Bells and the whole dismantling a government conspiracy, and I love how her aromantic and asexual experience is deeply rooted in who she is.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fadwa (Word Wonders)

    I received an early copy of this book for the blog tour in exchange of an honest review Original review posted on my blog : Word Wonders CW: sci-fi violence, off page minor character death, internal shame though aroace questioning. If you’ve been following my blog for a couple years you know how much I adore THE SIDEKICK SQUAD, I started up loving Not you Sidekick and then fell more in love with this series through Bells’ perspective in Not your Villain. So imagine my delight when I got accepted to I received an early copy of this book for the blog tour in exchange of an honest review Original review posted on my blog : Word Wonders CW: sci-fi violence, off page minor character death, internal shame though aroace questioning. If you’ve been following my blog for a couple years you know how much I adore THE SIDEKICK SQUAD, I started up loving Not you Sidekick and then fell more in love with this series through Bells’ perspective in Not your Villain. So imagine my delight when I got accepted to be part of the blog tour for Not you Backup, the next installment I’ve been eagerly waiting on for the past two years, especially since we discover at the end of the second book that Emma, the main character in this one, is aroace questioning. The writing is simple (in a good way), flows very smoothly and matches the fun but still serious tone of the book perfectly, just like with its predecessors. Although I must say that with each book, I’ve loved Lee’s writing a bit more, so this one was my favourite in that aspect. Not your Backup picks up right after the events of Not your Villain with Emma & our superheros regrouping in a safe house and trying to get as many people to join the resistance as they can, from Emma’s perspective of course, and what makes her different is that whereas our two previous protagonists have powers, Emma is absolutely and completely normal. And…I loved that. It was really refreshing to see that even without having any extraordinary abilities, Emma was irreplaceable for the team. This books shows that anyone can make a change if only they put their mind to it. Emma is a born leader, strong, fierce, outspoken and not afraid to take charge and tell people who needs to do what, and make them listen to her without them feeling like she’s bossing them around. Like any good leader really. In the past two books, we see Emma as this super popular, confident and bubbly latinx girl who is smart, charismatic, flirty and can make friends easily. But in this book that’s all about her, we see that there’s more to her than what meets the eye, a whole other side of her that is mostly inside her brain. She’s a perfectionist who’s quite hard on herself and absolutely hates failure. But what makes up a non negligible part of this book is the fact that she’s aroace questioning. And as an aromantic spectrum person, I found that exploration incredibly well done. Granted, I haven’t read many books with aromantic representation, but out of the few I’ve read, this one was the closest to my own experiences and thought processes. Not a perfect match, but the questioning part was spot on. I saw so much of the girl I was a couple years ago in Emma, the girl who didn’t really feel comfortable in romantic relationships, like an ill fitting jacket (a comparison made in the book as well), the girl who wondered more than once if anything was wrong with her because I just couldn’t make myself stay feel comfortable and stay long in relationships because they became at some point things I dreaded. I’m getting a bit personal but all of this to say that Emma was, in many ways, me. And I will forever cherish this book for that. I cannot speak on the ace representation but it was handled in the same ways the aro rep was so I’m assuming it’s great as well. Because it not only allowed Emma to explore her feelings and orientation, it also made space for people across the aroace spectrum to feel seen and welcome through a conversation Emma has with Bells’ brother, the gist of which was that no matter where you are in the spectrum you’re valid. Now I want to talk about the one thing that bugged me about the book, and that unfortunately made it my least favourite in the series (still pretty good though, OKAY? READ THE SERIES!). It’s the fact that this very much felt like a filler book. It had a good start and a phenomenal ending but the middle of it just…dragged for me, and not much happened through it. Which is understandable because Emma is kind if shut out but that doesn’t make for the most entertaining reading material, especially with how fast paced the two previous installments were, it was quite a drastic change. There was a lot of waiting around, driving long distances and trying to get people to agree on a plan in this book. That being said, the discussions on socio-political issues were better than ever. I know I was just complaining but I really liked seeing the Resistance grow and gain more ground even while they struggle and hit some road blocks. I loved the continuing discussion on good vs evil that started in Not Your Villain. And I also loved seeing how easily governments can twist the truth, or hide, or manipulating to fit their agenda and still look innocent to the public eye. Because that’s kinda terrifying and happening in quite a few places around the world as we speak, and how even though a majority pick up on that manipulation, not everyone does and those people who keep believing in corrupt people in power can stir trouble. We didn’t see much of the other characters since they were separated more often than not, besides Bells. Who’s forever the national treasure he was set up to be in the previous book. He loves and supports Emma so unconditionally and just wants her to be happy and safe and AAAHHH! He’s so amazing. Still my favourite character in the series. I also want to mention something, without wanting to be presumptuous, Abby, who was the love interest in Not you Sidekick and will be the main character in Not you Hero (the 4th book) seems to be going through a manic episode. The word in never used as no one really knows what going on with her, but all the signs are there and I’m fairly curious to how that will play out and be handled in the book that’s all about her. This series is so so good and so so diverse and rich and timely while still being fun, funny and quick to read, and on the lighter sci-fi side. So I’d recommend anyone who’s looking for that to read it. And I honestly cannot wait to continue on with it ESPECIALLY WITH HOW THIS ONE ENDED!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Annemieke / A Dance with Books

    3,5 stars Thank you to netgalley and interlude press for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion in anyway. The third book in the Sidekick Squad already. Not Your Backup is yet another fun installment. I will say that this book had its positive and negative for me which made me not quite love it. Even though I wish I could because it has so much important bits in it. Let’s start with the positive. In this story Emma is our main character. One I didn’t 3,5 stars Thank you to netgalley and interlude press for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion in anyway. The third book in the Sidekick Squad already. Not Your Backup is yet another fun installment. I will say that this book had its positive and negative for me which made me not quite love it. Even though I wish I could because it has so much important bits in it. Let’s start with the positive. In this story Emma is our main character. One I didn’t care too much for in the previous two installments. However once you get into her head in this book a lot of things just fall into place more about who she is and what she struggles with. You see Emma is asexual. This is something that she struggles with throughout the book in that she is in search of what that means for her and her relationship with Bells. Especially that aspect. I can’t tell you how important it is to see this in a book. It showed the variations of asexuality, including all of them. It made me realize that I am on the ace spectrum. (Can you imagine what it would do to teens to read this and realize they aren’t alone?) And at the end Emma hasn’t figured everything out. In such a short time frame, who can? But that also makes it realistic. Jumping onto the rest of the characters, the Sidekick Squad are such gems. I love Bells forever. He is such a cinnamon roll and so respectful of Emma, her wishes and her struggles. He is fine with whatever way that she wants him with her. Jess and Abby, oh gosh. Much love there too. I can’t wait for a bit more focus on those two. Having said that I found the plot a lot slower than the previous two. A lot of that had to do with Emma, as she is a very different character (and the only one without powers) and a lot of things happened in her head and in interactions instead of the big action. Which is fine, but it also stalled a bit in the middle there. Not all of the decisions made a 100% sense, especially at the end there. That just got thrown at us. And I got kind of annoyed with the constant ‘Abby isn’t doing so well’ but not getting any answers on that. Even so I do think this book and its series is still very much worth a read just for the rep and characters alone.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura (bbliophile)

    This book has some of the best ace rep I've ever read and I love it so much for that.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    2.5/5 idk if my issue was i didn't reread the first two, I was so... bored. Like really bored. I will read the last book but this instalment was boring for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mila

    This is my least favorite series installment so far, the first book was the best, in my opinion, and now it just goes down. I'm not that invested in the plot anymore, a bigger gap between book two and three may be the reason why. And I'm still not keen on Emma as a POV character, nothing really draws me to her personality. However, this was a quick read, some parts were actually exciting and well-written and I also don't want to drop the series right before the final book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    kav (xreadingsolacex)

    Now opening the Sidekick Squad official fan club, please feel free to join. Not Your Backup is the third book in the Sidekick Squad series, this time following the POV of Emma Robledo, a Latina and aro/ace main character, with the same badass and loveable crew, along with a few new faces. Something I've noticed about this series is that I love each book more than the last, and I have adored this series from the start. So, consequently, Not Your Backup is definitely my favorite of the series so far Now opening the Sidekick Squad official fan club, please feel free to join. Not Your Backup is the third book in the Sidekick Squad series, this time following the POV of Emma Robledo, a Latina and aro/ace main character, with the same badass and loveable crew, along with a few new faces. Something I've noticed about this series is that I love each book more than the last, and I have adored this series from the start. So, consequently, Not Your Backup is definitely my favorite of the series so far. Part of the reason this book in particular appealed so much to me is because it was mainly focused on my favorite thing - important socio-political discussions. While I was so, so pleasantly surprised with the superhero angle of the first two books, this idea of resistance and basically a full-fledged dystopia in the face of corruption is one of my favorite tropes, and this book fulfilled that so well. The exploration of the intricacies of the corruption of the Collective and the League were at an all-time high in this novel, and I was in love with how Lee handled these discussions. Another brilliant aspect of this series is the balance of larger plotlines with a very personal and humanistic journey for the main character. And again, that balance is something that has only grown in my opinion - Emma's personal journey in this novel was absolutely fantastic. I absolutely cannot wait for the fourth book of this series, as the first three have been so incredible. disclaimer: i received an ARC in exchange for an honest review, this in no way impacted my opinion.

  9. 5 out of 5

    prag ♻

    it's telling that y'all are sleeping on this series with a sapphic lead, a trans lead and an ace-spec lead cover reveal and excerpt here: https://bookriot.com/?p=252127 I'M SO EXCITED

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    *I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own* After leaving high school to help the Resistance full time, Emma is still struggling to feel like she’s a member of the team. All her friends are meta-humans or, in the case of Brendan and Abby, super geniuses. While they’re training to battle the League or building cool new tech, she’s relegated to boring administrative tasks. But Emma knows she capable of more. Emma is the *I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own* After leaving high school to help the Resistance full time, Emma is still struggling to feel like she’s a member of the team. All her friends are meta-humans or, in the case of Brendan and Abby, super geniuses. While they’re training to battle the League or building cool new tech, she’s relegated to boring administrative tasks. But Emma knows she capable of more. Emma is the one making the plans and coming up with ways to take down the League. She knows she’s worth more than she’s being treated, but she’s still not quite sure how to show this to everyone. And at the same time, Emma is dealing with some more personal struggles. While officially in a relationship with Bells, Emma is still attempting to figure out where she falls on the asexual and aromantic spectra. After the two previous books focusing on Jess (Not Your Sidekick) and Bells (Not Your Villain), it’s finally Emma’s turn to be the spotlight. As always, the rest of the Sidekick Squad gets plenty of face time so don’t worry about not seeing your favs. And just like the previous two books, this one is so much fun and so fast paced. The exploration of asexuality and being aromantic through Emma’s questioning process was fantastic. I, personally, am not asexual but this book met the criteria for respectful rep. It looked at Emma’s process of coming to terms with being asexual and figuring that out in the context of a romantic relationship. Then, when things still don’t feel quite right, Emma starts to understand and consider the idea of what it could mean to be aromantic. Through her questioning process, Emma’s friends were kind and respectful. That’s one of my favorite things about this series. Characters are queer, trans, nonbinary, and nobody has a problem with it. It’s common practice for characters to introduce themselves with their names and pronouns. The fact that more series in fictional worlds aren’t like this is a real shame. After all, if you’re making up a fantasy world why not make it inclusive? The character growth was, once again, fantastic. Seeing Emma understand more about herself and come into her own was amazing. Her growth through the book was so strong and C.B. Lee really knows how to write phenomenal characters. As you can probably tell from the summary, Emma steps into her role as a leader and I am officially here for it. And her crazy driving. So here for all of it. As for overall progression of the story, this book really progressed the overall plot very well. The revelations in this book were absolutely stunning and the stakes have definitely been raised. The last two to three chapters I was screaming pretty much every page because so much was happening. Just another fantastic book. I can’t believe this series isn’t 1000x more popular than it is because it is so, so good! Five stars! I can’t wait for Not Your Hero!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    I've loved Not Your Sidekick and Not Your Villain, and while the first book is still my favourite, Not Your Backup is definitely the most relatable for me. A big part of this book consists of the main character, Emma, questioning her (lack of) romantic and sexual attraction. "...there's that feeling that's always been in her heart, that maybe the way she loves someone might not be the same way they want to love her." I especially loved the talk Emma had with one of Bells' brothers, where he tells I've loved Not Your Sidekick and Not Your Villain, and while the first book is still my favourite, Not Your Backup is definitely the most relatable for me. A big part of this book consists of the main character, Emma, questioning her (lack of) romantic and sexual attraction. "...there's that feeling that's always been in her heart, that maybe the way she loves someone might not be the same way they want to love her." I especially loved the talk Emma had with one of Bells' brothers, where he tells her there's different ways to be asexual and all of them are valid. And to make things even better, Emma and Bells have a few great talks about boundaries and figuring out what they want from their relationship as well. I will say though, the writing style isn't consistently great - it's a little forced at times. On top of that, the plot dragged a little. While the dialogues and the character's interactions are always fun, the bigger plot is a little hard to follow at times because it moves quite slowly. All in all, I did really enjoy this book! The way C.B. Lee writes romance/friendship just has me so soft. Rep: questioning aroace Latinx MC, trans bisexual (?) Black love interest, queer-platonic relationship, bisexual Chinese-Vietnamese side character, lesbian side character, aroace Black side character. The MC also has two mothers. CWs: there is some internalized aphobia, which does get challenged in the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    I received a review copy from the publisher as part of the blog tour. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own. As I said I've been invested in the Sidekick Squad series for a while now. When book two, Not Your Villain, was released, I quickly binged book one and haven't looked back since. I will always admired C.B. Lee's commitment to diversity in a world where its characters are appreciated, loved, and celebrated for who they are. I can't think of a better book I received a review copy from the publisher as part of the blog tour. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own. As I said I've been invested in the Sidekick Squad series for a while now. When book two, Not Your Villain, was released, I quickly binged book one and haven't looked back since. I will always admired C.B. Lee's commitment to diversity in a world where its characters are appreciated, loved, and celebrated for who they are. I can't think of a better book to begin Pride month! full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/blog...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lia

    4.5 stars! LOVED the aro/ace-spec rep and talk about queerplatonic relationships which is way too rare in fiction tbh

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ceillie Simkiss

    I LOVE EMMA ROBLEDO SO MUUUUUCH. Full review to come ;)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fari Cannon

    NO WAY

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn

    I was provided a free copy of the book for its blog tour. See full review here. Surprisingly, this book took the longest in the series for me to actually want to pick up. I felt hesitant to read it because Emma’s characterization felt flat for me in the other books—she really did feel like a backup—but after seeing the title for this, I knew I had to get my hands on NYB. Fortunately for me, it blew all my expectations out of the water and gave me a glimpse of the world of the Sidekick Squad from I was provided a free copy of the book for its blog tour. See full review here. Surprisingly, this book took the longest in the series for me to actually want to pick up. I felt hesitant to read it because Emma’s characterization felt flat for me in the other books—she really did feel like a backup—but after seeing the title for this, I knew I had to get my hands on NYB. Fortunately for me, it blew all my expectations out of the water and gave me a glimpse of the world of the Sidekick Squad from the point of view of a character who did not have any sort of power, in addition to her complexity. C.B. Lee’s writing is the best it’s ever been, and the world-building showed in Not Your Backup places an emphasis on that. I can’t say much about how well the rep was done, but the fact that so many reviewers who are aromantic have said that it was close to their own experiences. This is the first book I’ve read with aroace representation, and I certainly hope it won’t be the last. There is a special scene in the book where Emma talks with Bells’ brother, about being confused with her sexuality, and while bits of the conversation sounded like it was picked up from a dictionary, I can’t deny that it wasn’t a well-written scene. As a reader, it was easy for me to see the effort that the author took to make readers across the whole spectrum welcome. Not Your Backup is a novel full of adventure, excitement, EXPLOSIONS, betrayals and especially soft moments with each character. It’s filled with character-driven moments that can make your heart clench. The whole Sidekick Squad series is an amazing gift to the universe. It’s about a group of diverse individuals, all driven in their own way, working to fight a corrupt government. What more could you ask for?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Xan West

    Content Warnings (view spoiler)[ Hand to hand fighting. Kidnapping. Car crash. Involuntary drugging. Off page minor character death. Explosions. Natural disaster. Fire. References to non-consensual medical testing and procedures. Internalized queer antagonism as part of an ace spec and aro spec questioning arc. Characters have trauma from events in prior books; one of the secondary characters is dealing with substantial trauma symptoms. (hide spoiler)] Not Your Backup is the third installment in a Content Warnings (view spoiler)[ Hand to hand fighting. Kidnapping. Car crash. Involuntary drugging. Off page minor character death. Explosions. Natural disaster. Fire. References to non-consensual medical testing and procedures. Internalized queer antagonism as part of an ace spec and aro spec questioning arc. Characters have trauma from events in prior books; one of the secondary characters is dealing with substantial trauma symptoms. (hide spoiler)] Not Your Backup is the third installment in a queer YA superhero series that I adore, and I think it might be my favorite. It has a lovely aroace questioning arc that runs parallel to the resist the corrupt government arc, and resolves to a queerplatonic relationship with the person who started out as the MC's boyfriend. It's about friendship, identity, finding your place in activist movement, and it's such a hopeful book to have right now in 2019.  Read my full review on my blog.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Devann

    I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley actual rating: 3.5 As with the second book in this series, I just felt that this book moved a little bit slower than I would have liked [although at least here we don't spend a third of the book doing a recap, which I why I rounded up instead of down]. I guess I just feel like the characters should have made more progress at this point [something that Emma and I seem to have in common], but I suppose it kind of makes sense for the first three book I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley actual rating: 3.5 As with the second book in this series, I just felt that this book moved a little bit slower than I would have liked [although at least here we don't spend a third of the book doing a recap, which I why I rounded up instead of down]. I guess I just feel like the characters should have made more progress at this point [something that Emma and I seem to have in common], but I suppose it kind of makes sense for the first three books to take their time a bit more and focus on the POV characters over plot development. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty that is happening here, but I am kind of wondering where it's all going and how long the whole series will be. I did absolutely love the frank discussion of Emma being aro/ace and all the different ways she could adapt that label though. I am aro/ace myself and you very rarely see characters in fiction that are both [most seem to just be ace], so it always makes me happy to see such a cool character that uses that label.

  19. 5 out of 5

    iam

    Action-packed sequel that I wanted to rate 3.5 stars, but ultimately I was bothered by too many things to give more than 3 :( Content warnings include: internalized aphobia, mild violence, human experiments; mentions of minor character death, abduction, blackmail. Content warnings can be found at the end of the book (bit of a weird choice imo, but at least they are there.) This was a great continuation of The Sidekick Squad series. Emma was a great protagonist: she's ambitious, smart and determine Action-packed sequel that I wanted to rate 3.5 stars, but ultimately I was bothered by too many things to give more than 3 :( Content warnings include: internalized aphobia, mild violence, human experiments; mentions of minor character death, abduction, blackmail. Content warnings can be found at the end of the book (bit of a weird choice imo, but at least they are there.) This was a great continuation of The Sidekick Squad series. Emma was a great protagonist: she's ambitious, smart and determined and knows her worth, even if some people are hell bent on focusing on her lack of super powers and thus want to exclude her from the efforts of the Resistance, despite Emma being one of the most if not the main driving force beind the group, making plans and organising stuff. But despite being the Mastermind, Emma is also very much a Do-er. She wants to be at the front of the lines, and there's never a boring moment with her, both for her friends and for the reader. Not Your Backup is extremely plot driven, to the point where everything else kind of became secondary. There wasn't much about Emma and Bells new relationship, and Emma questioning her (a-)sexuality and her being aromantic, while handled well, was an easily forgotten side thing. Due to the heavy focus on the action, the more character-focussed plots were so minor that I was almost thrown when they suddenly became relevant. Emma is so constantly sure of herself that when one person talking down on her became too much I was confused because it seemed like such a tiny, minor thing before. Still, it was very much in character, as Emma does tie her seeking space in with their (read: her) plans. One part of the very fast paced style is that the scenes are very short. Transitions? This book doesn't know that word. Time jumps were hard to follow and the short scenes frequently felt disconnected. It didn't help that at times describtions of who was doing what, where they were, or what was happening around them were completely lacking, which made some events hard to follow. It was as if entire sentences of descriptions were missing. What bothered me most was how repeatedly predictable some parts of the plot were. And I'm not talking about following a good ol' formula and thus being able to see what's coming - I'm talking about thing that were so blindingly obvious I was genuinely confused and a bit shocked to see that the character didn't immediately know but had to painstakingly combine the already fitting pieces over the next few pages/chapters instead of coming to the natural conclusion when it happened. It felt almost forced. (view spoiler)[ like the stuff with the new meta-humans? they were literally just talking about the research, then suddenly new meta-humans show up, and they are all oh no where could they possibly be coming from?! Or when Emma is looking for Patricia in a very specific place, where she then meets a woman of the same age called Trish.... and doesn't immediately realize that this is Patricia, because, hello, common nicknames?????? (hide spoiler)] Overall there was just an unpolished quality to the book, especially the last third of it. Ultimately it was still a very enjoyable read that flowed easily and was a pleasure to read. I particularly enjoyed the middle part.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Corgel

    The Sidekick Squad is back, this time with the focus on Emma Robledo, the defacto leader of the Sidekicks. She's a genius, but as the only member of the Sidekicks that doesn't have any powers, she is often regulated to the back up role. Emma is determined to get the Resistance movement against the League of Heroes on track. There's a ton of stuff packed here in this book, from the socio-political commentary, all the Sidekicks being part of the LGBT+ community, and what it means to be a superhero The Sidekick Squad is back, this time with the focus on Emma Robledo, the defacto leader of the Sidekicks. She's a genius, but as the only member of the Sidekicks that doesn't have any powers, she is often regulated to the back up role. Emma is determined to get the Resistance movement against the League of Heroes on track. There's a ton of stuff packed here in this book, from the socio-political commentary, all the Sidekicks being part of the LGBT+ community, and what it means to be a superhero. I enjoyed all of it, and it is super accessible for anyone who likes a good action book with heart. I didn't get a chance to read book two, but I thought this book was a more complete one than Not Your Sidekick. Each of the books focuses on the members of the squad and this time with Emma as the narrator, we get a look at a person coming to terms with her aromantic/ asexuality. There's a lot of internal debate that parallels her feelings about being a part of a superhero squad and her own sexual identity. It's very thoughtful, and is huge for representation of ace/ aro characters. Emma was probably my favorite character of book 1, and this arc solidifies it for me. She's just a solid character all around, and I'm glad we got a story from her perspective. This is a fun, easy to read YA novel that has a lot to say. It does so with warmth and care. Oh, and there's a hefty dose of superhero action mixed in, too. The series tends to fly under the radar for YA LGBT books because it is published by a small publishing house, so I try to get the word out about it as much as possible. Recommended. I received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Not Your Backup is the third book in the Sidekick Squad series written by C.B. Lee and centered on Emma Robledo, who is figuring out where she belongs in the Resistance and in her own skin, as she has a brilliant tactical mind, but no powers. Not Your Backup takes place right after the previous installment where the rest of the real heroes of the story regroup in a safe house while trying to gather more people to their cause. The novel centers on Emma Robledo, is a powerless person among superher Not Your Backup is the third book in the Sidekick Squad series written by C.B. Lee and centered on Emma Robledo, who is figuring out where she belongs in the Resistance and in her own skin, as she has a brilliant tactical mind, but no powers. Not Your Backup takes place right after the previous installment where the rest of the real heroes of the story regroup in a safe house while trying to gather more people to their cause. The novel centers on Emma Robledo, is a powerless person among superheroes, who is the daughter to two mothers – both Hispanic and exploring the possibility that she may be asexual or aromantic, while also being in the resistance movement. Not Your Backup is written rather well. It is a much quieter novel than previous installments, despite the fact that it is still action packed. It's all about Emma Robledo figuring out who she is, where she belongs in the resistance, and in her own skin. She doesn't have superpowers at all, but she is a brilliant strategist. However, many of the older folks in this novel don't take her seriously because she has no powers. All in all, Not Your Backup is written rather well and is a good continuation to what would hopefully be a wonderful series, which I plan to continue in the very near future.

  22. 5 out of 5

    R

    My love of the Sidekick Squad series continues with this book as I absolutely love the questioning ace and aro rep in this book as well as just the writing itself. I still can't get over how great the world building is in this, and how C. B. Lee describes modern day things as relics from the past. I loved Emma's perspective on things especially considering she doesn't have powers, and I'm just always down for books about overthrowing the government.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    NOT YOUR BACKUP is another great addition to this series, and I absolutely loved the questioning and aroace rep! Read the full review on my blog.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Avery (Book Deviant)

    as good, if not better than NYS. I LOVED Emma's part in this story!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cj

    finally!!! I've been waiting soooooo long for this. Cover? COOL. Emma? BADASS. My body and soul can't contain my happiness for this.

  26. 5 out of 5

    J. Peters

    This has definitely become one of my favorite series to read. It's been a lot of fun seeing this journey unfold over the past couple years. The first book really won me over with it's presentation of a unique take on a futuristic scenario where superpowers have emerged following a near societal collapse. As the daughter of two established superheroes and the sister of yet another, Jess is supremely disappointed when she finds out she doesn't have any powers of her own...or so she thinks. I also r This has definitely become one of my favorite series to read. It's been a lot of fun seeing this journey unfold over the past couple years. The first book really won me over with it's presentation of a unique take on a futuristic scenario where superpowers have emerged following a near societal collapse. As the daughter of two established superheroes and the sister of yet another, Jess is supremely disappointed when she finds out she doesn't have any powers of her own...or so she thinks. I also really enjoyed the second book, though it didn't draw me in quite as much as the first one did. I did enjoy it a lot more on my second reading of it though, and Bells is a really fun character, given their identity and how their power corresponds to that. It retreaded some of the first book, which is why I had trouble getting into the beginning part, but it did further the story in really intriguing ways. And now we're at the third book, which is told from Emma's perspective. Emma is the one friend in the group that doesn't have powers. At first that doesn't bug Emma too much - she's the planner of the group, the one that's going to figure out what they need to do, how they need to do it, and what their future plans should be. But Emma is also having an issue with confidence. Not all of her plans pan out quite as well as she hopes. Recruiting people is slow going, and fighting back against the constant propaganda of the government seems almost impossible. And as the resistance becomes more intense, Emma finds herself being edged out by people with powers - people who basically sneer at her and tell her that since she doesn't have powers, she shouldn't go on missions and is a huge liability to everyone. They ignore and disregard her, and occasionally take her plans as their own. Even her friends get caught up in the missions and in the planning. When I first heard that the book was going to be from Emma's perspective, I was a little disappointed, if only because I wasn't sure how interesting I would find her story. Silly me - it ended up being one I could really relate to. I think everyone has been in that position at some point - feeling ignored by others, and having your opinions, thoughts, and plans be tossed aside simply because of who you are. I certainly have, and man, nothing grinds my gears quite like reading about characters that have to go through that kind of thing. I could totally relate to her frustration - to being disappointed with the work she's done even though others don't blame her or fault her for things that go wrong. I suppose I should have figured that the perspective of the non powered one in the group would end up being very interesting. Given the nature of the world they live in, and the people she associates with, it makes her the natural outside perspective of the group, and a much more grounded one. As much as I enjoyed Jess's book and liked Bells' character, I have to admit that Emma resonated with me the most. I also really enjoyed the deep dive that this book did into people who are aromantic and/or arosexual. It's not one that a lot of books have explored, and it was a welcome change of pace. It was also nice to see Jess, Brendon, Abby, and Bells from Emma's perspective. I like that Emma is basically the one that formed the group, and wasn't at all put out by the fact that her friends were keeping secrets - instead, she embraces them fully and is ready to jump headfirst into the action. If you've enjoyed the series up to this point, there's no way you won't find yourself drawn into this one. I liked it more than the second book, for a variety of reasons. Not only did I relate to Emma's character, but the overall plot of the series was really pushed forward here, with more insight into the plan that the government/heroes have, and how the past of their world has shaped current events. It makes me excited to see where the next book is going to take the series. And I have to admit, I'm really looking forward to the next (final?) book in the series, since it will be told from Abby's perspective. Ever since the first book, Abby has been one of my favorite characters. (view spoiler)[I really hope she gets her powers back. One of my least favorite tropes in comics is when female characters lose their powers. Totally different situation here, but even so, I'm still rooting for her to get them back. (hide spoiler)] I've been waiting since the first book to get a story from Abby's perspective. I'm really curious about what's going on with her, and I'm really hoping for a happy ending to all of this. I have faith in the author though - she hasn't disappointed me yet!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Claire ✨

    A solid improvement over the other SIDEKICK SQUAD books, NOT YOUR BACKUP details Emma Robledo's antics as a ordinary human in an extraordinary world. A diverse, fun, and vibrant novel. Emma is a compelling narrator. I enjoyed her voice, her thoughts, her arc. Everything. I may be biased given I identify on the a-spectrum myself, but her questioning in regards to her identity is done thoroughly and with care, so I'm glad that it was just the fact that Emma wasn't given enough space to elaborate on A solid improvement over the other SIDEKICK SQUAD books, NOT YOUR BACKUP details Emma Robledo's antics as a ordinary human in an extraordinary world. A diverse, fun, and vibrant novel. Emma is a compelling narrator. I enjoyed her voice, her thoughts, her arc. Everything. I may be biased given I identify on the a-spectrum myself, but her questioning in regards to her identity is done thoroughly and with care, so I'm glad that it was just the fact that Emma wasn't given enough space to elaborate on her identity was the sole cause of the iffy ace/aro rep of NOT YOUR VILLAIN. It was also nice to see the relationships between Emma and the other characters expanded, despite Jess and Abby being absent for most of this adventure. I particularly liked Emma and Bells exploring their relationship/ romance with one another. It ended nicely as well, tying into Emma's internal character development. Being an ARC, I can't comment on minor mistakes that will (hopefully) be fixed by publishing (including Collette's name being misspelt again... *eye twitch*), but I can comment on the strange OTT style of the writing. In NOT YOUR SIDEKICK and NOT YOUR VILLAIN, it seemed like the prose was janky and incoherent at times, but now it's too much, too nit-picky about everything. There's a constant repetition of Emma's name when a simple she will do, for example. That said, a huge improvement from the first two books overall. It's almost like they read my reviews and took on board everything I said, lol. It wasn't without it's flaws, however. As usual, some things just happen to go the right way for our intrepid hero Emma. She gets imprisoned by a bad guy in this one, right? Good thing her door guard is so incompetent he'll forget he left Emma's dinner tray behind so she can knock him out with it! They're surrounded by evil robots? Good thing Abby just happens to have an EMP in her pocket! Lost in a snowy wasteland searching for a person no one else has found in a hundred years? Good thing Emma stumbles across her almost immediately! I just wanted to roll my eyes. Victories aren't earned if they're just handed to the protagonist. There is no struggles or smarts coming into play to overcome the obstacle. WILL I READ ON? Yes! I'm hyped for NOT YOUR HERO next year! Also, calling it: the cover is a shade of blue. eARC received from Interlude Press from YALLWEST and NetGalley in an exchange for an honest review. This title released on the 4th June 2019. LAST REVIEW || 1: NOT YOUR SIDEKICK || 2: NOT YOUR VILLAIN

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ruthsic

    Warnings (as mentioned in book): Some internalized shame throughout an aromantic and asexual questioning arc (examined), some sci-fi violence and offscreen non-graphic minor character deaths. Rep: Main character, Emma is an ace-spec Latina, in a relationship with a black trans boy. Secondary characters include a wide variety of queer and POC characters Not Your Backup picks up the story a month after the ending of Not Your Villain, with Emma organizing the Resistance, while Jess and Abby stay behi Warnings (as mentioned in book): Some internalized shame throughout an aromantic and asexual questioning arc (examined), some sci-fi violence and offscreen non-graphic minor character deaths. Rep: Main character, Emma is an ace-spec Latina, in a relationship with a black trans boy. Secondary characters include a wide variety of queer and POC characters Not Your Backup picks up the story a month after the ending of Not Your Villain, with Emma organizing the Resistance, while Jess and Abby stay behind at the Villain's Guild. She has ideas to bring down the League but not the resources. As they try to disrupt the narrative the League has been building, the introduction of new heroes in the midst is a new wrench in their ongoing plans. As the Sidekick Squad organizes itself, Emma looks into the past to figure out some solutions. The thing I love most about this series is how different the books are in tone, and how they each highlight a different aspect of the world-building. Emma's story is about her not being a meta-human, so while she is involved in their missions and tries to plan and lead them, she isn't being taken seriously by some adults. Moreover, there is a current of meta-humans taking the spotlight in the fight, when there are others like her who have enough power without being powered. Her personal story arc is also about her figuring out her relationship with Bells and what her identity means for how they see it. There's a side plot of Abby being de-powered that would have resonated well with Emma's story arc but it wasn't pursued, and I felt the former was being sidelined for now. There is one resolution as respect to antagonists, but yeah, it is getting a bit tiresome that they are still at the same problem throughout two books. But lets get back to the world-building. While it is subtle, Emma fills in so much of the world with her observations and her story. There is talk about ace-spec realization, that also incorporates information about the sex ed and health class being taught to the kids. Emma's cross-country road trip has nuggets of details about how they all view old (for them) tech, and how people's attitudes towards the governments are different from ours, just because they don't have access to the same kind of entertainment media as we do. The little detail of Curiosity gave me feels, in the light of what happened earlier this year. Random meetings with people show how pronouns and identities are discussed in a world where queer identities are openly accepted, while also acknowledging that discovering your identity will still be an individual journey, like in the case of Emma. Overall, this book is wonderful addition to the Sidekick Squad universe. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Interlude Press, via Netgalley.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Theo Giugaru

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Oh, I missed these characters! But I should definitely read the whole series again because at some points I had no idea what they were talking about or who was who. I don't really have many complaints, other that it felt a little rushed in some parts, especially at the end. And I'm not entirely sure about some things: Emma's whole week with Patricia, that didn't really lead to anywhere, except maybe Emma got more upper body strength. It felt a little anticlimactic, I don't know whether Emma's got Oh, I missed these characters! But I should definitely read the whole series again because at some points I had no idea what they were talking about or who was who. I don't really have many complaints, other that it felt a little rushed in some parts, especially at the end. And I'm not entirely sure about some things: Emma's whole week with Patricia, that didn't really lead to anywhere, except maybe Emma got more upper body strength. It felt a little anticlimactic, I don't know whether Emma's got any sort of insight, because Patricia did make some good points. (Even if she was defeatist. But I suppose it's not that unusual, considering her age). I'm not sure how Kingston decided to check on Patricia exactly at that moment. Was he looking for Emma? How did he know where he'd find her? And the whole rescue her friends + hold a discussion with Kingston was just... kinda weird imo. Like maybe I could see people not caring about the children and just leaving them to die but...The dude appeared out of nowhere, during a meteor storm, when it wasn't safe. But oh well, he is crazy. Emma's optimism that they would be done with the League by November when they were in August amused me. Her whole attitude of 'getting things done quickly and efficiently' is absolutely endearing. I adore her. I loved the ace/aro rep, particularly the talk about it. While they were things that I knew about and aren't exactly applicable to me, I think it's important that they exist, they help others. It amused me how Emma switched so much between thinking about the Resistance and her situation with Bell. It's not just a thought that appeared once and then solved and done. No, it got solved after they got to talk openly and properly about that. I liked that, I'm an advocate of open communication. I'm not entirely sure about the ending, I don't know where it could go from there but I'm definitely intrigued.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I'm not used to reading ARCs but I was excited to get my hands on this one. This book was amazing and but in the first two brilliantly. There was almost no point that felt slow it boring, where the first two had some moments that dragged a bit. My only real complaint is one scene in particular that pretty much no one but me would have a problem with. I just happen to be one of what is probably less than a handful of readers who could pick this scene apart. The scene that doesn't work for me is the I'm not used to reading ARCs but I was excited to get my hands on this one. This book was amazing and but in the first two brilliantly. There was almost no point that felt slow it boring, where the first two had some moments that dragged a bit. My only real complaint is one scene in particular that pretty much no one but me would have a problem with. I just happen to be one of what is probably less than a handful of readers who could pick this scene apart. The scene that doesn't work for me is the roller coaster scene. A power surge fries a generator and traps guests in the ride for about 15 minutes (probably less). The reason this doesn't work for me is because I am a ride operator, primarily on a thrill ride. My ride isn't technically a roller coaster, but it is adjacent to one and the average layman would probably call it one. But on rides like this, stops and evacuations are common. The roller coaster my ride is near has stops every single day. Most of the time, people aren't left on the ride long enough to worm their way out of the restraints. And we certainly have the ability, with today's technology, to manually move a roller coaster train in the event of power loss so people can get off safely. Perhaps it's an odd thing to break my suspension of disbelief. But there it is. It probably doesn't help that I read this part during work on a day where we had to do an evacuation of the ride for similar technical problems. If I could, I would suggest adding something that could destroy the track. That would cause real panic. But a power dip would be easy for the regular employees to 'save' the guests from, especially considering this takes place in a technologically advanced future. But that's just a small complaint about a single scene. I'm sure there are far more people out there that read that scene and figured it worked just fine. The rest of the book is wonderful and action packed and I highly recommend picking this series up if you haven't yet.

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