Series : The Sidekicks Squad #2
Publisher : Duet Books
Genre : Young Adult | Science Fiction
Page Count: 286
Synopsis : Bells Broussard thought he had it made when his superpowers manifested early. Being a shapeshifter is awesome. He can change his hair whenever he wants, and if putting on a binder for the day is too much, he’s got it covered. But that was before he became the country’s most-wanted villain.
After discovering a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Bells and his friends Jess, Emma, and Abby set off on a secret mission to find the Resistance. Meanwhile, power-hungry former hero Captain Orion is on the loose with a dangerous serum that renders meta-humans powerless, and a new militarized robotic threat emerges. Everyone is in danger. Between college applications and crushing on his best friend, will Bells have time to take down a corrupt government?
Sometimes, to do a hero’s job, you need to be a villain. (From Goodreads)
*I received a copy of this book from the Publishers through NetGalley in exchange of an honest review*
CW: Kidnapping, gunshots.
I read Not Your Sidekick not that long ago and absolutely adored it. Short after I finished reading it, I got approved for an eArc of Not Your Villain so imagine how excited I was to pick it up but… life got in the way and I only got to read it around a week ago. That being said, it’s okay, because I ended up loving it even MORE than the first but just a little though, which says a lot considering how enjoyable than one was for me. So without further ramblings, let’s dive into the actual review.
Like the first book in the series, the writing in this one is equally simple and pleasant to read, it’s pretty similar but I could feel and ever so slight shift in it to suit the shift in perspective since… it’s a different character narrating the events. One thing that I think was a pretty clever move is how the first few chapters sum up the events of Not Your Sidekick but from Bells’ perspective and I think it serves a few purposes like refreshing the reader’s memory since, if they’ve read the first book at its release, they will need it AND it gives a wholesome view on how things went down on Bell’s side because fact is, we don’t really know how he dealt with everything that went down.
There’s also the fact that that gave opportunity to get to know him a whole lot better, from his childhood, growing up, with his family, friends, how he discovered his powers and how delt with them, etc… I really appreciated that the story didn’t pick up right where the previous book left off (which can be pretty confusing when it’s been a while) and I don’t see that done in many books.
It’s safe to say that Not Your Villain is action packed from very early on because it doesn’t have the disadvantage of setting up the context of the story. Don’t get me wrong, there’s actually still a lot of worldbuilding done in here, but it’s less heavy, it’s rather shown through some research the characters do or through casual conversation. And we also get to see other cities in this post-apocalyptic America whereas in the first book, all we pretty much saw was small town Andover and that change was pretty darn awesome.
I don’t know if it’s the change of perspective, just a case of getting used to it or the series taking a more serious tone but I feel like it lost the silliness of the first book (which I talked about liking in my review). I don’t dislike this change at all, in fact, I love both equally but it’s just a difference I couldn’t help noticing and I thought it was worth pointing out. I had also said that Not Your Sidekick was -enjoyably- predictable and that too has lessened. Don’t get me wrong, I could still see some things coming but other events and choices characters made really took me by surprise and raised quite a few questions I can’t wait to have the answers for.
Bells is such an amazing main character. FREAKING BRILLIANT. He’s so caring, witty and smart. And he also has a vulnerable side that shows through his narrative and that he’s not scared of showing and I really admired that about him. He’s a trans guy and although I cannot speak on that particular rep, the echos I got from ownvoices reviewers were good. The book has brief mentions of body dysphoria, of Bells taking hormones as well as some other things. He honestly could’ve easily taken the cake for my favorite character in the series if Emma didn’t exist and I’ll tell you why.
Emma is the only character I could EVER relate to when it comes to how I function in my dating life. Every time she was talking about how it felt for her, I felt like it was me talking and that was such a validating feeling. She is latina and has such a strong personality, is funny but also has a quiet side, and there too I could see a little bit of myself. In this book, we get to know her a lot more than we did in the first since well… Bells is in love with her so he thinks about her, mentions her and interacts with her a lot. She’s either aro, ace, or aroace and THAT MAKES MY DEMIRO HEART SO HAPPY. I got so emotional when she was addressing how she felt about her romantic and sexual orientation and Gah. Feels.
Other than Emma, we got to see a little bit of Jess and Abby and how CUTE they are from someone else’s perspective, seriously, I just love them so much. We also got to know Brendan, Jess’ brother who is the freaking adorable as well as very funnily serious AND a bunch of other characters. Something I think is worth noting is how amazingly written all the relationships are either the friendships, romantic relationships or family relationships, they’re just so realistic and heartwarming because of how supportive all the characters are of each other.
I think I’m gonna end the review here with this: I NEED NOT YOUR BACK UP RIGHT NOOOOW!!!!! It’s from Emma’s perspective and we all know now how I feel about Emma, I just need that story and that perspective in my life asap.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Not Your Sidekick? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.