Hi friends! Today is Not Your Backup‘s book birthday! This book is out in the world today!!! And I got the chance to take part in its awesome blog tour organized by none other than CW @ The Quiet Pond!
Can you tell I’m excited to share a character quiz and a list with a bunch of reasons why you should be just as excited as I am about this book coming out? I think you can!
Title: Not Your Backup
Author: C.B. Lee (author website)
Published on June 1st, 2019 by Duet Books (imprint of Interlude Press)
Genre: young adult, superheroes, fiction
Series? Yes, 3rd book in Sidekick Squad series
⭐️ synopsis ⭐️
Emma Robledo has a few more responsibilities than 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.
Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review for the blog tour.
Going into this, I knew three thing about this series: (1) It is very much loved in the young-adult bookish community; (2) It is one of the most diverse series out there; and (3) It’s fast-paced and easy to read. I knew nothing else, but I chose to be part of this awesome blog tour (details below).
While this was very much out of my comfort zone, I still had a great time with it. Coming out of this book, I feel like I have learned more about myself as a reader. And that’s always a win, right?
But here is the important question: is this book for you? Only you can answer that! If these 9 reasons I listed below sound appealing to you, stop whatever you are doing and go BUY/REQUEST a copy from your local bookstore or library!
1. Incredibly fast-paced plot
There is never a dull moment with Not Your Backup; there is always something happening. From hijacking government property to riding bikes in a very stylish way and running around to catch bad guys, you surely won’t fall asleep reading Lee’s novel.
At the beginning of the novel, the reader is thrown right into the core of the action. It all starts with a nerves-on-edge hijacking operation, and the bar is never set lower! The pace stays more or less always speedy throughout the book. If fast-paced books are your jam, you’ll have a lot of fun with this one!
2. The dynamic between Heroes and Villains is intriguing
Don’t you love it when a common trope gets flipped on its head and reinvented? I wasn’t expecting to like this aspect nearly as much as I did, but I really appreciate how Lee handled it!
In Not Your Backup, the so-called Villains are the bad guys but seen as do-gooders, while Emma Robledo and her crew are seen as evil. This is true of the rest of the series, and in this novel that is really palpable.
I especially like how the author played this subverted trope with the corrupt government. The conspiracy theory lover in me fangirled hard over this.
3. Futuristic setting meets the apocalipse…
I never read science fiction novels set in the (far) future or dystopians set in a post-apocaliptic world. But this blend of genres really does work within Lee’s novel. You have the technology and the futuristic houses on one hand and then, as a complete opposite you have chemical waste and radioactive problems. The contrast made everything stand out in the best possible way!
4. Main character with no special powers is something new!
The fact that Emma Robledo is not a “meta-human” (or someone born with superpowers) adds a lot of originality and specialness to the story. If you’re sick of the “chosen one” trope, believe me, you won’t find it here. It’s so awesome seeing a character like you and me surrounded by people who can shapeshift or toy with technology. They’re not below average — they just have different abilities!
Seeing Emma’s character growth throughout the novel is really touching, as she starts out by feeling left out of her group of friends (no spoilers). But as they need her, she grows into something magnificent.
5. The relationships are sweet and tender
Explosions? Check. Evil government? Check. Superpowers? Check. Cute and fuzzy relationships? Triple-quadruple check.
I love a book with strong friendships and romances. They make the lovey-dovey Rita inside me super happy! So, when I realized there were so many quality relationships across these pages, I felt warmer inside instantly.
I won’t spoil you at all, but there are (a) adorable romances across the LGBT spectrum, (b) strong friendships between guys, gals, and enby pals, (c) sweet parent-offspring relationships in Not Your Backup. C.B. Lee really went all out to give us all the -ships in this book!
6. Imposter Syndrome
If you’ve ever experienced Imposter Syndrome, you’ll know just how big an impact it can have on your life. I’ve dealt with it for a long time now, so I was very soothed to see Emma suffers from it too!
The fact that she does not have any powers and is yet leading a team of superheroes sounds odd to her. Does she really deserve this position? Of course, her mind tells her no, but people around her seem to love her leadership skills.
This portrayal of Imposter Syndrome felt so realistic and accurate. I could feel my thoughts through Emma because I’ve been where she is! It really is awesome reading from a point of view you’ve experienced before.
7. LOTS of awesome diverse representation
Is this the most diverse book I have ever read? Probably! C.B. Lee really went out of her way to include as many diverse identities into Not Your Backup, which I think is absolutely terrific.
I don’t identify with any of the character’s diversity representations, so I can’t really attest to how well they’re accomplished. But reading own-voices reviews tells me Lee hit the nail on the head when it comes to showcasing different races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations/gender identification on paper!
In Not Your Backup there is so much to talk about when it comes to diversity. The author is of Asian heritage, our main character Emma is Latina, her love interest Bells is black, and one of her best friends, Jess, is Asian (Chinese-Vietnamese). Then, there’s also sexuality! Jess and Abby are both lesbians (or have a preference for women) and Emma is an ace character (still trying to find the perfect label for her!). Lastly, Bells is a transgender male while Cal is nonbinary!
If there’s a more complex and inclusive young adult novel out there, I haven’t had the privilege of picking it up yet. Nonetheless, it was awesome seeing gender, sexual, and racial labels being used without any of the prejudice sometimes attached to them.
8. You can jump into the story right away
If you haven’t read Lee’s other two Sidekick novels, it may be a little hard to get into the story at first. But within a few pages, all that changes and you feel engrossed in the whole plot. Sure, you’ll need to pay attention and grab what’s going on in terms of large-scale events, but you’ll get there!
9. Brilliant friend squad
They don’t call this series Sidekick Squad for nothing, right? In this novel, we follow the way this group of friends is following the plans they concoct to take down the League of Heroes for the good of society. So, of course there’s funny, witty banter thrown around! If you love a good friend group, you’ll adore this book. All the characters are super close and the chemistry between them is simply brilliant.
I had a BLAST putting this character quiz together! It’s super short but a lot of fun (hopefully). There are only five questions and at the end I will tell you what character from Not Your Backup is most like you based on your answers.
☂️ To take the quiz, simply click the tall picture above! ☂️
⭐️ helpful links + blog tour stops ⭐️
CB Lee is a Lambda Literary Award nominated writer of young adult science fiction and fantasy. Her works include the Sidekick Squad series (Duet Books), Ben 10 (Boom!) and All Out (Harper Teen). CB loves to write about queer teens, magic, superheroes, and the power of friendship. When not nationally touring as an educator, writer and activist, CB lives in Los Angeles, where she can neither confirm nor deny being a superhero. You can learn more about her and her adventures as a bisexual disaster at http://cb-lee.com.
Once again, a million thanks to CW for organizing this blog tour and for giving us so much content to work with! It’s been such a great adventure and an awesome personal debut of blog tours for me.
📖 buy the book! 📖
I don’t make any money from these links, but here is a list of where you can add this book to your shelf!
You can find all the the blog tour stops here! They’re all coming up with awesome content for the tour and I couldn’t recommend them more!
🍃 27th May 🍃
🍃 28th May 🍃
Shari @ Colour Me Read (NYS Review + Illustration)
🍃 29th May 🍃
Fadwa @ Word Wonders (NYB Review + Aesthetic)
🍃 30th May 🍃
Ceillie @ Let’s Fox About It (NYB Review + Character Interview)
🍃 31st May 🍃
Avery @ The Book Deviant (NYB Review + Quiz)
🍃 1st June 🍃
Rita @ Bookish Rita (NYB Review + Quiz/Aesthetic)
🍃 2nd June 🍃
Laura @ Green Tea & Paperbacks (NYB Review + Creative Post)
🍃 3rd June 🍃
Lili @ Utopia State of Mind (NYB Review + Handlettering)
🍃 4th June 🍃
Nicky @ Small Queer, Big Opinions (Trilogy Review)
🍃 5th June 🍃
Kait @ Kaitlyn Gosiaco (NYB Review + Author Interview/Aesthetic)
🍃 6th June 🍃
Shenwei @ READING (AS)(I)AN AMERICA (NYB Review)
🍃 7th June 🍃
Janani @ The Shrinkette (Trilogy Review)