Review: Not Your Backup by CB Lee

Not Your Backup is the third book in the Sidekick Squad series and it is honestly probably my favorite of them all.

Not Your Backup CoverEmma 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. (Goodreads) Goodreads


I received an eARC of Not Your Backup courtesy of The Quiet Pond’s book tour in exchange for an honest review.

Not Your Backup need trigger warnings for internal shame about asexual and aromantic questioning, science-fiction violence, government tracking and discussion of non-consensual medical experiments.

I listened to the first two books on audio, which I highly recommend. When I heard that Lee was getting into aromantic and asexual rep, I knew I needed to get in on the ground floor for this one. And wow, did she do a super job. (Pun intended. You’re welcome.)

Not Your Backup is a much quieter novel than Not Your Sidekick and Not Your Villain, 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.

This, along with struggling to understand and categorize her relationship with her best friend and boyfriend Bells, leads to a lot of internal struggle for Emma while they’re trying to save the world from an evil government.

Speaking of the aromantic and asexual representation, can I just say I absolutely loved how it was handled? The practice of having someone else who identifies similarly on the page talk to our main character and helping her figure it out? I loved it so much. It’s something that we get to see a lot with other queer characters, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it for ace folks.

I can’t wait for Not Your Hero, even though I know it’ll be a long time coming. In the meantime, you need to pick up a copy of Not Your Backup as soon as you can. You can do that through Amazon, Indiebound or The Book Depository.


Title: Not Your Backup

Series: Sidekick Squad #3

Author: CB Lee

Publisher: Duet Books

Length: 320 Pages

Release Date: June 1, 2019

Rating: Highly Recommended

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Science Fiction

Representation: Latina aromantic-spectrum asexual spectrum main character, Black trans man side character, biracial wlw side character, wlw side characters, aromantic asexual spectrum side characters.

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