Not Your Villain By CB Lee
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.
Sometimes, to do a hero’s job, you need to be a villain.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.B. Lee is a bisexual writer based in California. She is a first-generation Asian American and holds a BA in sociology and environmental science, which occasionally comes in handy in her chosen career, but not usually. Lee enjoys reading, hiking, rock climbing and other outdoor pursuits.
Not Your Sidekick (2016) was named a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Awards and the Bisexual Book Awards. Lee’s first novel, Seven Tears at High Tide (2015), was also a Bisexual Book Awards finalist. She is a Lambda Literary Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow.
ISBN (Trade) 978-1-945053-25-2
ISBN (eBook) 978-1-945053-43-6
Series Title: Sidekick Squad, Book Two
Pub Date: October 5, 2017
Pages: 320 (79,500 words)
Price: $16.99 print/$6.99 multi-format eBook
Publisher: Duet, the Young Adult imprint of Interlude Press
Cover Design: CB Messer
The basement in the Trans’ home has always been their domain, where they hang out after school and eat junk food and lounge about and have movie marathons. Jess decorated it with posters of The Hay Hays, her favorite band, which Bells admits to liking too, however cheesy their music is, and of the cast members of Vindicated. There are dozens of holos of Jess and Emma and Bells together, and he’s pleased to see new holos of Jess and Abby giggling and laughing with their MonRobots.
“This meeting is coming to order!” Emma bangs the gavel on the table. Where did she get a gavel?
Emma beams at them and asks for team name suggestions. Bells looks at Jess, who looks at Abby, who looks back at Bells, and the three of them stare at Emma as she rattles off possible team names, ending with, “And my favorite, the Sidekick Squad.”
Abby raises her hand. “I’m not a sidekick. I don’t think any of us are.”
Emma laughs. “I know we aren’t; it’s ironic.” She points at the title and nods enthusiastically. “It’s funny. Like we’re owning it, because some people would call us sidekicks, but we’re not.”
“I like it!” pipes up a voice from the door. Brendan carries in a tray of what looks like the inner workings of many different devices. Brendan sets up a desktop projector and hooks up, not a DED, but a large, square console.
“Wait, what’s Shorty doing here?” Emma asks.
“I’m part of the Sidekick Squad too!” Brendan doesn’t look up from his strange-looking console. “I organized this meeting—”
“Uh uh, no kid brothers,” Emma starts. “When did you even—”
“He figured it out.” Jess shrugs.
Hands on her hips, Emma glares at Brendan. “You didn’t organize this; I did. You just complained about how insecure our communications were. And your huge ‘secret to be disclosed location’ was so obvious—”
“Right, like you’re so great at running a covert operation, talking openly in messages—”
Jess sighs. “Look, you know Brendan’s a genius. He’s a brilliant engineer, not to mention a bunch of other things.”
“Explosions, Jess—” Emma folds her arms together.
“I don’t think he’s made anything explode by accident in the last year,” Bells says, which earns him a pleased smile from Brendan.
“If anything explodes, that’s on purpose,” Brendan says, blushing. He nudges aside the main projector with Emma’s datachip in it and gets to work on an entirely new system. His hands fly as he sets up a desktop projector and an old-school keyboard, which has actual buttons.
Abby chuckles. “Neat.”
“I like the clickety-clack noise they make,” Brendan says.
“Yeah, totally vintage,” Abby says. “Not as convenient as typing on a projector-board, but very cool. Your little bro’s got style, Jess.” The holo projector gleams to life, and a cool blue light illuminates a stylized text that reads: Sidekick Squad.