Review: C.B. Lee – Not Your Backup

I was sent an eARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

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.

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.

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.

Just a little heads up: if you preorder this book before May 31st (it comes out on June 4th), you can request a really fun preorder package!

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