Hello everyone! We’re thrilled to have C.B. Lee, author of Not Your Sidekick and Not Your Villain, on From Top to Bottom Reviews today! We have an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway waiting for you!
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.
The first day of school is always a chaos of familiar faces and new schedules and classes. Bells fidgets with the zipper of his leather-look jacket, readjusts his hair, and leans against the wall as he waits for Emma so they can walk to AP Biology together.
“Hey, Bells! Looking good!” “Cool jacket, Bells!”
“Love the green hair, dude!”
“Thanks, Jimmy,” Bells says, smiling. “Am I gonna see you in yearbook this year?” Jimmy is a sophomore who came out as trans last year. Nice kid, great at photography.
“Definitely!” Jimmy beams at him, his smile stretching from ear to ear. “See you later!”
Two girls walk past, whispering to one another. “Hi, Bells,” one says, nudging her friend.
“Hey. Daisy, right?” Bells guesses. He thinks she’s on the volleyball team; she looks familiar.
“Oh! Yes. Hi,” Daisy exhales; two spots of pink appear high on her cheeks. She giggles, grabs her friend by the elbow, and darts off. She’s not even a few feet away when Bells hears her saying to her friend, “He is so cool!”
“And cute! I can’t believe he knows who you are!”
Bells chuckles. He knows people know him at school, but it’s what he lets them know: the Bells who’s always ready with a comeback to teachers, who always has a joke ready, who can ease in and out of clubs and cliques like nothing; the guy with the cool hair and cool clothes—that Bells is the one most people see. He’s friendly with a lot of people, but no one knows him the way Emma and Jess do.
Emma appears around the corner, the laugh lines at the corners of her eyes crinkle when she sees Bells. “Hey,” she says, linking her arm in his. “Ready for class?”
“Now I am,” Bells says.
They get assigned lab partners in AP Biology according to last name, and Bells makes a face at Emma as they shuffle to their new seats. She gets paired up with a senior Bells doesn’t know, points at him, and winks at Bells.
Bells rolls his eyes and holds up eight fingers at her. The super-swooped hairstyle isn’t doing it for him, but the guy is pretty cute. Biology passes quickly, and then it’s time for history, which drags on and on. Who starts with an actual lesson on the first day?
Bells ignores the lecture and sketches instead. Moving quickly, the graphite of the pencil smudges as he guides it across the paper. He captures every whorl of Emma’s hair and the tilt of her head as she rests her chin in her hands while intently watching Thalhofer explain the history of the Western regions, including the settling of Andover. Forgetting the lesson, forgetting himself, he commits Emma’s likeness to paper.
“Huh?” Bells sets down his pencil, but it’s too late to hide the sketchbook. Thalhofer, already at his desk, is glaring at him.
“If you have enough time to draw your girlfriend, I’m sure you already know why the settlers chose to name our town Andover.”
“Um… old rich white dude decided to name this new town after his favorite place on the East Coast?”
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(Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Not Your Villain// Five winners receive a multi-format eBook)
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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.
Blog Tour Genre: Sci-Fi Genre: Young Adult Identity: Transgender Orientation: Bisexual Pairing: M/M Publisher: Interlude Press Tag: Part of a series Tag: PoC C.B. Lee Not Your Villain Sidekick Squad series