Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee

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5stars

Title: Not Your Villain
Author: C.B. Lee
Series: Sidekick Squad #2

Number of pages: 307 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I loved reading the story through Bells’ eyes.
Bad things about this book: It left me wanting for more and now I have to wait.
Do I recommend it? Yes!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I love Bells and I loved him as a narrator. Maybe this book had less action than the first, but it had more details about meta-humans. The bad guys weren’t in this as much as I would’ve liked, I guess they’re going to be all together for the grand finale?? I sure hope so! I want to see our heroes kick some corrupted meta-humans’ butts.

I liked how the first chapters took place during some events of the previous book, and we could see some scenes from Bell’s point of view. From book 1 I already knew Bells was a good friend, even if he was keeping a pretty big secret, he was crushing on Emma, he was a caring son, a boy everyone seemed to love and want a piece of. This book confirmed everything I knew and introduced me to a whole new part of Bells; he is emotional, respectful, is scared but it doesn’t mean he’ll give up. He keeps going, for his friends, for his family, for his fellow meta-humans, for the world. He wants to be a hero even if now the world thinks of him as the most wanted villain in the country.

Bells is strong, but how strong? He has a lot of stamina, but just how much? We’ll find out so much about Bells in this book and I loved every second of it. He is a fragile thing, putting on a smile even if he’s hurting inside. I think he is the bravest of them all.

In Not Your Sidekick we got a glimpse of Jess’ genius younger brother, and in Not Your Villain he is part of the action. He is a delight. Sassy and shy at the same time. He has a crush on Bells and that’s just the cutest thing ever: how he acts around Bells is adorable. I hope we get to see more of him in the third book: he deserves a book for himself after the book from Emma’s pov. Will he get it? I have my doubts, but I’ll love to read something from his pov, even if it’s a short story.

Captain Orion is kidnapping meta-humans, the Collective is keeping everything under wraps, the League is not easily trusted anymore, and defense robots (more like killer robots) will make getting to the bottom of the corruption situation a lot harder that I thought. With all of that going on, and personal feelings getting in the way, Bells will have one hell of an adventure. I’ll miss him as a narrator a lot, I love reading about his emotions and everything that went on in his head.

The third book can’t come soon enough. I’m already very impatient!!

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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

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4stars

I thought about how every person could hold two truths inside of them, how impossible it felt sometimes to have your insides and outsides aligned.

Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Good things about this book: Amanda is a delightful and strong character!
Bad things about this book: Nothing bad just but check for triggers before reading.
Do I recommend it? I do!
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This is a very difficult book to review because I will never understand what it means to be Amanda. I will never be in her position; to have the same fears she has, to not being able to be a 100% true to the people she knows and to herself. At the end of the book there is the note from the author explaining how it must be viewed, either if you are trans like Amanda or if you identify with the gender you were born with.

In the note the author writes about how she simplified the struggles Amanda has to face to made us understand her better without asking ourselves too many questions; can people tell she is trans? No, because she is very feminine. Will people see she is trans by mistake while entering the bathroom unannounced? No, because she could afford a surgery most people wouldn’t be able to pay. Will they see her as a girl even after knowing she wasn’t born with the body of one? Read the book and find out.

“You can have anything,” she said, “once you admit you deserve it.”

I know trans people but knowing them and seeing them transitioning doesn’t mean you understand everything they’re going through and what they are feeling. I can only be myself and see them how they want to be seen, how they are on the inside that they want to be seen also on the outside. So one day he is a guy’s name and the next day she is a girl and she stays a girl, so what? They tell me they have a new name, new pronoun to use and that’s that. From my part, I can’t see why it has to be hard.

People frustrate me. They give hate to the wrong people for no reasonable motive; they spend so much energy hating something so simply to understand with a little effort. Sometimes I think they want to be scared of something so badly to feel better with themselves that they don’t care to see they are “scared” for absolutely no reason. For example I can’t stop being angry for the “bathroom issue” and I smile every time a place doesn’t have different bathrooms for different genders. Little steps. Maybe too little sometimes.

We have three bathrooms at work. One is on the first floor and everyone can go because there is no sign on the door. The other two were mistakenly decorated with the male and female symbol on the door and if the male one is occupied, the male coworkers wait instead of going inside the other one. A simple sticker on the door plays so hard with their minds they are willingly waiting hours to pee instead of putting their masculinity in danger going inside the girl’s bathroom. The reason I’ve been told? “It feels weird, it’s for girls.” How dumb is that? It’s the exact same bathroom as the other two, only with a sticker on the door. A stinking sticker with zero value, zero utility.

This book made me see things differently, not only because it takes place in the USA and I live in Italy so many things don’t happen here or I simply failed to look closer. I don’t go out much so I only have three places to compare experiences: my workplace, my house and the LGBTIQA+ community I’m a member of. I don’t really know the real world and even if I had struggles growing up, being an immigrant latina in a white country, I have to say I’m privileged enough to have lived my life peacefully. That’s how it has to be for everyone else and we will keep fighting, we will keep marching, keep doing whatever we can, even if small, to make the world a better place for every single person living in it.

I realized, I wasn’t sorry I existed anymore. I deserved to live. I deserved to find love. I knew now—I believed, now—that I deserved to be loved.

I’m sorry I didn’t talk about the book, mainly to avoid spoilers also because some books need to be experienced without insights, but rest assured I liked it and I recommend it. It is hard, it is triggering (so, beware), it isn’t for everyone but if you want a book that gives you a point of view you are missing and you want to understand then this is a book you have to read.

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George by Alex Gino

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“My point is, it takes a special person to cry over a book. It shows compassion as well as imagination.”

Title: George
Author: Alex Gino
Why you should read this book: It teaches you how the distinctions of genders are affecting young children with the acceptance of who they really are.

George sees herself in the mirror and sees a boy, but she is not a boy, she is a girl. She is only 10 and is surrounded by gender standards, like when her class is supposed to play “Charlotte’s Web” and she is denied the role of Charlotte because she is not technically a girl. With the help of her friend, Kelly, George is determined to play Charlotte and let her family and the entire world see her the way she has always felt, a girl!

“George stopped. It was such a short, little question, but she couldn’t make her mouth form the sounds.
Mom, what if I’m a girl?

Such a cute little book with an incredibly important message. Easy to read, easy to understand, it reaches the hearts of grown ups and little ones. It shows you how society makes kids feel uncomfortable because it makes them fit in certain boxes: boys line to enter school, boys roles to get in plays, boy characters to choose while playing videogames, etc.

George is only 10 years old and she feels out of place. Her body is male but she is a girl. How to make everyone understand and accept it? She wants to play Charlotte in the school’s play, she wants to wear girl clothes, she wants people to start seeing her as she really is.

This book doesn’t have major plot twists, parts in which you really hate someone, but it has a lot of parts where you clearly see how George is afraid of telling her family, friends and teacher the truth because tolerance and being open minded is not teached from a very young age, bullies and ignorants are everywhere. Reality is not teached to little kids, a reality with so many kinds of people in it. They grow up unaware of how different people are: they think there is only boy and girl, blue for boys pink for girls, pants for boys skirt for girls, etc.

I was really sad seeing George suffering and I was mad at the world for being such an inhospitable place for a pure little soul like hers.

Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s written really well and George is an adorable little girl.
Rate: 4/5
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