Sidekick Blog Tour: Review, Discussion & Giveaway!

Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on the last of Sidekick's blog tour hosted by Oops! I Read Again Tours. Scroll down to check out my thoughts about this great book, including an awesome discussion with my friend Jessica L. Brooks from Let Me Tell You A Story (also hosting a stop today, check out her blog!) and an international giveaway! Thanks so much for stopping by and please, enjoy. :)
About The Book:

Name: Sidekick
Author: Natalie Whipple
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Whipple House
Published: November 10th 2015
Page Count: 356 pages
Source: Tour host in exchange for my honest review.

Goodreads Blurb:
Russ is tired of coming in second to his best friend, Garret. Whether it's in sports, in school, or with girls, he can never get ahead. Something has to change, and when a new girl comes to town he sees his chance. He has to win her over before Garret does, but proving he's not second best won't be easy when Garret is a pro.

Russ will do anything to beat Garret, including using his little sister to get closer to the new girl. He has to be careful, though, because if anyone at school finds out he attends anime night (and he might even enjoy it), it would ruin his reputation, just like his secret love for cooking and James Taylor.

But pretending to be something he isn't will catch up to him eventually, and Russ can only get away with living two lives for so long. As more than one friend reveals they aren't who they seem, Russ must figure out what and who he really wants in his life. And more than that, he needs to find the courage to make it happen.
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 4/5 stars

Sidekick turned out to be not only a great read but also an excellent book for discussion. There are several topics dealt inside this book that I think many readers will find relatable, and thus, will greatly connect with some of the characters, specially with Russ.

Sidekick is a book about friendships, popularity and pretending to be something else for the sake of fitting in. How you can only fool yourself for a while but eventually will tire of keeping up face, and that despite your best efforts, you'll only end up hurting the people you love, the ones that really care about the "real you". 

I loved that for once, this book is set in places I've visited before (Fresno and Clovis, California), and although I don't remember much of them, I feel this certain connection. Like if this story really did happen and I might bump into Russ or Garret or any of the other cast of characters. Or buy a BURGER at Parker's. Yes, bucketlist! Must find a burger joint like this one.

Like I said before, friendship is one of the most important themes about Sidekick and it all had to do with the amazing characters found here. I loved how quirky and diverse they all were. Everyone had their own little secrets and insecurities, and that's what made them even more awesome. Except for one *shakes fist*. There's Izzy (Russ' younger sister), Daphne (favorite and most awesomest of the bunch!), Trent (great side character) and Garret (confused bestie). 

I loved the romance that sprouts between Russ and a certain girl I liked to read about. It was so sweet. Definitely thumbs up for this!

Hehe, and here I thought I was writing a mini review! As you can see, I really liked Sidekick and I do recommend it if you are looking for a fun contemporary. But be warned, you might get hungry with all the talk of food.  BURGERS. Yum! 


Sidekick Discussion

And now, the lovely Jessica L. Brooks from Let Me Tell You A Story and I discussed Sidekick! It was so much fun, I loved having someone to share my thoughts with and I'm happy to share it with you all. Hope you enjoy!

I shall write in RED.Bold red. *taps mic*



Okay, so Russ. What are your thoughts?

Russ. I think I liked him as a character but he was always so contradicting. And he made things harder than they really were.

Right. Like, at first, I was really frustrated with the guy. Hello, senior stud, you’re obviously absolutely clueless to everything. How can that happen? A jock, clueless? So it annoyed me a bit. But then I thought, hmmm, if this was the exact same scenario but a GIRL, would I be reacting this way? That calmed me a little.

Yes! In reality, that’s why I think I tolerated Russ more. It’s normal to come across a girl MC that doesn’t really have a clue about how awesome she is, but with a male mc? Not that common. Sort of reminded me why Stephenie Meyer wrote Life after Death.

Hmmm I have to admit I haven’t gotten to that one yet. *cries* But I get what you mean. And it’s true. It’s less common. Me neither, but I read that on an interview hehe. OH! LOL

I think what got to me (you know, those little character traits that pick at you) most was how he was so adamant about hiding everything about himself. And then, even though I still found it frustrating, I had to remember that there ARE clicks and people ARE judgmental like that. In fact, there was a quote I highlighted about that. Let me find it…

People are waiting for you to screw up, so you have to make sure they never have a chance to realize what a loser you really are. That’s all popularity is--pretending to be cool. No one is actually cool.
Which is somewhat true, though I think many people are cool, I think it boils down to the fact that everyone has their own definition of “cool”.

I loved that quote! There are many cool quotes like this one in here. I highlighted one when he was talking about Chefs, sent that to my sister since she always gets “shunned” for choosing that career.

:/ That’s sad. *sends hugs to your sis*

You know, putting Russ a bit aside, I was actually surprised to have the secondary characters turn into important ones as the story progressed.

Totally agree with you. I loved the secondary characters. (Well, except for one… *shakes head*)

Ohemgee. That character was CRAZY. Like, what the muffins?! Unexpected. I mean, I was expecting some misunderstandings and jealousy and well, normal stuff. But then this character turns out to be just sick.

Here’s what got me: the fact that she had no conscience about what she was doing. That bothered me more than anything. Talk about messing with people’s heads.
The nerve. And she never learns. She never feels guilt and I’m really curious to know what happens to her in the end. The other guy sort of like saunters towards her and that’s it. That part was darker than the rest of the book.

I don’t want to get into details, because spoilers, but this made me laugh (when they go into Parker’s and Russ says): Are you sure you don’t want two? You could always save the other one for later...


LOL. That was funny! Right there was when I stopped thinking badly of Russ. He didn’t sound like a Sidekick to me at all. Wish I had awesome comebacks like him.

What I enjoyed about Sidekick was how that kind of began to slip away as he began to prioritize. Took the guy long enough, but still. He went from, This is like turning the world upside down and declaring anarchy… Garret’s calling me over to the freak table. to deciding who stinking cares about that, because I care for someone, and if anybody thinks they can hurt that person, well… BAM.

They aren’t worth his time. so BYE. (we can forget that LOL). Anyway, what frustrated me a bit was how Garret seemed to have this BIG secret at the beginning, and well, it’s not that big. It’s just self-harm because of jealousy and popularity. I was expecting something more from him as a character. He was weak, to me at least.

I agree. And that all did annoy me, don’t get me wrong. But the more I think about it, the more I think that’s a LOT of guys in high school. No matter what sport or extracurricular activity. I see it daily. Trying to fit in. Not sure where you work in the overall scheme of high school groups. So the weakness, in my opinion, was actually a lack of self-esteem. Which almost all teens have. Some show it outwardly (say, overly obnoxious so they appear confident; or always knocking compliments even though they’re the best looking because they truly do think they’re ugly); others take on things they don’t even like just to fit in. Daphne definitely did that. She hid her favorite things at times just like Russ did. (Obviously not *all* kids who are considered popular think they aren’t--but I think most of that crowd is also insecure. Like LANCE. WAIT WHAT WAS HIS NAME AGAIN?)



beats me, I was like WHAT LANCE o.o

Speaking of Lance (hahahaha kidding!) :Dallas, he wasn’t actually a bad character. He just wanted to be like Garret. The most popular guy’s bestie.The sidekick. Still a jerk though.

YAS! Exactly!

And I knew it! Told you about Daphne. hehehehe

I LOVE DAPHNE, DAPHNE’S MY FAVORITE. *insert Elf emoji here*

She was truly the coolest. Eccentric, smart, and overall COOL. Not like Izzy. I liked her and thought she was a cool sister at first but dude, what a crazy girl! She at times came off as REALLY mean.

I liked how Russ was able to talk to her (and make amends WITH PANCAKES). That was a great sibling thing. That’s one thing Natalie writes well, I think: those heartfelt interactions.

Oh, he was a really great brother (if we forget all those times calling her and her friends freak in public haha). Another funny thing was how everybody was like: “oh, you look sexy/hot when cooking” and he was always like “I look like a pansy”.

As an outsider looking in, yeah, that was annoying. But somewhere, somehow, we all get those ideas in our minds, sometimes. I mean, I know authors even do. “I’m lame. I’m not good enough. I’m so below so and so.” (Now if we could just get people to walk around telling us WE’RE HOT hahaha)

Hehehe we should…. B-) Trent. Wait, it is Trent, right? I liked that boy and his family’s business. Does it really exist in Clovis?

Yes! And not that I know of. I’ve never heard of it. But I enjoyed reading about Riverpark (shout out to the bestest Barnes and Noble, BTW) and other Fresno/Clovis related things. In fact, we went to Clovis yesterday (used bookstore called A Book Barn--check it out, locals!) and after all of that burger talk, I HAD to get one while we were there!

Yum! I’ve never visited Riverpark, only a Hometown Buffet, a theater right besides a mall (watched New Moon with dad and UGH) and that’s it. Can’t remember much of Fresno. But next time I shall visit those places!

It’s food, shopping, and the big Edwards theater. You could go there and hang out all day just fine. :)

Overall, I have to agree with the author (read the acknowledgements!) that Sidekick is indeed a book about friendships and then, misunderstandings. A lot of things that happen may seem a bit too much or too middle grade (?) but think it nailed how sometimes, like you said, even the most popular person in the whole world has lots of insecurities and may even think of himself/herself as a sidekick. Or not know how much they are worth or who the real friends are.

True. Though I wish I could say it’s only a middle grade thing, with having three daughters currently in high school, I see/hear about this sort of thing often. (Not a kid like Russ specifically, but that struggle for people to find their place, to be able to step out and do different things, and be comfortable with it, ect.) For some reason, our human tendency is to fall back on labels and we have a hard time being cool with NOT giving them to people and accepting them if they have a little bit of a few labels instead of one specific one. That’s not only a teen struggle, but a human one.
Is US High School really that tough? I don’t recall as many labels here in Mexico. Sure, we have the popular ones and all, but not that much. I don’t even remember which label I fell upon, or if I had one. o.o UNPOPULAR LOL

But to WHOSE standard of popular? That’s what I mean. In every school (watch every YA movie and you’ll see the same thing… Clueless, Mean Girls, and so on), there’s groups. The ASB (student body) kids, the artsy kids, the smart (or AP or this or that club) kids, the jocks… I could go on and on. I’m not saying that those groups don’t have individuals who step out and do things outside of their little bubbles… but there IS a struggle to feel accepted (by certain people) at times when one does belong to a few different groups. I’d say there’s a lot of embracing one another here, as well… but it all boils back to the whole security vs. insecurity thing. At the end of the day, Russ was insecure because of the way he PERCEIVED everything. When he saw things differently, look at how the situations changed.

When he realized HE was the popular one, more like the one everybody wanted to be, he embraced his singularity and realized he didn’t need to fit anywhere else except with the people he wanted to be with. I liked that. And it didn’t mean he was the best person ever, but he realized that’s who he was and accepted it.


I mean…

I’M EMBRACING IT. What was the name of the place again? I feel like I’d die if I ever ate one of those burgers. But I’d totally want to try one LOL.

It was Lance’s.


HAHAA. Will never forget Lance ♥
About The Author:
Natalie Whipple grew up in the Bay Area and relocated to Utah for high school, which was quite the culture shock for her anime-loving teen self. But the Rocky Mountains eventually won her over, and she stuck around to earn her degree in English linguistics at BYU, with a minor in editing. Natalie still lives in Utah with her husband and three kids, and keeps the local Asian market in business with all her attempts to cook.

She is the author of the TRANSPARENT series, HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW, the I'M A NINJA series, FISH OUT OF WATER, and MY LITTLE BRONY (under K.M. Hayes). In addition to that, she is on the writing team for the cRPG Torment: Tides of Numenera that should be out sometime in 2015.

1 comment:

  1. Love the sound of this one, and who doesn't love burgers?!