Title: Sidekick
Author: Natalie Whipple
Publisher: Whipple House
Date of Publication: November 10, 2015
Russ is a high school football player who feels like he always comes in second to his best friend, Garret. In sports. In school. With girls. Well, he’s tired of it, and he gets the rather foolish idea that if he can win the heart of the new girl in town before Garret he can prove he’s not just sloppy seconds.
His plan? Use his anime-obsessed sister’s group, who has befriended the new girl, to get closer to her. He’d never tell the team, but he’s been going to Anime Night for years and might even enjoy it. That would ruin his reputation, just like his secret love for cooking and James Taylor.
But pretending to be something you aren’t catches up to you eventually, and Russ can only get away with living two lives for so long. As more than one person reveals they have something to hide, Russ must figure out what and who he really wants in his life. And more than that, he needs the courage to make it happen.
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whipple1About Natalie Whipple
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.



Excerpt #1

Something’s up with Garret. I know this because he sits perfectly still next to me when usually he’s in constant motion. His eyes say he’s somewhere far away from this party and all the people celebrating his winning catch. No one else will notice, but I’m his best friend. It’s kind of my job.

I elbow him. “What’s up?”

He startles, as if he honestly forgot where he was. “Nothing, man. Just tired.”

I don’t believe him, but before I can ask anything else Mercedes shows up. She glances at me and waves. “Hey, Russ, mind if I steal him for a while?”

“What if I said no?”

She laughs and sits on his lap, attaching her face to his. That would be my cue to find another seat, because the last thing I want to see up close is Garret making out with his girlfriend. It’s bad enough that I’ve had to endure so many of them over the years while never having one myself.

I grab a beer from the counter and crack it open. I don’t really like the stuff – especially when it’s cheap crap like this – but you can’t be a school athlete without at least looking like you drink. Especially after smashing your rivals at Homecoming. But nothing seems right tonight. No post-game high. Nothing. This party is like déjà vu, and I get the feeling my whole senior year will be the same. Football games, parties, girls, school. Rinse and repeat.

Out of nowhere, Garret pushes Mercedes off him and says something to her. I can’t tell what it is over the blaring music, but she gives him that I’m-trying-to-be-the-understanding-girlfriend smile. Then she hugs him, and he pulls away.

I get it now. Garret’s getting restless. It’s always the same pattern: Garret gets swarmed by girls, he picks one, dates her, gets bored, and breaks her heart. We’ve now hit the “I’m bored out of my mind” phase. I give her a week, which means I must prepare. Since I am his best friend, every single girl campaigning to be the next trophy on Garret Taylor’s arm will suddenly want to be my friend.



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