• Well Red

Cute Mutants Rock!

Title: Cute Mutants Vol 1: Mutant Pride

Author: SJ Whitby Published: 2020

Publisher: SJ Whitby

Rating: ****.5

Genre: YA, Paranormal fiction, fantasy

Setting: I’m going to assume New Zealand?!

Difficulty: Easy

Pages: 401

Series: Yes, First in the Cute Mutants series.

Always spoiler free.

I won this book. I KNOW. I actually won something! And look at it – LOOK HOW COOL IT IS. I actually received the book a little way ago, but I didn’t know if it was an Xmas present from a family member, so it sat under my Xmas tree until I opened it on the 25th…what a great Xmas surprise gift!

Dylan wakes up one morning and her pillow can talk to her. She’s a lover of all things X-Men so she knows exactly what to do. Except things aren’t so simple in the real world, and with great power comes great responsibility, as Dylan’s about to find out…

Ah, I cannot remember the main character’s name again. I’m also watching Notting Hill, so that doesn’t help. Actually, I did keep getting characters mixed up in my head – specifically Dani with Bianca and Emma with Alyse, because I CAN’T DEAL WITH MULTIPLE CHARACTERS. Also, if you introduce more than one ‘good-looking’ character of the same gender, I am going to get confused!

So, I started reading this book, and my immediate thought was about how easy it was to read! The language is super simple. Not in a bad way, but in a I’m-coming-from-Harrow-the-Ninth’s-insanely-complex-plot-and-fancy-language-what-is-going-on way? This is simplicity at its finest, and let me just say I. Am. Here. For. It. It did confuse me at the beginning, as I began to wonder if this was more of a ‘middle-grade’ book. However, I can confirm this is definitely a YA book. (The level of swearing should tip you off, at the very least).

I’m all for using more complex language, but sometimes (as this book proves) it isn’t needed. This book is the kind of gateway book which would work really well to encourage older kids to read. I wish I had a book like this when I was 15/16. I would have felt so understood.

This book is incredibly nerdy. Again, I love it! You don’t need to be an X-men/teenager gif connoisseur to follow the plot, although a little bit of knowledge will just let you enjoy the Easter eggs a little more. It’s like Whitby wrote a book just for themselves, and it’s all the more joyful because of it. Like they gave zero fucks and went – this book is for me and my loved ones, and you can like it, or you can fuck off.

The representation in this book is insane, but what I enjoyed is that at the heart of it, it’s a story about a group of teens finding their people. I really resonated with the main character as well. She’s that level of awkwardness and bundle of confused emotions that I think almost every teen can relate to, but she’s also incredibly mature (way more than I was, or even am now!) and completely with it. That dichotomy is something I really loved reading.

There is a level of predictability, complete with some of the usual clichés although none of those annoying problematic ones (phew!). There are also some obvious plot points that aren’t a ‘surprise’ when they come to fruition, although I do acknowledge that was probably deliberately done by the author! The one thing that does occur in this book is the ‘absent parent’ syndrome that affects a lot of teenage books and shows, although Pear is a noticeable (sort-of) exception to this.

I have no idea where this book is set, FYI, I assumed America at the begin with because it was obviously not the UK and my default is the US but given that the author is from New Zealand it probably makes more sense that it is set there?!

I just have to say…I read this book in one go on Christmas Day, and I loved it. I really, really, really loved it. This book is the level of cool I always aspired to be. The cover, the plot…everything. It’s possibly the most realistic representation of teenagers I’ve ever read in a YA ‘fantasy’ novel. It was the kind of niche nerdy book that I wish I could have written. Seriously. This book is great. Read it. READ IT!

Well Red Reviews

Would I recommend this book? Yes

Favourite quote(s):

“She smiles and I am completely undone.”

“‘Fucking do it,’ I hiss to the building. ‘We need to make this right. We need to save people. We need to be Heroes.’ Self-loathing looks like rage when you’re this close to it.”

“I choose the one that says ‘zero emission’ on the back, because even in a crisis, let’s please take care of the fucking planet, why don’t we?”

“‘Maybe. I don’t really worry about labels. Like I don’t feel like I’m really a girl, but I don’t know what I am instead. My body doesn’t feel right, and if I could be an alien or a ray of light, I probably would. But I don’t know. I feel like I’m just me.”

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