REVIEW: CUTE MUTANTS BY SJ WHITBY
Okay hey, welcome back, it’s Yves. Let’s get right into it.
Cute Mutants by SJ Whitby is one of my favourite books in a long time, and here’s why.
Goodreads Blurb: My name is Dylan Taylor, human incarnation of the burning dumpster gif, and this is my life.
I always wanted to be an X-Man. Except people and me never got along, and apparently you need social skills to run a successful team. Cue Emma Hall’s party. One hot make out session with the host herself, and I can talk to objects like my pillow (who’s far too invested in my love life) and my baseball bat (who was a pacifist before I got hold of him). Now there’s a whole group of us with strange abilities, including super hot ice queen Dani Kim who doesn’t approve of how reckless I can be. The bigger problem is a mysterious mutant causing unnatural disasters, and we’re the ones who have to stop him. Except trying to make a difference makes things blow up in my face and the team’s on the verge of falling apart. Can I bring them back together in time to stop the villain from taking revenge? Have I mentioned I’m not a people person? Magneto help us.
Storytime: I won an e-book of Cute Mutants in a giveaway run by SJ (@sjwhitbywrites) and Maddy (@MaddyGoLucky). It took SJ and I a while to figure out how to get the e-book to me (thanks Amazon for being a little bitch) but we got there eventually—big huge thank yous to SJ for being so patient and generous and wonderful while I was screaming into the void!!!
So that was all sorted, I had the book on my Kindle, I was charging through my TBR, and life was good.
And then, almost immediately afterwards, I got into a two-week reading slump, crashed and burned on my dissertation, and nearly threw my entire King Arthur manuscript in the bin.
But then I realised I was being stupid because a) the book that killed all motivation for my dissertation wasn’t even relevant and I didn’t have to read it, I was just being stupid and/or stubborn b) my manuscript needed some love and affection and c) no wonder I had no energy to read—I didn’t have any energy for anything at all lmao [*quietly, from a distance*: it’s mental illness innit]
But but BUT I DNFd the waste-of-time dissertation book (yum), knuckled down with my manuscript (ahahaha pain), and picked up Cute Mutants.
And it was the superhero tonic I never knew I needed.
Let’s be honest here: I am not a comics person. I want to be a comic book person more than anything, but I simply am not. I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’ve tried again. My brain just can’t deal with cool art AND plot at the same time. I am simply too smooth-brain for that shit.
So a superhero book with a super pretty cover but—thank god— prose, no pictures? I was all in and it worked SO WELL. It gave me huge Netflix Original vibes (adapt it adapt it adapt it) with the fresh dialogue, snappy action, and also the realism of how the teen characters are depicted.
The characters in this book are so fecking messy. Like the premise: our MC Dylan had a yikes/pretty good makeout session with popular girl Emma Hall and, right afterwards, developed the ability to talk to objects. Her entire room has basically become sentient and started giving her life advice/parenting her, right down to how she spends her ~private time~ with boyfriend Lou (who is a trans guy and whose transition and self-perception are beautifully handled).
The entire mutant squad is just… perfect. There’s a whole gang of them, and each and every one has powers with a twist. I won’t spoil anything because honestly the powers were one of the coolest things about this book, but there’s one character who has to get uhhhh,,,, hot and bothered,,, for their power to come to light. So. That was pretty funny.
The X-Men references throughout were probably super funny if you got them, which I didn’t, but you know what? They kinda made me want to watch the movies. I’ve seen like,,, one. So I got that Quicksilver reference! I know things!
[insert captain America gif that isn’t completely overused hahaha no not at all]
To be honest with you, my favourite thing about this book wasn’t the gloriously queer squad, the fantastic action, the juicy dark twists it took towards the end (!!!)… it was the fun. There was just such a sense throughout that SJ loves this book and loved writing it, and in my eyes there is nothing better than being able to see the joy an author puts into their work. Cute Mutants is written with passion and energy and it shows through in every single word.
One final note: those of you who know me might recall the Great Star Trek Breakdown of Winter 2019. Basically I was living in France and I knew like two (2) people and life sucked, and me and a friend threw ourselves into the Star Trek reboot movies so hard it’s surprising we didn’t end up with whiplash. It fully consumed our lives and became 200% of our personalities to this day.
Well, honestly, I have a feeling Cute Mutants Volume Two is going to give me that same obsession-in-freefall feeling, and I can’t wait.
Buy Cute Mutants Vol. 1 here: