Hi everyone! Hope you’re keeping well! I’m back at a slightly better time today with a review of a book that really blew me away and that I can’t wait for the sequel of!
Title: Cute Mutants Vol. 1: Mutant Pride
Author: SJ Whitby
Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy, LGBT+, Young Adult
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Synopsis: 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.
Cute Mutants Vol. 1: Mutant Pride follows Dylan, an X-Men superfan, who after kissing Emma Hall at her party, wakes up with the ability to talk to objects. Soon she finds out that there are others who went to that party who also developed powers, including her boyfriend Lou and ice queen Dani Kim. However, there’s a rogue mutant-slash-incel wreaking havoc across the city by creating earthquakes. So, Dylan and the Cute Mutants set up a plan to take him down.
I originally found out about this novel through Amber’s review on Goodreads, and immediately put it on my TBR after seeing how much they loved it. However, after hearing on Twitter that it’s a sapphic X-Men but gayer, I knew I needed to have it in my hands, so I ordered it right away! I’ve seen nothing but glowing reviews for this novel and I can honestly say that I wholeheartedly agree with every one of them – I devoured this book and have already pre-ordered the sequel!
The writing style is extremely sarcastic and witty and feels very realistic – from the making fun of typos in text messages to Dylan’s sharp quips when talking back to the now sentient furniture! The book was very fast paced and had so much action – I never felt like the plot was lagging, or that I was just waiting for the next action scene to come. I would have loved a little more development on each character’s powers or even more training scenes – especially Bianca – but that’s just because that’s what I love to see in the X-Men movies (why didn’t they put the deleted training scenes in the First Class movie!!). Speaking of X-Men movies, I’m a huge fan and have been for years. Although I haven’t managed to get my hands on the comics (any help with where to start would be much appreciated!), there were so many hilarious references peppered throughout the book, including references to Cyclops being a bit of a killjoy, and Kitty Pryde’s name (and a dog called Summers – adorable)! Every time I read one it just made me beam from ear to ear and brought back all that nostalgia I had when I first discovered the X-Men! There were also a few references to K-Pop throughout, which was something I wasn’t expecting, but was pleasantly surprised by! As a side note – I too get fired up for something big, like a presentation or a rugby match, by listening to Stray Kids, just like Dylan does!
As I mentioned, the plot is very fast paced and full of action scenes. I think the tension was built up really well for each of the bigger ‘fight scenes’ and I think the writing style really lent itself to that – it was witty but still showed the gravity of the situation. While the book made me laugh frequently, there were also some sadder scenes, including one near the end with a certain inanimate (or in this case are they animate?) object, but I won’t spoil that for you! In fact, something I really loved about this book was the objects that Dylan can talk to. I loved pillow and batty and a certain flying car we meet near the end! I loved how pillow was always sighing and expressing her love for Lou while Dylan was kissing him, and every object’s voice was just so well defined and added an extra layer of comedy relief when things started to go a bit darker.
Dylan, our main character, is a bit of an outcast. She lives with her parent, Pear (another side note – such a cute name for a non binary parent which I may or may not steal when I have kids!), is a huge X-Men fan. Her only friend is her boyfriend, Lou, although we see a lot of conflict between the two throughout the book. I really loved Dylan as a main character. She’s extremely relatable, particularly when she’s being too hard on herself when she’s trying her best, or when she’s not quite sure if someone is her friend or not, but she desperately wants them to be! Lou, Dylan’s boyfriend, is trans, which was really refreshing to see! Unfortunately, he is misgendered frequently and is at an all-girl’s school, however, this is frequently challenged. At times I found Lou to be a bit of an unlikeable character – it never felt like he loved Dylan as much as she loved him, and he was incredibly jealous throughout the whole book, and for what seems like no reason. His miscommunication really annoyed me at times but I did like his almost redemption arc at the end!
I really loved the other members of the Cute Mutants! Ice queen Dani is portrayed as your typical hot, popular, bitchy high school girl at the start, but seeing her slowly soften as the book went on made me warm to her, and I loved her character development and how she dealt with her very painful power. Emma and Alyse were absolute rays of sunshine – Emma is the only member of the team without powers but she makes up for it by being a seriously amazing tech whiz and Alyse, despite having quite a difficult power to deal with, always tries to see the best in a situation and always cheers on the team. Bianca is a character I’m dying to know more about! Everything about her is just so mysterious, from her life at school to her relationship and even her power! I can’t wait to find out more about her in the sequels! Every member of the team had the cheesy superhero names which I loved and I also found it hilarious when they forgot to call each other by their superhero names and bickered afterwards as a result! Oh, and did I mention, almost every character in here is part of the LGBT+ community! There is a very slow burn sapphic romance in this book, and I’m not going to spoil it for you, but it’s so cute!!!
This was such a great first book in the Cute Mutant’s series that’s perfect for fans of both superhero movies and books with superheroes. There’s a whole cast of LGBT characters and an amazing found family! The action scenes are high stakes and there’s also some very sweet friendship and romantic scenes throughout. I highly, highly recommend this one and can’t wait for the sequel as the ending set up for an amazing premise!