hello hello! sorry it has been a minute, but im back with a review of CUTE MUTANTS by SJ Whitby as part of the blog tour hosted by Shut Up Shealea via Caffeine Book Tours (note: I received a free copy via them and sj whitby for review purposes; all opinions are my own)
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Review: So, I’m absolutely obsessed with this book??? I’ve never read or watched X-Men, so some of the references didn’t really resonate with me as much, but I can still appreciate a LGBT reclaiming when I see one, and respect it!
I read for sapphic rep, and y’all, the sapphic relationship?? A1! They’re both adorable and I ship them very much. Though I will say that relationship with their curent boyfriend for most of the book left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. This did not impact my rating at all, but I’m torn on whether or not I liked his rep (he’s a trans guy). On the one hand, we absolutely need to see all forms of trans rep, and Lou was jealous and manipulative, but he’s also human – reacting to his world in the way that is very teenage, but also has that extra level of dealing with transphobia. But it also made me a bit uncomfortable to see him barely have any redeeming qualities? Like, he’s a decent person, as demonstrated by his willingness to care even for “villians,” but even the main character struggled to describe him as “kind.” This is something I’m going to continue chewing on, because I don’t believe we should only have one-dimensional, entirely perfect trans representation.
Moving on, though, I absolutely love the platonic friendships in this, especially between Dylan and Alyse. At first, I thought they were the OTP, but honestly, they truly are better off as friends, and their friendship is so pure and needed for Dylan, who has one friend before this (Lou).
Speaking of which, *spoiler* but I love that the character’s super powers are manifestations of things they are currently working through? I’m not going to walk through them, because the author does for most of them, but I thought this was so clever, and it didn’t even click for me until that scene.
Though I will say, while this scene of telling rather than showing worked for me, personally, I thought there were several other scenes that could’ve benefited from showing rather than telling. It’s not that I necessarily mind it in it’s current form (for example, I *love* Dylan’s internal narration, and SJ Whitby’s casual writing style), but there were a few scenes where I felt the point was already a bit obvious, and would’ve love to see, for example, reactions rather than being told that was hold someone reacted. And honestly, I think the book overall could’ve used another round of edits or two, for this purpose, but also to tighten up a few parts.
All in all, this was a fun read that I recommend to anyone looking for a fantasy sapphic read, especially to any superhero fans. Specifically, if you liked this, I recommend checking out Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke, because they had similar vibes (both plot wise, but also writing style).