Erin Grammar writes about horrible things happening to good people—while looking as cute as humanly possible. When she isn’t working on her latest novel, she likes to hunt for gemstones and Hello Kitty collectibles, spend time with her family (including two real and very demanding cats), craft, watch horror movies, and style wigs big enough to hold tons of secrets.
She lives in Southern California because she’s an actual lizard, and without constant heat she’ll die. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @eringrammar
Fight like a magical girl in this paperback original contemporary fantasy in which a Harajuku fashionista battles mutants—and social anxiety—by teaming up with an elite group of outcasts. Perfect for those obsessed with the technicolor worlds of Sailor Moon, The Umbrella Academy, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Book One of the Magic Mutants Trilogy.
Holly Roads uses Harajuku fashion to distract herself from tragedy. Her magical girl aesthetic makes her feel beautiful—and it keeps the world at arm’s length. She’s an island of one, until advice from an amateur psychic expands her universe. A midnight detour ends with her vs. exploding mutants in the heart of San Francisco.
Brush with destiny? Check. Waking up with blue blood, emotions gone haywire, and terrifying strength that starts ripping her wardrobe to shreds? Totally not cute. Hunting monsters with a hot new partner and his unlikely family of mad scientists?
Way more than she bargained for.
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Thank you to the author for providing me with a advanced copy of this book so that I could partake in the street team for this book.
Thoughts and Themes: I was so pleased to get to be a part of the street team for this book even prior to reading it and then was even happier once I finished reading the book. I really enjoyed getting the chance to read this book and it felt like I was getting a chance to be in this world. It was really nice to feel like I was a part of this world especially since I missed conventions, cosplay, etc. because of the pandemic.
This book manages to mix Sci-Fi elements with the contemporary world which had me hooked right from the start. It took me into a time in which the pandemic didn’t exist and I got to enjoy my favorite activities through immersion into Holly’s world. Similarly to how Holly now has people she would protect at all costs to her, this book gave me a character that I hate to love and would defend to the end. This book has the theme of found family all throughout it and that is something that I really enjoy especially when it comes to queer characters.
I really liked how the author gave us the trigger warnings for this book ahead of time so I knew what to expect in terms of that. One thing I really liked was how much of Holly’s social anxiety we see in the way she speaks to others and her actions. I really did like how that was displayed throughout the story because it felt so real to me. I can understand why others would not find Holly to be a likeable character but when you see so much of yourself in a character it’s hard not to like them.
The more I think about this book and the characters, the more I really love it. I can’t wait for my pre-order to arrive so that I can just go ahead and give the whole thing a re-read. I love the twist at the end of the story that really makes me unable to wait for the next book. I need to know what happens to my favorite character and new son who I will protect at all costs.
I recommend this to those of you who enjoy Harajuku fashion, Lolita, Cosplay, science fiction, messy queer characters, and strong female protagonist.
Characters: Throughout this story you get to meet Holly, who is our main character and several of the other members of N.E.R.D. You also briefly get to meet Holly’s friend along with one of the mutants. Our main characters include Holly, Nunez, Brannon, Chi Ho, Kyle, and Dr. Laura. I really love that most of our main characters have some kind of queer identity and that we really get a diverse cast of characters.
I really want more of these character’s backstory and am hoping that we will get more of that in the next book. I liked that we got some of Nunez’s backstory and got to learn how he became a part of N.E.R.D. I felt that we also got a bit of that from Kyle and that really added to the whole story. I can’t tell you much about any of their backstory because it really would ruin parts of the plot so you’ll just have to read to find out.
I really enjoyed the way that the relationships between Holly and the others developed and liked the idea of a found family for her. I liked how that aspect was written into this story and how this new found family adds to her character development. I really want to read more to see how this found family helps Holly develop and if it eases her social anxiety at all.
Writing Style: The story is told in first person through Holly’s perspective which is something I really enjoyed. I liked how much of the story is taking place in her head and how we follow along with her thoughts. The way that this is written really allows the reader to see how anxiety driven her thoughts are and how her response is driven by those thoughts. I’m really hoping that we get to see more of the other characters throughout the other books and that we may get some of their thoughts too. I love seeing everything through Holly as a unreliable narrator but I need to know what the others feel about this whole situation.