Hello everyone! Wow, I’ve got a jam-packed post for you today! I’m participating in the Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl Tour thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours. I was so excited to get my hands on this book, it was one of my most anticipated new releases, and I wasn’t disappointed. Featuring an adorable main character who uses fashion to hide her inner mess, a loveable found family team, and blue gunky mutants. What more could you want?
We’ve also got a giveaway! More info at the bottom of this post!
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.
Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl focuses on Holly, a lover of Harajuku fashion and an all-round anxious mess. When she’s attacked by mutants who explode with blue goop she wakes up the next day with strange powers. Super strength and heightened emotions don’t fit with her cute aesthetic, so she’s not exactly happy with this revelation. I loved Holly a lot, she was both relatable, understandable, and a complete disaster of a human (mutant?). She copes by creating an outer persona of cute unfriendliness that’s difficult to worm your way underneath. It was refreshing to read a book that truly revelled in the dislikeability of its protagonist; I say this in a completely positive way. Holly is complex, and I imagine her character development has a long way to go.
My biceps retained the firmness of room temperature cream cheese when I flexed, but overconfidence told me I could stab someone with it [a parasol] if I ran into trouble on my way home.
I also loved the rest of the characters. They had this larger-than-life feel that works brilliantly in the vibrant comic-book atmosphere this book has. The cast is incredibly diverse too, which is always great to see. There’s a lot of BIPOC characters in this book. Holly is bisexual, but there’s also representation of lesbian, non-binary, and ace spectrum people! Special Agent Michael Brannon is a grump who Holly thinks is pretty hot (much to her annoyance). Diego Nunez is an absolute babe of a character. Kyle is Holly’s neighbour and is in desperate need of a hug. Chi Ho is Holly’s best friend, and I loved her protectiveness. The characters all have such big personalities, and reading about their dynamic and interactions was so much fun.
N.E.R.D, or Nanomolecular Engineering Research and Development, got its cheesy nickname from poor planning on Doctor Laura’s part.
Generally, the representation seemed to be handled well. I’m not sure about Nunez being the only Mexican character while having his history based within drug cartels. He is well-developed otherwise, so I’ll let you decide how you feel about that. I also can see Holly mistaking Brannon as gay due to his feminine tattoo and close relationship with Nunez being annoying to some people. I viewed it as Holly desperately trying to figure out a reason she couldn’t be attracted to him, pushing her desires away in a way that felt safer to her. She’s an unreliable narrator in this sense because she’d rather push feelings down than explore them in any depth, and the book reflects that. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand why she’s behaving in the way that she does. For example, she seemingly cares more about the state of her clothes than the danger around her. I think it’s important to remember when reading this that Holly is a mess.
Killing a man only bothered me a little. He struck first. He was a monster. I did what had to be done. But the most awful part of it all sank in as water from my showerhead blasted my trembling hand.
I’d ruined my favourite dress.
The plot was action-packed and fast-moving; I had a lot of fun tearing through the book. I wouldn’t say the plot twists are particularly surprising, but they’re fun and campy in that superhero/magical girl kind of way. You can also see that it’s going to get a lot more complicated in the later books, and I’m excited to see how the squad handles their next adventure.
I was going to die as I often lived: Mistaken by meatheads for a storybook icon.
Overall, Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl is a delightfully campy read that’s difficult to put down. The main character, Holly, particularly stands out. She’s a lovely mess who is as adorable as she is exasperating. We need more books that feature diverse representation while allowing that representation to be messy and chaotic. The cast is incredibly loveable, and the fast-paced larger-than-life feel of the book brought out the superhero/magical girl vibes superbly. I can’t wait to see what Erin Grammar will do next; everyone needs more queer mutants in their life.
CW: grief, anxiety, gore, violence, death, parental death, depression, bullying/harassment, mild body horror, drinking, mention of drug use, age gap.
Recommended for: people who love messy, dislikeable characters, people who love unreliable narrators, people who love campy larger-than-life reads, people who love magical girl aesthetics, people who love superhero stories, people who want more queer rep in their life.
Hello! It’s so wonderful to be able to interview you! Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl is such a unique book, filled with gooey blue mutants and magical girls aesthetics. What gave you the inspiration for it?
I’ve always been interested in Harajuku fashion and I absolutely adore those campy old horror movies you see on late-night TV. I thought it’d be really interesting to combine a cute aesthetic with kinda gross fight scenes, and MMNG is what I got! Writing an entirely LGBTQIA+ main cast—and a pretty messy one at that—was also very important to me. A big theme of the book is that there’s a lot more to people than what you see on the surface, both good and bad. That duality is what makes someone human. It’s not always pretty, but it’s authentic.
One of my favourite parts of the book was Holly, she’s not always the most likeable character, but the complex and difficult sides to her are great to see. Do you think allowing queer characters to be messy is important?
Holly’s the absolute worst sometimes, but to me that makes her the best. So much of her decision making is flawed and comes from two places: A desire to quiet her anxiety and a deep-seated need for human connection that still carefully limits how close others are allowed to get. She wants to reach out, she wants to find common ground and make friends, but she’s so wrapped up in maintaining the fantasy world that keeps her grief at bay that she can’t think straight (Side note: Having her brain chemistry altered by a serum that distorts reality certainly doesn’t help). I think it’s a struggle that’s relatable for lots of individuals, especially those on the queer spectrum. Queer people don’t exist, in reality or in fiction, to teach lessons about having upstanding moral character at all times. It’s dehumanizing to expect perfection from anyone. To me, messy queer representation is so important because everyone deserves to be seen—flaws, warts and all.
You describe Harajuku fashion with such detail in the book, is this a hobby you share with Holly?
Thank you, it is! I’ve been wearing different styles like Lolita and Decora on and off for years, although I haven’t had nearly as much time to devote to it as Holly. Her personal tastes are a lot more subdued than mine, too—light pastels, fewer prints, not as many accessories. Lots of Harajuku styles are very bright and in your face. I’m a pretty quiet person, but I tend to like the loudest looks.
What was your favourite part of writing Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl?
Speaking of “loud”, for such a noisy, busy book, I really enjoyed writing the quietest scenes the most. The ones where characters get to see each other without the walls around their hearts for the first time, when a tender confession reveals something new. Dialogue is definitely one of my strengths, and letting it shine in those soft moments took lots of work. Hopefully those little breaks in the action are just as enjoyable for readers!
Do you have a message for my readers? What are you hoping they’ll take away from reading your book?
I want readers to know that it’s okay to be flawed, to make mistakes, to learn and grow alongside those who can see you at your worst through compassionate eyes. I hope the message really hits home—especially for queer readers—that it’s okay to let others see you and to absorb the love that families, both real and chosen, have to give. Even if it’s hard, even if it’s scary.
Thank you so much for the lovely interview!
5 Reasons To Read Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl
If all of that didn’t convince you, here’s five reasons to pick this book up!
- It has a Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl! I mean, I know that’s pretty obvious, but read this book for Holly. She’s Magic, she’s a Mutant, she’s definitely a Nightmare, and I love her.
- The aesthetics! Harajuku fashion, blue goopy mutants, secret underground labs. We all need more campy aesthetics in our life.
- The found family! The cast are so wonderful, they all have complex dynamics and relationships. I adored them all.
- Messy queer characters! We need more queer mutants, that’s just a fact, but we also need queer characters who are allowed to be rude, messy, and realistically, dysfunctionally human.
- It’s just so much fun! This book is such an exciting, enjoyable ride, I couldn’t get enough.
About The Author
Erin Grammar writes YA fantasy for quirky teens. She graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Fine Arts and is passionate about inspiring young readers. When she isn’t writing, she searches the SoCal hills for gemstones, thrifts Hello Kitty collectibles, and chases one incredible daughter and two very demanding cats. MAGIC MUTANT NIGHTMARE GIRL is her first novel.
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
One winner will receive a finished copy of Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl and a tote with the cover of the book on it. The giveaway starts on March 8th and ends on March 15th. You can enter the giveaway here!
Get this book
Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl releases on the 10th of March 2021!
If you want to remember to check out this book you should add it to Goodreads!
You can get this book from major book sellers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound, Blackwells, and Waterstones.
I’d recommend checking out your local indie bookshop! You can use Hive.co.uk and Bookshop.org to support them depending on your location!
5 thoughts on “Book Tour: Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl // Review, Favourite Quotes, 5 Reasons To Read & Author Interview”
Ahh I can’t wait to read this, it sounds right up my alley! 🙂
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I hope you enjoy it when you get to it!!
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