I don’t tend to like things set in high schools—books, 80’s movies, tv shows, classes, you name it—and we could go into the whys, but what it basically boils down to is that I feel like I already know that story, and I’m bored by the way most people tell it. But there are exceptions to every rule, and Larry Doyle’s Go, Mutants! is my favorite exception so far.
This book is hilarious. The humor is smart, varied, and EVERYWHERE. I don’t remember ever going more than two pages without laughing out loud (which was probably somewhat disturbing for innocent passers-by). Don’t worry, there are also plenty of silent brain chuckle moments. Reading this book will only make you look like a lunatic some of the time.
Go, Mutants! is set in a retro-flavored future where aliens and monsters have attacked planet earth, and now their kids are going to high school. The book focuses on J!m, the son of the alien held responsible for trying to end the world. J!m and his friends—Johnny Love, a radioactive ape-man, and Jelly, a sentient blob of goo—deal with the usuals: father issues, dating, an unstable and paranoid government, you know… high school.
The characters are memorable, often loveable, and amazingly well-woven into the story. There are unsurprising surprise twists (on page 8 we’re told that J!m will be dead within the week), and out-of-nowhere-and-yet-it-makes-so-much-sense surprise twists. It’s a tightly woven plot, and every detail in the book is a loving send-up to high school, teen angst, 50’s sci-fi, and humanity. The loving care with which fun is poked in this book reminds me a lot of NBC’s Community, actually. Go, Mutants! is a thoroughly fun read—it won’t change the world, it will never be taught in a high school English class, but you will have a blast reading it.
Short and simple: I love this book.