Cuttle, by Chelsea Britain

lellowturtle's review

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Cuttle is a first-person novel written by Chelsea Britain. This book follows Nora, a young, dedicated scientist through her ups and downs in her career and love life. As knowledgeable and dedicated as she is to science and her water creatures, she is just as not dedicated and knowledgeable to human beings. She is not quite sure what to make of relationships; she is set in her routines; she has certain spaces that she likes to be; and she has her patterns. However, she faces crisis as her routines and her patterns begin to change due to the life transitions.

I love Cuttle so much. Not only is it hard to put down, but it is also realistic, heart-warming, and beautiful. Nora has strong friendships with her two best friends and roommates. They are always there for one another. Nora begins to navigate this post-doc world, along with entering the dating scene. She approaches relationships and love with a purpose and logical thinking, and you see her slowly opening up and realizing what she wants. It is this growth of Nora and her relationship with her two best friends so beautiful and touching.

Nora’s interactions with dating prospects are also realistic and relatable. She traverses not only changes in her personal life but her professional life as well. Nora trying to figure out what her next move gives the reader comfort in knowing that you do not always have to have it figured out. What I really loved about the book was Nora’s portrayal of a person on the Autism spectrum. She was not overly stereotypical, but someone with the knowledge of it could see she is on the spectrum. I think Britain did a beautiful job with her. Britain also has healthy relationships with people who did not treat her as if she was fragile, and I think that is important. Overall, I highly recommend Cuttle. It is relatable, adorable, funny, witty, and fun.

silverneurotic's review

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As much as I appreciate highlighting and celebrating characters that are neurodiverse, it felt like this story has already been told over and over again thanks to the popularity of Big Bang Theory. I did appreciate though that Nora was a lot more open for different experiences, open to new relationships, etc. That was the biggest win in my opinion.

Plotwise though, this didn't do much for me. The plot sort of dragged on a bit too much and I found myself getting a little bored and the romance aspect just didn't seem to work for me. I didn't feel a connection, and so it was too hard to root for Nora.

readingwithsammi's review

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While I can't resist a cuttlefish (in person or on a book cover) and I love a strong female (marine) scientist, this book just didn't quite do it for me.

I appreciate that this book gave its voice to a lead character that was on the Autism spectrum (though I didn't realize it until the authors note at the end) including giving her so many potential suitors (she's quite the catch).

I also loved the marine biology references throughout, the highlighting of academia labs (& how women are treated a little differently than the men). For a while I had high-highs loving certain points & low-low hating it.

For one - I am tired of the nerdy scientist narrative - like we can have cool, fun, unawkward scientists too. The relationships/dates were also SO UNCOMFY - I'm thinking that was the point but it was really just uncomfortable to read, I'm surprised they all kept getting dates. Also, I felt like her friends were too hands-on, if my friends interfered with my life that much I would cut them out, just a lot of weird dynamics there.

While there was many marine animal references/facts I loved, some of them just didn't make sense.... like telling yourself to be a "sexy stingray" to attract a mate... it does NOT make any sense (& this one was repeated approximately a million times in the text) - it would've made more sense if they chose an animal that ungulates when it swims or even the star cuttlefish that can be kind of "flirty" with their tentacles but stingrays?! They're chill, they glide, you rarely see them try to mate ... they're not being sexy.

Anyways, super cute cover. I am not going to pretend that I'm not the target audience: I am a female marine scientist who happened to date during graduate school - so I can definitely relate, however maybe someone that can relate a little less would enjoy it more.

* I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*