I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil
on October 18th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, YA
Source: Edelweiss eArc
From acclaimed author Gretchen McNeil comes her first realistic contemporary romance—perfect for fans of Kody Keplinger’s The Duff and Morgan Matson’s Since You've Been Gone.
Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She's starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.
So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend Jesse dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it's time to use The Formula for herself. She'll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win Jesse back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.
Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn't all it's cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity and fix everything she's messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?
~ This was love at first glance- the title alone is worth picking this book up for, seriously. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl character is annoying as hell.
~ But I get why the MPDG is such a popular trope- who wouldn’t want to be her or date her? Suddenly being clumsy is adorable, blurting out nonsense can be seen as charming instead of offensive, wearing all the things at once and topping it with a tiara is whimsical and not at all a cry for help, and helping a boy find his true calling in life while you skip around him in insane puppy circles is your whole reason for being and not sad.
~ The book opens with Beatrice being pretty happy. She has a still new boyfriend, Jesse, and even though she’s not popular, she has great friends in Spencer and Gabe. She has major goals (like getting into MIT) and talks about math like I talk about books (slightly misty eyed and super enthusiastically).
~ But her senior year is off to a bad start- she fears for Spencer and Gabe’s safety after they get on the bad side of some popular jocks, and Jesse gets distracted by Toile- a major Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
~ Not surprisingly, Bea turns to math to solve all the problems she perceives. And even though the book kind of pokes fun of John Green’s Paper Towns, this part did remind me a bit of An Abundance of Katherines. But Green doesn’t hold the market on nerds, math or MPDGs.
~ I wish Spencer’s crush on Bea wasn’t so obvious. It takes Bea a long time to catch on- even to how she feels about people. But Gabe’s constant lyrical reference to Jesse’s Girl cracked me up.
~ The book talks about lots of popular MPDG- Amelie, Kirstin Dunst in Elizabethtown (and I’d argue in Crazy/Beautiful), Natalie Portman in Garden State, Zooey Deschanel in everything, and Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim. There are certain good things to be taken from MPDGs- to not be afraid to look weird, to eat dessert first (MPDGs can throw food down like a trucker, yet they almost always have slender bodies and a complete lack of physical coordination), but Bea learns early on that being one is actually a lot of work.
~ For a book that is anti-trope, it’s got a lot in the beginning. Beatrice is half Flipino, her parents are divorced and her mom is on the hunt for a husband. Spencer is artistic and broody and has two moms, and Gabe is gay (although I do like that he’s not a walking stereotype… until he purposely becomes a walking stereotype, ;)). All three are pretty quirky in their own way, and Bea’s obliviousness to Spencer is awfully MPDG of her (the whole not being aware of how adorable they are).
~ Even with some of the small annoyances, I still blazed through this story. It’s got plenty of humor and I really wanted Bea and Spencer and Gabe to realize their dreams and win high school in a Can’t Buy Me Love kind of way (hopefully without the sad parts, but we all know that’s impossible).
~ So don’t be someone’s MPDG- be your own MPDG. Wear glitter rainbow stickers on your cheek because you like it, dammit, not to serve as cutesy inspiration to some uptight nerd boy.
Beatrice- a math loving heroine who comes up with a formula to conquer any problems senior year throws at her and her friends.
Spencer- it this was an 80’s movie then Spencer is a cross between Duckie and John Cusack (with Cusack being the dominant part).
Gabe- if this was an 80’s movie then Gabe would be a cross between Duckie and Robert Downey, Jr (with a bit of Anthony Michael Hall thrown in).
Jesse- Bea’s beanie wearing boyfriend.
Toile- a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (an awful lot like me, except without the addiction to the ID Channel and the biting, sarcastic wit) (okay, so really nothing like me) .
Micheal Torres- Beatrice’s archenemy, even if she doesn’t know it.
Kurt- not loving Gabe’s transformation.
Cassilyn, Thad, Beau- the Popular people who either ignore or terrorize those they deem lesser than themselves.
Call me shallow (or Keeks, which would totally be my MPDG name, btw), but I really enjoyed the makeover chapter, where Bea goes from Math Girl to Trixie. I totally had Roxette’s ‘She’s Got the Look’ playing in my head when she’s shopping with Gabe and Kurt.
Question: What would your Manic Pixie Dream Girl Name be?
Stop the Clock:
Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a fun romp. It shows that yes, you can be fake and make people like you, but that it’s exhausting and MPDG’s are annoying even as they are adorable and whimsical. I have a love/hate relationship with them, but mostly I find it nauseating. And it was just really nice to see an author draw attention to a trend in certain books by certain authors, ahem, and in certain movies. Because MPDG is just yet another standard young women feel they have to meet. Thankfully, the only standard I’m trying to live up to is Crazy Cat Lady… which I’m honestly failing at since we only have 2 cats and I’m seriously thinking of not adding any more kitties even after Riley and Alabama cross the Rainbow Bridge (may that be a long time in the future) because it would be nice to lie around my house in darker clothing. See? It’s impossible to obtain perfection!
I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl gets a Midnight Book rating of: