I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Gretchen McNeil. Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-240911-9
In McNeil’s entertaining foray into romantic comedy, MIT-bound Beatrice is frustrated by her “Math Girl” nickname, especially after her boyfriend, Jesse, ditches her for Toile, the whimsical new girl at school. Devising a mathematical formula for finding high school happiness, Beatrice reinvents herself as Trixie, adopting the traits of the “manic pixie dream girl” archetype (among them “childlike playfulness” and the “single-minded goal [of] male wish fulfillment”) to lure Jesse back from Toile, fighting fire with fire—or rather quirk with quirk. Beatrice also forces the formula onto her best friends Spencer and Gabe in an effort to help their social status, encouraging Spencer to recast himself as the school’s “resident artiste and Gabe as a flamboyant, snarky sidekick type. Like Beatrice, McNeil (3:59) knows her way around a formula, and she toys with the conventions, expectations, and trajectory of a classic romantic comedy to examine stereotypes and the identities we project. Readers will easily recognize how misguided Beatrice’s plan is (and who the target of her romantic affections ought to be), but that doesn’t make watching the unfolding chaos any less fun. Ages 13–up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/08/2016
Release date: 10/01/2016
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-240913-3
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