cover image Manicpixiedreamgirl


Tom Leveen. Random, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-375-87005-7

Tyler Darcy has been obsessed with Becky Webb ever since glimpsing her in all her tattooed, ringer T-shirt–wearing glory freshman year. Never mind that he doesn’t exchange words with Becky for an entire year or that he gets a girlfriend, Sydney, in the meantime. “The adorable eccentric sweetheart who dazzles a broody male lead,” is how Sydney defines the manic-pixie-dream-girl stereotype; Becky isn’t that girl, but Tyler is fairly happy to let her be, idolizing and idealizing her rather than getting to know her. Leveen’s (Zero) story unfolds mostly in flashbacks to Tyler’s freshman and sophomore years; the present-day action takes place on the very drunken night when Tyler is forced to decide where he stands with Sydney and Becky. The time shifts give the story a cinematic sense of tension, but it’s the relationships between the novel’s teenage characters that are the real standouts. Tyler’s crass banter with his buddies, his snarky but supportive relationship with his sister, and his botched dealings with both Becky and Sydney are entirely realistic. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer Mattson, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.)