Release date: October 18, 2016
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?
I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl follows an old cliche- a geeky girl uses some formula to gain popularity in school, it succeeds but then she sees what she has done, and there’s a life lesson. Bea is dumped by her first boyfriend barely days after a new girl called Toile, a manic pixie dream girl manifest, enters the school and rises to the top. Losing him to her spurs her competitiveness and though she initially created the formula to save herself and her best friends Spencer and Gabe from being bullied, pretty soon she likes the feeling of power it brings. I mean, it is not really innoviative and I guess I was waiting for what new spin McNeil would put into it. But besides the implication of the trope into the way girls behave, it doesn’t offer much. I feel like more could have been touched upon how she was changing to suit other people’s ideals, and also for Toile, but it was more focused on Bea’s obsession with her ex and then with defeating the new girl.
The best thing about the book is probably the comedy – Bea is this serious mathletic girl who applies calculus to everything, including and not restricted to the probability of things occuring in her daily life or in people’s choices around her. Her description of the social life of the popular kids was hilarious, and her attempts to enter the inner circle was funny to read. Despite her being all offended by the manic pixie dream girl trope and how it is only for male wish fulfilment, she embarks on the same path basically to win back a guy. Granted, she comes to her senses about mid-way through the book, but even then I felt she was too hung up on him, which was seemingly out of character. There was some romance on the side, which was cute, but I won’t spoil that here. Overall, it is a good book but not what I expected from the author.
Received a free galley from HarperTeen, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.