Thursday, December 1, 2016

I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil

Title: I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

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?
Review by Nara

I wasn't sure what to expect from Gretchen McNeil in her first contemporary novel, but I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl unfortunately didn't quite hit the mark that her mystery/thriller novels did.

To be honest, I think the main problem was that the novel would much better be targeted at a much younger YA audience (around middle school age perhaps) rather than me reading this in my early 20s. I personally just found the book a little immature overall, which meant that it was a bit difficult to take the book seriously. Mostly this was because of the tone of the book and the voice in how it was written, as well as the characters (mostly Bea).

Main character Bea was quite flawed and unlikeable. She does a lot of stupid things (which I guess you'd expect a teenager to do) and treats a lot of the other characters quite poorly. Actually to be honest, I don't think I liked any of the characters except one of Bea's best friends, Spencer, because he at least was willing to call out Bea for all her bullshit. Sometimes the lines he said were exactly what I was thinking, and while reading the book I was like YES, SPENCE. Bea's other best friend, Gabe, was alright as well, but I don't think he was quite as developed as I would have liked in a character who is one of the main secondary cast.

Overall, I don't think I'd be recommending this unless you haven't read a lot of contemporary YA or if you're in the younger range of the YA audience. To be honest, I might have liked it if I was reading this back in middle school.

It was okay
Overall: 5/10
Plot: 2/5
Romance: 2.5/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 2.5/5
Cover: 2/5