Published by Balzer + Bray on October 18, 2016
Source: eARC for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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 of I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil
I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl had its appealing points, but also some things I didn't enjoy. At times, this book felt to me like a bunch of classic movies (Mean Girls, Election, Garden State, Clueless, Revenge of the Nerds...) thrown into a blender.
There were two main plot strands: 1) a romantic "win the guy back" plot, and 2) a plot about Beatrice trying to win a college scholarship by developing a mathematical formula by which high school nerds can reinvent themselves.
Beatrice was, for the most part, hard for me to relate to. Yes, she's smart and good at math, which is great, but she's also not the nicest person around. She schemes and she plots. She's bossy and egotistical and judgmental. She has no female friends, which is always a red flag for me in real life. At times, she treats the people she cares about like pawns.
The romance also had its problematic elements.
I also didn't love the fact that all the characters in this book start off as stereotypes (the math nerd, the popular girl, the gay best friend, the slutty divorcee, the cheating ex-husband, and, of course, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.)
By the end, "Trixie" learns her lesson about being nice and being herself and getting the (right) guy. But getting there was a bit of a bumpy ride! For this type of story, I would have preferred a more satisfying romance and a main character I could root for.