Review: I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl + A List of Manic Pixies Who May Just Rule The Galaxy Someday

Gretchen McNeil - I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl
Published: October 18, 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Find on: Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads
Rating: 4/5

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?

(...) I pointed my finger in Jesse's face. "I don't want you anymore. And I certainly don't have to put up with your shit. I deserve to be treated better, and so does Toile."

"I do?" Toile said.

"Yeah," I said. "You don't have to settle for a boyfriend who only likes you when you're getting attention from the popular people. He should like you all the time. No matter who you are."

This is the book I wish I had in high school.

It's so...empowering. Seriously, girls, women, ladies, you will love this. Guys, too. It does take a minute to grow on you, and it takes you through a roller-coaster of dramatics and emotions. But it's real, and no lie, I cried a little.

Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini (what a mouthful of a name, but no judging) enjoys mathematics and formulas and is striving for MIT. She and her guy friends, Spencer and Gabe, are super close. When she gets a boyfriend, Jesse, he disrupts their circle and not even a formula could fix that. However, Jesse doesn't enjoy hanging with the nerds and when a new girl, Toile, moves to school, he's entranced by her. Along with the rest of the popular kids, who immediately welcomes her into their group.

Toile, who is a manic pixie dream girl in every sense of the word, eats up Jesse's charm and eventually Jesse dumps Beatrice for her. I was waiting for a toilet joke. Sadly, one never came. PS: Am I the only one who thought her name was pronounced like tulle?
"Manic pixie dream girl!" Gabe practically shouted. "Of course."

It was like they were speaking a language. "A manic pixie what what?"

"Have you ever read Paper Towns?" Gabe asked.

I shook my head.

"Do you know who Audrey Hepburn is?"

"Or Zooey Deschanel?" Gabe suggested.
Understandably, Beatrice is devastated. Her friends introduce her to the manic pixie dream girl trope and she copies Toile's, well, everything in an attempt to win Jesse back, essentially becoming Trixie. (Admittedly, I was a little worried here. It comes off a little "I'm gonna change myself for a guy and he's gonna love ME instead" but it quickly eases out of that.)

Okay, so wow, I related like crazy to this. A year ago, I would've been shouting, "Girl hate!" but it's such innocent fun and humor. Also, since I know a girl with a personality similar to Toile's, I was cackling.

Beatrice/Trixie's best friends, Gabe and Spencer, are trying to get it in with the populars as well. For a second, I was convinced Spencer was not-straight. Plus, his personality is quite sucky. As the novel progresses, he and Beatrice steadily move into the beginnings of a relationship. It's semi-cliché-y, but it works. Jesse is the type of boy who checks out other girls and walks away in the middle of conversation when you're talking to him, and Toile is the terrifying mash-up of every Zooey Deschanel character in existence.
And if this book wasn't already one big fat pot of awesome, I decided to include a list of manic pixies. Because why the heck not? Starting '17 off with a cursing ban. Let's see how long that shit lasts. Just so you know, I only agree with about two of these.
  • Ruby Sparks, ala Ruby Sparks. 'Nuff said, may I add.
  • Clementine, ala Eternal Sunshine from Spotless Mind. (I barely agree with this choice, but since Clementine is practically wallpaper for the cover.
  • Mia, ala Princess Diaries.
  • Holly Golightly, ala Breakfast at Tiffany's. (Of course, I don't agree for obvious reasons but the book stats, otherwise.)
  • Zooey Deschanel in anything.
  • Annie Hall, ala Annie Hall.
  • Margo Roth Whatever, ala Paper Towns.
  • AND, of course, our own resident Mani Pixie Dream Boy, Augustus from TFIOS.