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 received an ARC of this book from the Publisher. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.
Well, this turned out to be pretty good! I really enjoyed this book and was able to finish it in a day! Although, the concept is pretty much similar to some YA Contemporaries I’ve read before, it still managed to stand out on its own. This is actually the first Gretchen McNeil book I’ve read, although I’m familiar with her other titles but still I didn’t know what to expect so I sort of went into the book blindly.
This tells the story of Bea, a smart senior student, who came up with The Formula to help her friends Gabe and Spencer from bullies and for being treated as outcasts in their school. As the formula worked for her best friends, she got dumped by her boyfriend Jessie. Tweaking The Formula, she used it to reinvent herself into a manic pixie dream girl to win Jesse back. But it wasn’t all perfect and caused a rift between her and her friends.
“Toile’s type is a heroin for a guy like Jesse.”
“And what type is that?” I asked.
Spencer laughed. “Duh. She’s a manic pixie dream girl.”
I love that Bea is half-Filipina and her character seems realistic, but it was a little hard to grasp her whole character. She wasn’t really likeable but her flaws drew me closer to her and made her interesting. This book tackled cliches and tropes really well. Bea was the nerd, Gabe was the gay best friend, and Spencer was a mix of shy, quiet yet brutally honest friend aka the friend we all need. Gabe was really funny, but Spencer though. Really… he’s one of my favorite characters ever. He’s brutally honest and dreamy… he’s just so lovely. I love how she calls out Bea from some of her bullshit and he’s not afraid to say what’s on his mind.
The romance in the book was a mix of swoonworthy scenes and some a little cringey and dramatic, but what I totally enjoyed about this book was the way it broke the manic pixie dream girl stereotype. See, most books or films that features MPDGs are mostly told in the male POV, but this… this is completely different. It shows a lot of insight when it comes to breaking that trope and I really love how Bea managed to grow and learn from it.
“Women are not on this planet exclusively to inspire men and make them happy. We have our own dreams and needs, our own shit to get done. We run companies, countries, international organizations. We’re not props, and we’re certainly not here to cater to men’s egos.”
The feminism is also a strong theme in this book, same goes with friendship and family relationship. And when it comes to family, I think this could just be the most different and unique one I’ve read so far. Parents were acting out as horny teenagers in this book, which was a little hilarious but also a pain in the butt.
I also enjoyed the pop culture references dropped in the book. I also admit that most of the movies mentioned in this book (which were movies that feature MPDGs), I’ve already seen. Because yes, I’m a sucker for chick flicks. They’re my guilty pleasure.
Albeit having some issues with the book, I think this book deserves to be read. I really had a great time reading this and I’m looking forward to reading more from the author! If you love chick-flicks like Clueless or Mean Girls like me, you’ll definitely love this book!