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 haven’t read all of Gretchen McNeil’s books but the ones I have, I’ve enjoyed the writing and especially the dynamics between the characters. The manic pixie dream girl isn’t a favourite trope of mine so I was curious to see how it would be handled in this book.
Bea could be a frustrating character but one with overall good intentions. She wanted to find a way to stop her friends from being bullied and re-inventing themselves was her solution. She was always very mathematical in her thinking and I could see a lot of parallels between her and Charlie from Numb3rs, a favourite character on a favourite TV show.
The relationships between the characters were great, as expected. Gretchen McNeil can create these groups of friends that you want to hand out with, even if it’s just doing nothing. The family dynamics were also great and loved seeing Bea have a good relationship with her stepmother instead of it being full of tension.
The plot was a bit predictable but still fun to read. There was a nice romance and character growth for more than just Bea as the main character. It made for a quick read, perfect for curling up under a blanket on a cold night or reading poolside in the middle of summer.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.