Happy November 1st, friends! Today, we’ve got a stop on the blog tour for I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil, featuring an excerpt from the book AND your chance to a win a copy. So keep reading for all the details!
“You shouldn’t be seen with me in public,” he continued, wallowing in the drama. “You should cut ties with me to save yourselves.”Spencer leaned back against the sink, preparing for one of Gabe’s monologues. “Here we go again.”
“I mean it,” Gabe continued. “I’m an albatross around your necks. Without me, you have a chance. I’ll just start eating lunch in the journalism classroom. Or . . .” He placed his hand on his chest. “Under the football bleachers like a true outcast.”
I sat down beside him. “You’re being ridiculous.”
“Am I?” He cocked his head to the side. “And what, exactly, do you suggest we do?”
“Move to Siberia,” Spencer said, “and pray they don’t find us.”
I smirked. “Funny.”
Jesse checked his phone. “You could transfer,” he suggested, typing as he talked. “Or maybe try homeschooling?”
He was attempting to be helpful, but those were cowardly options, bordering on insensitive.
“We can’t run away from this,” I said. “There’s got to be a solution we’re missing.”
“Like what?” Gabe uncurled his legs and planted his feet on the ground. “Talk to them? My mom suggested that freshman year. ‘Just have a conversation with them, mijito. They’ll understand.’” He snorted. “I came home with a wedgie so deep I had to send in spelunkers to get it out.”
“Go to the principal?” Jesse said.
“We’ve already tried to get Ramos involved,” I explained. “We’re not important enough for her to discipline her championship football team.”
“See?” Spencer said. “Siberia doesn’t sound so bad.”
Jesse shoved his phone into his pocket. “I have to go,” he said.
I turned to him, confused. “What? Why?”
“I forgot I have an appointment,” he said. “Do you want me to take you to your mom’s?”
“She’s at her dad’s tonight,” Spencer said before I could answer. Three and a half days split evenly between the two households, and Spencer always remembered when I was where. “I’ll take her home.”
“I’ll call you later, okay?” Jesse took my chin in his hand, angling it up toward him.
“Meanwhile, you can use that math brain of yours to figure out this problem. ’Bye!”
I stood rigid beside the sofa, Jesse’s words echoing in my ears. Figure out this problem.
“You okay, Bea?” Gabe asked.
I nodded. Problems had solutions. Solutions were equations. And who was better at solving equations than I was? No one. Without thinking, I moved toward my wheelie bag and pulled out a notebook and pen, then sat down on the sofa next to Gabe.
“What is it?” Spencer squeezed in beside me.
Something was percolating inside me, that familiar flutter of excitement I got whenever I was on the brink of a mathematical breakthrough. There was always a moment when I shifted my perspective, and in an instant, all the elements would come together with a beautiful simplicity that made me feel like a moron for not having seen it before.
This was one of those moments.
Our current sociological predicament could be boiled down to a simple linear equation. We knew the result, i.e., a tolerable school environment where we weren’t living in fear of an ass kicking every five minutes. I just had to work backward from there.
“We’ve been looking at this all wrong,” I said, noting the tremor in my own voice.
“How?” Spencer asked. “Milo and Thad are misunderstood? They just need a hug and everything will be fine?”
“No one has to hug anyone,” I said. My pen began to fly over the page, an automatic flow of symbols and letters. “Unless you’re both hugging me in gratitude.”
Spencer leaned over my shoulder and glanced at my preliminary scribbles. “For what?”
I held my notebook out in front of me. “The Formula for Happiness in High School.”
If F is a continuous real-valued function defined on a closed interval [f, s] between freshman and senior years of high school, R is the social role played based on v, the relative void in which R does or does not exist, then the exponential product Rv is equal to the empty set, i.e., eternal happiness.”1
Or, in layman’s terms:
(1) Find the niche.
(2) Play the role.
(3) Fill the void.
1Taken from Smullyan’s ham sandwich argument to present eternal happiness as an empty set.
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.
Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, a writer, and a clown. She is also the author of Get Even as well as Ten, which was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, and an ALA Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth and was nominated for Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012 by Romantic Times. Gretchen blogs with the Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels.
Who is your favorite “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” character from a movie or book — why?
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