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?
In McNeil's entertaining foray into romantic comedy, MIT-bound Beatrice is frustrated by her "Math Girl" nickname, especially after her boyfriend, Jesse, ditches her for Toile, the whimsical new girl at school. Devising a mathematical formula for finding high school happiness, Beatrice reinvents herself as Trixie, adopting the traits of the "manic pixie dream girl" archetype (among them "childlike playfulness" and the "single-minded goal male wish fulfillment") to lure Jesse back from Toile, fighting fire with fire or rather quirk with quirk. Beatrice also forces the formula onto her best friends Spencer and Gabe in an effort to help their social status, encouraging Spencer to recast himself as the school's "resident artiste" and Gabe as a flamboyant, snarky sidekick type. Like Beatrice, McNeil (3:59) knows her way around a formula, and she toys with the conventions, expectations, and trajectory of a classic romantic comedy to examine stereotypes and the identities we project. Readers will easily recognize how misguided Beatrice's plan is (and who the target of her romantic affections ought to be), but that doesn't make watching the unfolding chaos any less fun. Ages 13 up.