Sigh. I feel this topic has been overdone in stories lately. I went into this book blind but was quickly hit with every stereotypical HS character, storyline, and outcome imaginable. Nothing about this book blew me away. I found myself heavily sighing and rolling eyes more than anything.
This is the story of math nerd genius, Beatrice, and her friends who decide to reinvent themselves for their senior year of high school. After being dumped by her new boyfriend, she created a formula for the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Beatrice knows this formula will help her win her ex-boyfriend back. Plus, this will help solidify her placement at M.I.T., the only college she wants to attend. Once this formula is in place, it is not just her life that Beatrice is messing with… she is messing with the lives of her best friends. Is this really what Beatrice wants to do? Is this the life Beatrice wants? Is she willing to risk the friendship of the two that know her best?
That all sounds great but this story truly did not deliver. The characters were supposed to be seniors in high school but they came across as if they were just starting junior high. It was painful how immature they were. I did not relate to them, nor did I find myself cheering for any of them. Beatrice was a badly written protagonist because she was shallow, self centered, bossy, egotistical, and very narrow minded. When it came to her ex-boyfriend, she swore having a boyfriend is what made her be an actual person. GROW UP, HONEY. You don’t need a boy to define you! The romance between the two of them was all over the place. It didn’t feel believable, it felt one-sided. I am almost never on board with the “I must win back the guy who dumped me for another girl!” plot because it always ends up with the girl realizing she didn’t need the guy to begin with. yawn It has been done so many times already.
I also did not enjoy how all of the characters in this book are the most severe versions of stereotypes written. There is the gay best friend, the artist, the popular Queen B girl in school with her following, the dreamy exchange student, the laid back cool guy every girl wants to date, and the math nerd. The moral of this story was “be yourself!” but it was not delivered well. It almost came across that if you reinvent yourself – even when you are a senior in high school – you will achieve your new goal of being class president. Uh, not sure that is how that works. Why change to impress people you will probably never see again after HS? Is their opinion really that important to you?
This was a hard book for me to get through because I felt I was rolling my eyes on nearly every page. I gave it two stars because this was not an original plot line, nor did it really send a positive message. I know it tried to but I feel it got lost along the way. I would have a very hard time recommending this to anyone. It just felt scattered and confusing. This was my first Gretchen McNeil book but if the rest of her stories are like this one, I may pass on them all.