Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Review: Manicpixiedreamgirl, by Tom Leveen @tomleveen

Once again, in Manicpixiedreamgirl, Leveen writes realistic, edgy teen characters that tug at your heartstrings and make you root for their ultimate triumph.

As Manicpixiedreamgirl opens, Tyler and his two friends are celebrating the publication of one of Tyler's stories in a magazine. The three of them are all in various stages of intoxication in a city park. Tyler is receiving texts and phone calls from two different girls--Syd, who has been his steady girlfriend for two years, and Becky, who he's been in love with for three years.

Through flashbacks, we are introduced to these characters and the history of Tyler's obsession with Becky (from afar) and his real relationship with Syd. Leveen is a master of creating a teen character in distress. It is interesting how Tyler, because he loves Becky from afar, really has no idea of who she really is. We slowly find out things, along with Tyler, that makes her less than perfect -- much to Tyler's disappointment.

Syd is also a great character -- realizing that Tyler has this obsession, but hoping he will get over it. The friends are great supporting characters to bounce off of, and all together Manicpixiedreamgirl is a quick, compelling contemporary book that will particularly appeal to reluctant readers. The ending of Manicpixiedreamgirl isn't all that surprising, but it's also not all wrapped up neatly. There are still some struggles to live through, and we aren't sure how everything will turn out for Tyler. We can only hope...

Zero is still my favorite of Leveen's books. I felt a more emotional connection to the characters in Zero. Manicpixiedreamgirl is more light-hearted and felt less serious to me. Still entertaining, but in a different way.

If you are wondering where the title came from, a Manic Pixie Dream Girl is "that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures," according to Nathan Rabin, via Wikipedia.

I'll happily recommend Manicpixiedreamgirl to teens at my library who want a short, edgy, believable contemporary story.

Published by Random House BFYR, April 23, 2013
eARC obtained from NetGalley
256 pages (qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)

Rating: 3.5/5

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  1. That is an awesome Wikipedia quote! I liked your review so I will definitely be looking into this author.

  2. I liked Leveen's Party, and this sounds like a pretty good read, though I think I might try Zero first since that's your favorite. I admit, the title for this one turned me off because I'm kind of sick of reading about unrealistic mpdg's. But it sounds like this book pops the bubble rather than perpetuating the obsession with them, so that definitely attracts me to the story. Great review!

  3. I've always wanted to read a Leveen book. This one sounds pretty good. Realistic and edgy are elements I like. Thanks for sharing, Annette!

  4. Heard about this before. good to see the book here again.


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