Manicpixiedreamgirl, by Tom Leveen

In addition to being saddled with a painfully quirky title that lights up my Spellcheck like a Christmas tree, Tom Leveen’s novel Manicpixiedreamgirl features one of my least favorite YA character types: the wishy-washy teenage male. Leveen’s protagonist is high school student Tyler Darcy, a kid blessed with a long-term (by high school standards) relationship, a supportive family, and a loyal circle of friends. Tyler has literary ambitions, and has recently sold his first short story to a magazine—which makes things awkward, seeing as the story is about his obsessive and unrequited crush on someone other than his girlfriend Sydney: Becky Webb, the most gossiped-about girl in school.

I’m assuming I was supposed to feel sympathy or understanding (or something positive, anyway) for Tyler’s troubles, but I’m sorry: the kid is a whiny, self-indulgent ass, who’s too busy carrying a torch for Becky to actually bother getting to know her. The world is probably full of teenage boys who would be quite willing to date one girl while dreaming misty dreams of another, but why would I want to read a book about them? I’m just hoping one day they’ll outgrow that type of behavior, along with acne breakouts and texting while driving.

To do Mr. Leveen justice, he writes with easy, vivid style, and Manicpixiedreamgirl ends on a hopeful note. (For Tyler, at least: it's possible that he won't be a total tool one day.) Unfortunately, I am constitutionally incapable of caring about a story that focuses solely on the “romantic” life of a boy who is far more interested in the girl in his head than any of the real ones right in front of him.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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