A math whiz develops a formula to fix her high school experience.
Beatrice has never been very popular in school. The half-Filipino, half-white math nerd can count her friends on just two fingers: the moody white artist Spencer and the Latino, gay Gabe. On the cusp of senior year Bea has secured a boyfriend, white and generic Jesse, and hopes that the jocks and popular crowd will focus their bullying efforts on incoming freshman and leave her and her friends alone. But when Jesse dumps her for quirky, white new girl Toile, Bea sets her mind to turning her high school social experience into an equation to be solved. By tweaking a few variables in their personalities, she ensures that Spencer becomes the hip and trendy school artiste, Gabe transforms into the school’s queen, and Bea becomes Trixie, the school’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl. McNeil enjoys breaking down the formula that makes up the standard MPDG and exposing it for the sexist nonsense it is, but she never lets that get in the way of Bea’s emotional journey. The love rhombus crafted here is a tad predictable, but the excitement’s in the execution: the author’s strong characterizations and smart humor put this above most similar titles. Bea’s cold and clinical nature is another plus: she isn’t driven by raging libido but rather a righteous anger that makes her a calculating badass.
A quintessential thinking gal’s love story. (Fiction. 12-16)