Publisher: Balzer & Bray

I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl Release Day Spotlight

18 Oct, 2016 by in balzer & bray, gretchen mcneil, YA fiction Leave a comment

I received this book for free from Balzer & Bray in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl

by Gretchen McNeil
Published by Balzer & Bray on October 18, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Balzer & Bray
Buy the BookGoodreads
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?

Happy Book Birthday!


This book had me laughing out loud as Beatrice tries to reinvent herself and her group of friends using mathematical formulas. She’s “Math Girl, ” working on a scholarship to MIT, and she’s tired of her friends being bullied. Simple enough, Beatrice figures out a way to start over one day as Trixie, “manic pixie dream girl.” Her best friend Gabe reminds me a bit of Duckie in Sixteen Candles. Gretchen McNeil does a great job exploring the meaning of true friendship and the pitfalls of popularity.

Favorite character? Spencer

Content: heavy swearing, LGBTQ relationships, mature issues with parents.

About the Author

Gretchen McNeil is the author of the standalone YA horror novels POSSESS, TEN (a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth, a finalist for Washington state’s 2015 Evergreen Young Adult Book Award and Vermont’s 2014-2015 Green Mountain Book Award, and was nominated for “Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012″ by Romantic Times) and 3:59.  In 2016, Gretchen will publish two novels: RELIC, a YA horror novel, with HarperCollins/EpicReads Impulse on March 8, 2016, and in the fall, I’M NOT YOUR MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL, her first YA contemporary, with Balzer + Bray. Gretchen also contributed an essay to the Dear Teen Me anthology from Zest Books.


Breview: This Is My Brain on Boys~ by Sarah Strohmeyer

16 May, 2016 by in balzer & bray, contemp, ya Leave a comment

I received this book for free from Balzer & Bray in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This Is My Brain on Boys

by Sarah Strohmeyer
Published by Balzer & Bray on May 10, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Balzer & Bray
Buy the BookGoodreads
Addie Emerson doesn’t believe in love, at least for herself. A straightlaced, brilliant girl, she’s more interested in getting an A than falling in love. But Addie is determined to prove the science of love—because Addie Emerson does believe in science.

Science tells her that “love” is nothing more than the brain’s state under the influence of certain chemicals. And by artificially stimulating those chemicals, the brain can totally be tricked into falling in love. So Addie decides to apply that knowledge—and make her classmates fall in love—to win the coveted Athenian Award for Science in her elite private school. One way to speed up the process—adrenaline—she’ll put her classmates in dangerous, high-risk situations . . . and research the fallout.

But a mysterious new guy keeps messing with her plans. And she kind of can’t stop thinking about his gorgeous brown eyes. With backstabbing competitors—including her former lab partner, the preppy, wealthier-than-thou Dex—and more than one pair of star-crossed lovers—can Addie manage to salvage her experiment and win the Athenian? And what happens if she does the unthinkable—and falls in love?

Addie is on her way back to school on a flight gone bad. Her plane is about to go down when she notices the person seated next to her appears to be hyperventilating in panic. He looks vaguely familiar and he needs oxygen stat!

Kris is a world traveler/ humanitarian who just can’t relate to others his age after a trip to Nepal. So, in search of new neural pathways he transfers to a new top notch school only to find himself in trouble. Wrong group of friends, wrong girlfriend, and a summer to make it up to his dean.

Geek girl meets popular boy in Strohmeyer’s new YA contemporary.

The pacing is fantastic in the beginning and stalls a little though the middle, but in the end it right on track. I found myself smiling and laughing at Addie’s literal sense of humor plus the shenanigans she finds herself in trying to win a prestigious scholarship via science experiment. Overall, a clean teen read with fun characters and scientific jargon.

Content-some teen drinking and a few swear words

Author Bio

After being placed on other “must read” YA lists, SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT has recently been chosen by Texas school librarians for the 2013 Lone Star Reading List, a great honor since Texas is a BIG state. Thank you, librarians!

It’s also my fourteenth novel, but my first for young adults after writing mysteries and stand alones, one of which, THE CINDERELLA PACT, became the Lifetime Movie – LYING TO BE PERFECT. Of all these, SMART GIRLS has been my favorite to write because not only was I a “smart girl,” but so were my daughter and her friends who, like me, grew tired of playing second fiddle. I figured the time had come for our kind to receive the kudos, the attention and the boys. The bad girls had hogged center stage long enough.

Before I wrote novels, I was a newspaper reporter of questionable talent for twenty years, never quite serious or responsible enough for the duty of recording all the news that’s fit to print. (My definition of what was fit to print and my editors’ often clashed. Apparently, it was not necessary to describe certain cops as “super cute.”)

Some novelists begin their careers by winning literary contests or writing their first manuscripts while pursuing a masters degree. I began mine by placing Barbie in forty contemporary and historical settings with photos taken by my friend (and awesome photographer) Geoff Hansen. BARBIE UNBOUND: A PARODY OF THE BARBIE OBSESSION became a cult hit, landed me on CBS This Morning and USA Today. It was, briefly, the most shoplifted book in America.
After that, I wrote the Bubbles Yablonsky mystery series featuring a bubble-headed blonde ditzy – or is she? – hairdresser with a gift for gossip who becomes a newspaper reporter. Kind of like a memoir, sure. And then a bunch of novels about women.
Today, I live in Vermont with my husband, a lawyer, and son, Sam, an upcoming high school junior. My daughter, Anna, is a senior at Bryn Mawr College where there are A LOT of smart girls. Also, there’s Fred, my five-year-old basset hound and between you and me, the love of my life.