The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project

We’re kicking off day 14 of Blogmas with another book review! (:


Riley lives in TropeTown, where everyone plays stock roles in novels. Riley, a Manic Pixie Dream Boy, is sent to group therapy after going off-script. Riley knows that breaking the rules again could get him terminated, yet he feels there must be more to life than recycling the same clichés for readers’ entertainment. Then he meets Zelda, a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (Geek Chic subtype), and falls head over heels in love. Zelda’s in therapy too, along with several other Manic Pixies. But TropeTown has a dark secret, and if Riley and his fellow Manic Pixies don’t get to the bottom of it, they may all be terminated.

My review

Rating: 3 stars

Note: Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a free, advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

This is a really cute book that I was ultra excited to read when NetGalley approved me. I think that as readers, we all love to joke around about tropes and the overuse of certain ones (especially the manic pixie dream girl trope), but I never imagined a book centered entirely around them.

This book is kind of like one long play on words. Does that make sense? It’s written around a ton of ironic cute fluffiness. It’s a book about book characters… knowing that they are book characters (but not for this book, per se), who get “requested” from authors to be in a novel. Basically, the tropes are like actors, except instead of watching their work on the big screen, we get to read about it on the pages of our favorite books.

The whole idea was (sorry to use this word again but I’m lacking a better descriptive) cute. All of the little manic pixies were very manic pixie-ish and Riley (AKA the only manic pixie boy who also happens to be the character who stared in The Fault in Our Stars [though this is never explicitly said because I’m sure the author isn’t trying to get into trouble but it is very heavily insinuated]) falls in love with one of the girls (Zelda). Each trope gets a character description sheet and everyone pretty much fits into their stereotype. A trope comes into existence when needed by readers and authors, so the tropes aren’t developed beyond TropeTown.

So, yeah, it was all very cutesy. But also a little… confusing? Developeds (AKA narrators or POV characters) aren’t in TropeTown but they are still living. I think? But they just live in the story written for them… I think.

I guess the reason I didn’t click with this was because it was so ironic and trope-y. I mean, yeah, the book is about tropes but I swear you can only take so much of manic pixie “cuteness” before you’re incredibly over it. It was a really quick read though, so it’s not like it drags on. It just didn’t hold my attention.

It did touch on some pretty important topics, however.  I wish these issues would’ve been featured more throughout the book instead of focusing so closely on the retirement of the manic pixie dream girl trope. For instance, at one point a couple of the characters got a lesson about racism and sexism that is often used in some tropes and why that shouldn’t be acceptable because it’s essentially a negatively fueled stereotype. I think that the goal was for the entire book to be about this lesson, but it fell short in that aspect to me because there wasn’t enough focus on it.

Overall, it’s not something I hated. If you like quick, fluffy, ironic stories, than I’d suggest you check it out! But it wasn’t really for me, sadly.

(I would like to now apologize for make you read the word “cute” so many times. I really don’t know how else to describe a story like this. It was overwhelmingly so)

What are some of your favorite tropes? Your least favorite? Talk to me (:

4 thoughts on “The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project

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