I have spoken about Tom Leveen often with writers and readers, telling them how uniquely realistic he is as an author for young adults. He gets to the right level of real when it comes to the crazy emotions of young love and the levels of intimacy between two people with all the awkwardness that a reader can bare. After I read Zero I became an instant fan of Leveen’s. His characters are people that are actually out in the world who have always had a voice but maybe just don’t get heard as often because they aren’t dealing with the end of world.
What I enjoyed most about Manic Pixie Dream Girl was the layout of Tyler’s story. Just a night out with friends and memories of the past couple of years playing out in his mind. It read like a cult classic 80’s movie that had a way better ending that was just wonderful. I can see Leveen’s variety of characters as they banter with hilarious and deep dialogue that keep the impact of Tyler’s actions at full throttle. Everything about this book was perfect.
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Sometimes the most dramatic scenes in a high school theater club are the ones that happen between the actors and crew off stage.
Seventeen-year-old Tyler Darcy's dream of being a writer is starting to feel very real now that he's sold his first short story to a literary journal. He should be celebrating its publication with his two best friends who've always had his back, but on this night, a steady stream of texts from his girlfriend Sidney keep intruding. So do the memories of his dream girl, Becky, who's been on his mind a little too much since the first day of high school. Before the night is over, Ty might just find the nerve to stop all the obsessing and finally take action.
Even though Ty finds himself having to choose between two girls I got him. I understood why and how he was with someone like Sidney. I did like that he was kept honorable and maybe that’s why I like him. I don’t believe the intention of Leveen was to hate Ty but to be able to understand that people can see the good in the ones society puts negative labels on. He is able to accept Becky’s faults and see what the cause is just by listening and observing, not reacting. He is the type of guy who must review a situation before judging but can also make up excuses for something he doesn’t want to admit. He reveals a lot of himself within his writing, which I think readers will have fun with.
Becky is someone readers will want to shake. At least I did because I wanted to tell her she was worth something and to stop making awful mistakes. Becky’s family situation is so awful that I wanted to give her dad in particular a punch in the gut just like Ty wished he could. I’m not sure if teens will identify with her family issues but may be able to get a glimpse of how someone like Becky is labeled for her possible rumored actions.
The dialogue between all of the characters is so witty and fun and yet they still maintain seriousness about them that I loved. Ty is more confident when dealing with Becky when he’s being sarcastic. I thought he developed into a more daring guy as he progressed through high school. Ty and his sister are funny in the best way siblings usually are but really listen to each other. Sidney and Ty set an example of a typical high school couple that hit a bump in their relationship. They have a connection though that I appreciated because they both support each other in what they hope to do later in life.
I really stand by Tom Leveens’s books because of the issues he manages to shed light on for teens. Ty is someone who is discovering who he wants to be in life while he tries to cope with his crush on Becky the girl he can’t seem to make his. Becky struggles with a heavy load of high school rumors that she has to overcome and has to want to see herself the way Tyler does. People may be torn over the ending but I really fall in love with Leveen’s endings because they end with possibilities. He is able to take his characters and implant them in your brain to create your own ending. You think about them afterwards and people like Tyler can be inspiring to teens on so many levels. Manic Pixie Dream Girl is out now to purchase.
*Make sure to check out my song pick for Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I wish I could have found the acoustic version but the lyrics still scream Tyler.