GOOD NEWS: Tyler Darcy has just been published! And he's just a teenager! BAD NEWS: It's complicated.
Tyler Darcy has loved Rebecca Webb since the moment he first saw her, separating her animal crackers into broken pieces and whole pieces. She only ate the broken ones. ever since then she has been the Unattainable One, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl that shakes up your life and teaches you how to really LIVE, man. He tried to find out more about her with Sydney, but just ended up sort of dating her...for two years. He finally managed to make friends with Rebecca, but never got the courage up to tell her how he feels. Which brings us back to GOOD NEWS/ BAD NEWS. BAD NEWS: Tyler went and wrote a beautiful story all about Rebecca (well the one that lives inside his head at least) so Sidney has dumped him, his friends think he's at least a little psycho, and he has to finally tell his dream girl all his squishiest feelings. Unfortunately, dreams don't always come true and when a girl is on a pedestal she has an awfully long way to fall.
DISCLAIMER: I should admit that I hate the fiction trope of the Manic
Pixie Dream Girl (a girlish, whimsical young woman that brings troubled
moody men out of their doldrums by teaching them to let go and live life
to the fullest). Fortunately, Rebecca isn't really a MPDG at all and
this book is a very intelligent look at the dangers of idealization. Really, this book is almost TOO well written. that seems like a pretty unfair complaint, but Tyler is often too witty to read as a real teenager, BUT he is a (newly) published author so it ends up working. In fact the whole book ends up working really exceptionally well. It has pitch perfect dialogue, a likeable, relatable, and infuriatingly real (read that as totally blind) protagonist, and a really well developed supporting cast. The book takes place over one night with frequent flashbacks to show how the story got to this point. Leveen is quite good at picking the best moment to jump back and forward to keep us hooked and to highlight his themes and illuminate character. By only getting flashes of Rebecca we have to first rely on Tyler's (faulty) view of her and his friend's (faulty in a completely different way) view of her. This keeps the reader as seeing her as mysterious and alluring as Tyler does, and makes her slowly revealed reality more compelling as well. It takes pretty much the whole dang book, but you eventually get to really know both Rebecca and Tyler and they get to know more about themselves. It's a great book about how stupid love, lust, and impossible ideals make us all. It's equal parts fast, funny, cool, smart, and memorable. I highly recommend it to anyone that wants a great book about love that isn't always lovely.
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