- Manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen
Ty fell in love with Becca the minute he saw her in ninth grade, sitting alone in the cafeteria separating the broken animal crackers from the whole ones, and only eating the broken ones. He can't bring himself to approach her, however, so he tries to get information on her from Sydney, a girl he can talk to, and he eventually finds himself dating Sydney instead of Becca. Two years later, he's still dating Sydney, and still hopelessly in love with Becca. Syd is nothing if not pragmatic: she knows who holds Ty's heart, but she also knows that she has the rest of him, and that Becca is not the girl Ty idealizes her to be. In fact, Becca's so broken that even Ty's love isn't likely to fix her, a fact that Ty comes to face only gradually, as he befriends Becca while continuing, guiltily, to date Syd. Narration alternates between the present, where Ty is drinking in the park with his best friends while Syd finally breaks up with him, and Ty's recollections of the previous two years, which have been defined by his crush on Becca. He has written endless stories to exorcise his romantic demons and further idealize his dream girl, and even though he knows that his fantasized Becca is very different from the Becca who smokes pot and is always "open for business," he can't give up his hopes. This is therefore an examination of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope rather than reiteration of [End Page 426] it, but any readers who have lost their hearts to a troubled waif or watched while someone else did will relate to Ty's obsession. In fact, it is the watchers in this tale that carry a lot of the interest; Syd, Ty's sister, and his zany best buds all provide admirable support in different ways for their lovelorn pal as he works very hard to break his own heart.