Manic Pixie Dream Boys?

Dear Riley (Manic Pixie Dream Boy #0002),

An Author alleged you went off script on your last completed project, your second such infraction. Statute 124 of the TropeTown Code of Conduct mandates compulsory behavioral therapy in a group environment. Please report to Room 9393 of the Healing Center at 8:00 a.m. daily, starting tomorrow, for the following eight weeks. We encourage you to take this chance at rehabilitation seriously. As you are aware, should your behavior warrant a third complaint, a disciplinary tribunal will convene to discuss your possible termination.


Your Friendly TropeTown Council

This book is a classic case of the cover and quick description actually don’t work in the book’s favor. Seriously, this book popped up on All the Books Podcast when it was released, and as soon as they said the name, I rolled my eyes. Then they talked about the book, and I was actually intrigued. I hope this review intrigues someone else!


The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project 

By Lenore Appelhans

Format: Hardback library book
Genre: YA, Romance,
Page Count: 272 Pages
Rating: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 3.5/5 Moose


In TropeTown, all the stock characters live until they are needed for stories. Sometimes being a trope just doesn’t feel like it’s enough of a life, which is how Riley, a Manic Pixie Dream Boy, has ended up in therapy and at risk of being Terminated. With the recent loss of his best friend (the only other Manic Pixie Dream Boy) and his new found crush on fellow MPDG Zelda, Riley and the other MPDG in therapy need to figure out what is going with their trope before something bad happens.


Riley – The newest (and 2nd in existence) Manic Pixie Dream Boy. New to therapy after his best friend (the first MPDB) is terminated.

Zelda – A MPDG (Geek Chic subtype) who is also in therapy. Riley also has a crush on her.

Ava – the Developed in the latest book Riley is working in

Nebraska – the original Manic Pixie Dream Girl. A bit of an antagonist in this book.

Rants, Raves, and Reviews

So first, what exactly is a Manic Pixie Dream Boy? Or a Manic Pixie Dream Person? Typically a quirky person whose whole purpose is to help the main character of a book or a movie realize there is more to life than what they’re currently experiencing.


Okay, most people probably know what MPDG are. If you don’t, this book is a real meta dive for you to get real acquainted with the trope. This book examines what tropes are, how tropes evolve, if tropes are necessary and why, and can some tropes be saved.

All in a weirdly positive (and attractive but not TOO attractive) novel. TropeTown is a town with all four seasons, though the weather is still always perfect, life is good if you’re on the Right Side of the Tracks, and it comes with a lot of rules. And MAJOR consequences. And this is where Riley and his friends live, until they’re needed for a book.

The way that books being written is described is such a blast. It’s like bringing actors into a large green room, where there is a station for food and whatever. And then as the author writes, the scene just appears and the characters start saying the author’s lines. But the characters do have the option to say their own lines, because the characters are real people: either Developeds or Tropes!

Confused? Don’t worry! That’s kind of the point of the book, don’t worry!


I was smitten with Riley very early on in the book. I mean, you’re supposed to be with MPDB, aren’t you? He’s obnoxiously cheery, as all MPDG seem to be, and overall everyone feels….shallow. Not as in they don’t care, just that they are a bit one dimensional. And that’s kind of the point?

I think my favorite part of this book is the genuine discussion of retired tropes and why they’ve been retired. For the most part, it is because the tropes are racist or sexist, and they need to be retired or morphed into something else.

In the end, what I could have probably done without is the romance?

Final Thoughts

I am not always big on meta books, even though I love meta TV show episodes, but this one actually is worth a read. I personally am not ready for the MPDP(erson) trope to go away, though I did have a very uncomfortable moment realizing I have had at least one guy try to make me his MPDG. It’s…not a great feeling? But really, this is a fun world and a fun book.


One response to “Manic Pixie Dream Boys?”

  1. […] reading Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project, I realized I hadn’t read any books with a Manic Pixie Dream Boy. Sure, I had seen them in […]

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