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Be More Chill Hardcover – June 2, 2004
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In a novel that could be described as a kinder, gentler version of M.T. Anderson's Feed, young author Ned Vizzini draws on the very recent recollections of his years at Stuyvesant High School to create a witty commentary on the annoying realities of teen social life.
Jeremy Heere is convinced that people are born Cool: "See, because being Cool is obviously the most important thing on earth It's more important than getting a job, or having a girlfriend, or political power, or money, because all those things are predicated by Coolness." And he hasn't got it. Every day he yearns hopelessly for beautiful Christine. Then, one day he gets a squip--a tiny quantum supercomputer that looks like a little gray capsule and when swallowed becomes a voice in his head instructing him in the ways of Cool. Soon, every gril he admires is his--including Christine. But when the squip turns malevolent in its merciless pursuit of the goal, Jeremy begins to realize that Cool is not as cool as he thought it was. (ages 14 up) --Patty Campbell
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–This wacky, irreverent novel stars an uncouth, smart, nerdy, but sympathetic antihero, Jeremy Heere. The teen actually keeps Humiliations Sheets on which he tallies the number and types of affronts that he encounters in his daily life at his New Jersey high school and finds solace in the evenings viewing Internet porn. When the girl he secretly loves is cast opposite him in a school play, he decides to find a way to break the mold he's built around himself so that she will understand and reciprocate his admiration. Buying an extreme bit of illegal nanotechnology in the back room of a Payless shoe store, Jeremy swallows the "squip," which embeds itself in his brain and advises him on all the cool things to say and do to impress Christine. Vizzini has devised a hilarious alternate reality, very close to the one available to Jeremy's real peers–Eminem is a pop-culture presence (although he has recently died in this world). The squip malfunctions when Jeremy takes Ecstasy (not only miscuing Jeremy but also defaulting to Spanish), and so on. There are genuine and serious issues of morality folded into this story, including Jeremy's dilemma of how to make himself both attractive and sincere in Christine's perception. Like Janet Tashjian's The Gospel According to Larry (Holt, 2001), this novel has substance as well as flash, and lots of appeal to bright teens. Although it is literary and funny, the blatant sexual themes and use of profanity may limit its acceptability in schools.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
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