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Photo: Youngsters at play on West Side, 1955
Photo: Youngsters at play on West Side, 1955
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Santa Rosa, CA
French country home
Overlooks the prestigious Mayacama Golf Course

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By Ned Vizzini.
Miramax/Hyperion, $16.95. (Ages 13 and up)
Ned Vizzini's novel ''Be More Chill'' is so accurate that it should come with a warning: May Lead to Horrified Recognition in Any Reader Who Has Ever Been, or Known, a Sexually Frustrated Teenage Boy. Vizzini anatomizes high school lust and social scheming without any condescending reassurance. If it weren't so funny, his first novel might be too painful to read.

Jeremy Heere is a prototypical loser of the 21st century. His pleasures come from Internet porn -- expect hilariously explicit language and sexuality throughout -- and not much else. His extensive humiliations, on the other hand, are tallied on preprinted sheets with categories like Snicker, Laugh, Refusal to Return a Head Nod and ''Mortification Event (a catch-all).'' Jeremy knows enough to recognize that ''being Cool is obviously the most important thing on earth,'' and when the opportunity to purchase a ''squip'' arises, he knows that it's his only hope. A squip is a swallowable supercomputer that does homework, picks out clothes and, most important, helps talk to girls. ''Human social activity is governed by rules,'' the squip tells Jeremy, ''and I have the processing capacity to understand, obey and utilize those rules.''

The concept is original enough, but the fun comes in the execution, particularly in the dialogues between Jeremy and his wisecracking electronic mentor. When the squip fails Jeremy, leading to a wry denouement, it's a failure of rules, not imagination. ''I'm badly programmed,'' says the squip. ''Get version 4.0 when it comes out.''

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