Kirkus (June 2004)

"Be More Chill: A Novel" [review]

A self-centered teenager swallows a supercomputer to make himself cool in this strangely amoral piece. Fifteen-year-old Jeremy is tired of being abused by popular kids. He's also tired of Internet porn; he wants real girls. So he buys an underground pill called a "squip," a supercomputer that lodges in his brain and tells him which shirts to buy and which girls to approach-and to ditch his old best friend. He follows the directions and is befriended, or at least calmly tolerated, by the cool kids. He eventually gets rid of the squip, but this is more because it stops doing its job (his favorite girl now hates him) than because Jeremy gains any sense of personal responsibility. There's no narrative comment on whether coolness is really the best aspiration or whether girls are real people. An interesting if unwieldy premise technologically, but diluted by the lack of character growth.