Kliatt (June 2004)

By Paula Rohrlick

"Be More Chill: A Novel" [review]

Nerdy Jeremy longs to be cool and win Christine, the girl of his dreams. He passes his time in high school pining for her, carefully noting down all the daily humiliations he suffers, and spends his evenings masturbating to Internet porn, until he learns about "squips." A squip is a tiny computer in pill form; once ingested, it manifests itself as a voice inside your brain (speaking in the tones of Keanu Reeves!) advising you how to behave to be considered cool: how to dress, walk, and talk, who to talk to, and who not to talk to. With the help of his squip Jeremy soon finds himself among the cool set, friendly with those who previously bullied or ignored him and the object of female attention—even Christine's. Of course, it all goes wrong, since computers aren't infallible, and after making an all-too-public bid for Christine's affection Jeremy is once again a laughingstock. Vizzini, the talented young author of the funny memoir Teen Angst? Naaah... is now 22; his observations on teen life and his sarcastic sense of humor remain razor-sharp. The dialogue is witty, laced with obscenities, and believable. The content is somewhat raunchy, with references to sex, porn and masturbation. Not for every library, but more mature teens will find this entertaining and perhaps thought provoking and they will certainly recognize the common high school types Vizzini pokes fun at here.