Be More Chill
  • Be More Chill
  • Be More Chill

Be More Chill

4.3 53
by Ned Vizzini

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Jeremy Heere is your average high school dork. Day after day, he stares at beautiful Christine, the girl he can never have, and dryly notes the small humiliations that come his way. Until the day he learns about the "squip." A pill-sized supercomputer that you swallow, the squip is guaranteed to bring you whatever you most desire in life. By instructing him on

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Jeremy Heere is your average high school dork. Day after day, he stares at beautiful Christine, the girl he can never have, and dryly notes the small humiliations that come his way. Until the day he learns about the "squip." A pill-sized supercomputer that you swallow, the squip is guaranteed to bring you whatever you most desire in life. By instructing him on everything from what to wear, to how to talk and walk, the squip transforms Jeremy from Supergeek to superchic.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Who wouldn't want an ingestible super-computer-in-a-pill designed to make the person who swallows it way cooler than he or she ever was? When shy, dorky Jeremy Heere learns of the device-known as a squip-he knows he must do whatever it takes (in his case, steal and sell a portion of his unpleasant aunt's Beanie Baby collection) to raise the $600 necessary to get one. Soon the squip is installed in his brain, dispensing such crucial nuggets as "You have to talk as per rap-slash-hip-hop, the dominant music of youth culture" and "Step one is that you stop pacing and get a new shirt, Jeremy." All this is in service of his ultimate goal: winning the affections of choosy and self-assured Christine. Vizzini (Teen Angst? Naaah...) gives a fresh twist to familiar messages about being loyal to one's friends and true to oneself, thanks to the over-the-top plot and tangy narrative. Readers grappling with their own social status will appreciate the fact that while the notion of coolness may be satirized here, it's certainly not demonized or dismissed. Although the squip's advice is not infallible, Jeremy's life really does improve once he polishes his social skills. Semi-cool, would-be cool and even cool readers are likely to be entertained by the wry, nearly anthropological observations of the high school caste system, from a 23-year-old author who, as a teenager, wrote for the New York Press and the New York Times Magazine. Ages 13-up. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Jeremy Heere is a dork, a dweeb, a smart wannabe teenager who also has a serious hormone problem and a fixation on one thing. Jeremy actually keeps what he calls his Humiliation Sheets. He keeps a daily account of the insults that he endures every day from his peers at his New Jersey High School. A purchase of an illegal piece of super-technology promises to make him cool. Jeremy steals Beanies from his aunt's huge Beanie Baby collection to earn the $600 he needs to make his illegal super chip purchase. He purchases this chip, also called a "squib" in the back storeroom of a Pay-Less shoe store at the local mall. The chip immediately begins to speak to Jeremy in the voice of Keanu Reeves. This squib, the new director of his consciousness, begins to guide him on clothes' purchases, cool things to say and cool moves to make. Jeremy actually becomes a new person and this becomes immediately noticeable. While his classmates see him as a cool person, the squib makes poor decisions that have very unintended consequences for Jeremy. There are many important social and ethical issues addressed in this book. Graphic language and adult issues make this book suitable for the mature teen. 2004, Hyperion, Ages 14 up.
—Sue Reichard
Bumbling ineptly through his suburban New Jersey high school, geeky Jeremy Heere lusts after the hot girls in his class and admires the beautiful Christine Caniglia from afar. Then Jeremy hears of the "squip," a dangerous and illegal new supercomputer device that "sits in your brain and assists you." Desperate to improve his social life, Jeremy manages to procure a squip-ingested in pill form—which begins teaching him how to be cool all the time. The squip is unintentionally funny. It silently communicates with Jeremy's brain in the voice of Keanu Reeves, telling Jeremy that he is "a serious dork" and advising him on every conceivable detail of dress, personal fitness, and conversational tactics with girls. Enhancement of the adolescent brain has become a popular theme; readers may be reminded of David Lubar's Flip (Tor, 2003/VOYA August 2003) and M. T. Anderson's Feed (Candlewick, 2002/VOYA December 2002). There is a ghastly hilarity about this powerful, terribly earnest computer utterly devoted to the single purpose of helping a teenaged boy score with his female classmates. The squip urges Jeremy to play the field and becomes morose when its host remains romantically fixated on Christine. Thus aided, Jeremy begins to connect with the opposite sex, but as in The Mask and the Nutty Professor films, it becomes evident that instant, canned coolness is unsustainable. Vizzini, who made waves as the nineteen-year-old author of Teen Angst? Naaah (Free Spirit 2000/VOYA October 2000), presents a sharp, funny satire of contemporary adolescence. VOYA Codes 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; SeniorHigh, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Hyperion/Miramax, 320p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Walter Hogan
High school geek Jeremy is socially awkward, nearly friendless, and unhealthily obsessed with the confident and beautiful Christine. He goes through his school days eavesdropping on conversations around him and ticking off marks on his Humiliation Sheets (so he can keep an accurate record of how many times he's laughed at, ignored, and so forth). He transitions from relative obscurity to one of the cool kids when he gets his hands on a "squip," a small supercomputer designed to make people cooler once they ingest it. The squip directs his every move, telling him what to say and how to act. Everything seems to be going smoothly--Jeremy has friends, always says the right thing, and is making real progress with Christine. But nothing can stay this perfect forever, and the squip starts to lead Jeremy to make some questionable choices, culminating in a humiliating public profession of his love for Christine, who, predictably, is mortified by his behavior. Though the story obviously requires a great suspension of disbelief, it is a witty send-up of high school hierarchies. As in so many other novels, Jeremy follows the well-established pattern of moving from nobody to somebody, only to find himself back where he began. What makes this novel different is the weird and unique idea of a squip, which will intrigue readers. Coarse language--encouraged by the squip--and graphic sexual scenes make this novel for an older audience and not for every collection. This engaging satire on popularity will appeal to the geeks, the cool kids, and everyone in between. KLIATT Codes: S--Recommended for senior high school students. 2004, Hyperion, 283p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Amanda MacGregor
School Library Journal
Gr 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 Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
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. (Science fiction. YA)

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Product Details

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Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.75(d)
HL700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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