Be More Chill
Trigger Warning: Sexual themes
About the Author: Ned Vizzini was an American author of young adult fiction, with four books, including It’s Kind of a Funny Story, which received a movie adaptation in 2010. Be More Chill, his second book, received a musical adaptation in 2015.
“I turn the squip off in school so I can think about the stuff I used to think about.”
Be More Chill follows Jeremy Heere, an awkward, anxious teenager who keeps track of his high school interactions via Humiliation Sheets. Jeremy wants high school popularity to gain the attention of his high school crush, Christine Caniglia.
He decides to swallow a small super computer, called a Squip, that implants in his brain and tells him how to date girls, how to act at parties and, eventually, how to win over Christine.
The novel is cut into three parts, labeled “pre-squip”, “squip”, and “post-squip”. “Pre-squip” is the first part the reader encounters, allowing curiosity to guide the reader further into the novel. The chapters are short and episodic, which help the reader encounter the squip even quicker. The squip is a unique character of its own, and Jeremy’s internal monologue interacting with the super computer in his brain is an entertaining read. Jeremy Heere’s narration is awkward and disgusting, effectively reflecting both the nature of high school, and the nature of our protagonist. Despite being written in 2004, Ned Vizzini captures how foggy and confusing technology can make adolescence, how we all have our own choices to make, but social media can obscure and influence those choices beyond belief.
PRR Editor, Matty Ortega