Thursday, September 29, 2011

Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini

ISBN: 978-0-7868-0996-7

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Source: Borders clearance rack, many moons ago

Summary: 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 small defeats that come his way...until he gets a "squip."
A supercomputer in pill form, the squip communicates directly with your brain to make you Cool. By instructing Jeremy on what to wear, how to talk, and who to ignore, the squip transforms Jeremy from a complete geek into a member of the social elite. Soon he is friends with his former tormentors and has the attention of the Hottest Girls in School.
But Jeremy discovers that there is a dark side to handing over control of your life--and it can have disastrous consequences.

I read this book because I was told back in high school that I absolutely had to read it, that it was fantastic, blah, blah, blah. Of course, I never did. Then the book club at the library I work in read it. I still didn't read it. When I heard that the book had come up on their schedule again, I decided now was the time. If I didn't read it, it would be spoiled for me. I was going to read it.
Of course, I mixed up the dates, so I didn't end up reading it before the book club, but directly after. It's okay though, because it's a high school book club and most of the time the kids never get around to reading the book anyway.
I'm going to be honest: I have absolutely no idea how I feel about this book. I'm hoping that I'll figuring out through rambling in a public forum. Jeremy is the typical nerdy teenage boy looking to climb the social ladder in order to get on the radar of Christine, one of the angelically beautiful popular girls. To do so he gets the squip, a computer that collects information, tells Jeremy what to say and do, and speaks in the voice of Keanu Reeves. The squip's voice was very well done, I really felt like I could hear it talking in Jeremy's ear when it spoke. Eventually the squip fails him in his big attempt to ask out Christine and the computer and its host part ways.
The concept of this book was pretty different. A tiny computer directing a geek to popularity? Pretty cool. One of the problems I had with this book was its conception of popularity. Drugs, drinking, and sex are all major parts of the "popular" crowds in high school. But having Eminem be a major way for Jeremy to break into the popular ranks? A tad unbelievable. I couldn't stop picturing Jamie Kennedy in Kickin' It Old Skool. Jeremy's popular self seemed to being far too much of a tool for me to believe that he ended up popular. I understand that the over-exaggeration was probably intentional, but it just didn't work for me.
Is it odd that I found a book about a micro-computer that could read someone's every thought and practically download the content of the internet a bit simplistic? That's the only feeling I can come up with. I just don't think I meshed well with the style of writing.
One thing I loved about this book was the activation/deactivation sequences of the squip.

Rating: 3 - fair.

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