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Be More Chill
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Be More Chill
The Graphic Novel
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The groundbreaking story by New York Times best-selling author Ned Vizzini that inspired the Tony-nominated Broadway musical—now adapted in a graphic novel by #1 New York Times best-selling author...
The groundbreaking story by New York Times best-selling author Ned Vizzini that inspired the Tony-nominated Broadway musical—now adapted in a graphic novel by #1 New York Times best-selling author...
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  • The groundbreaking story by New York Times best-selling author Ned Vizzini that inspired the Tony-nominated Broadway musical—now adapted in a graphic novel by #1 New York Times best-selling author David Levithan.

    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 geek to the coolest guy in class. 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.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2020

    Gr 9 Up-In this graphic adaptation of the 2004 YA novel (which spawned a cult musical), Jeremy, an unpopular teen with a crush on Christine, a castmate in his school play, decides to get a SQUIP, a brain implant that will help him "be more chill." SQUIP makes all of his decisions and directs his social interactions, ordering him to dump his uncool best friend Michael, teaching him how to attract teen girls through manipulation, and using lies to attempt to sway Jeremy (when Michael calls Jeremy a dick, the SQUIP tells Jeremy that the word means "liked and powerful"). Jeremy sees another SQUIP-enhanced teen lose his mind, but it's not until a SQUIP-directed grand gesture designed to charm Christine backfires that he decides it's time to make his own decisions. The concept of this work may have seemed advanced in 2004 but feels dated now, despite references to dependence on Siri and Google and a desire to have them implanted. The story isn't futuristic enough to engage today's teens, and the 2004 pop culture references may not connect. The book relies on well-worn high school tropes, where popularity comes from treating so-called uncool people like garbage and blowing off old friends until one is popular enough to allow them into one's new circle, which may not resonate with contemporary teens. The art supports the story well, with grayscale illustrations that use shades of blue to highlight elements of the dialogue and different parts of each panel. Most characters are white apart from Michael, who is dark-skinned with black curly hair. VERDICT An additional purchase for large libraries.-Carla Riemer, Albany H.S., CA

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    November 15, 2020
    Doesn't every teenager want to be more chill? Jeremy feels left out of the high school social scene. He has one male friend (also dorky) and no girlfriend. He records insults he receives from other students on checklists. Then a classmate tells him about the squip, a pill that installs a supercomputer in your brain, guiding you to become cool. Jeremy invests $600 and soon the squip is giving him instructions (in blue speech balloons) and he's on his way. Jeremy, who has already landed the role of Lysander in the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, starts to change his persona and quickly becomes more successful in the relationship department. Although the squip technology tries to rule the situation, Jeremy and dream girl Christine still manage to keep the human element front and center, with Christine's insights keeping their relationship grounded and Jeremy expressing his love by writing this book. This graphic adaptation of the popular 2004 novel and later Broadway musical is not as raunchy or humorous as the original, but it tells the same story, and some teens will prefer this format. The illustrations in blue, black, and white are drawn from varying perspectives, and, in an amusing twist, Jeremy's best friend, Michael, is portrayed as the artist. Most characters are White; Michael is Black. A boy's pipe dreams, enhanced and destroyed by modern technology, blossom into creativity and love. (adapter's note) (Graphic fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 1, 2004
    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) .

  • Booklist

    February 1, 2021
    Grades 9-12 Jeremy Heere is pitifully uncool, and in a desperate bid to escape his low rung on the social ladder and hopefully attract his crush, Christine, he swallows a squip, a nanocomputer that occupies his brain and instructs him on what to say and how to act. Bertozzi and Levithan's graphic adaptation of Vizzini's 2004 novel of the same name preserves many of the cultural touchstones of the early aughts (Jeremy wears a shirt that says, "I Let the Dogs Out," for instance), which initially makes it seem a little dated. As the story progresses, however, those touchstones not only serve to emphasize how eerily prescient Vizzini's novel was, but also offer biting commentary on social media, as, unsurprisingly, the squip does more harm than good. Sharp teenage dialogue and classic high-school plot points (parties, drinking, gossip, weird teachers, a school play) will likely ring true to teen readers, and Bertozzi's crisp outlines and expressive faces, perfectly complemented by the steely gray and blue palette, do an excellent job of visualizing the sf-lite atmosphere.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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