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Literature / Be More Chill

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Be More Chill is a novel by Ned Vizzini that was published in 2004. It later received a musical theatre adaptation in 2015.

The book, set in around 2015, follows your average high school dork Jeremy Heere. Jeremy wants to be more popular and well-liked, and his prayers are answered when he gets his very own SQUIP- a supercomputer in the form of a pill that enters one's brain and tells them how to "be more chill". Along the way, he struggles with sexual endeavors, strained friendships, and his crush on a classmate.


Be More Chill contains examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Supercomputers capable of scanning brains and creating logs of every thought exist in the same world where house phones are used nearly exclusively.
  • The Alleged Car: Michael's car is a huge Buick that he never drives over 25 MPH. Post-squip, Jeremy is hugely embarrassed by it.
  • All for Nothing: Jeremy pays $600 for a supercomputer that ends up making his life worse.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Jeremy considers both his parents this. His father is routinely walking around the house in various states of undress, and his mother, though well-intentioned, tends to be overbearing.
  • Attention Whore: All the popular girls to an extent, most notably Jenna.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The story ends with the squip shutting down, and Jeremy intending to give Christine his account of what happened over the last few months. Since the book was meant to be said account, there's no way to know how Christine would react to the book, or if she'd even read it. However, Jeremy has learned to be a bit more confident, so he has that much going for him.
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  • Bowdlerized: An odd case of self-censorship. The first half of the book is spotted with uncensored swearing. The second half of the book, after the squip actively encourages Jeremy to swear, has the squip mentally censoring the words so that only a couple letters remain. eg. "fuck" may become "_ _ c _".
  • Bumbling Dad: Jeremy's dad, to a point.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Again, Jeremy's dad.
    Jeremy: My dad's successful, and he's an idiot.
  • Cassandra Truth: Jeremy's parents don't believe him when he tries to tell them about the SQUIP.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Christine mentioned earlier how she enjoyed getting handwritten letters from her dad, not emails. This gives Jeremy the idea to write the book.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: A graphic novel drawn by Nick Bertozzi has been announced for 2021.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: A common event for Jeremy, and one of the first things the SQUIP tries to eliminate. A line at the end of the book suggests he did it far more often than is actually mentioned.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The SQUIP. Michael has his moments as well.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Jeremy and Christine end the story on a negative note, and it's unclear whether Jeremy's explanation will help at all.
  • Everyone Has Standards: For someone getting no other action, Jeremy doesn't approve of the first person the SQUIP forces him to speak to.
  • Fun with Acronyms: SQUIP stands for Super Quantum Unit Intel Processor.
  • Geek Physiques: Jeremy is the thin variety. Michael is also pretty weak and skinny.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: After Jeremy does ecstasy at the house party, the squip strictly speaks in Spanish, which Jeremy barely understands. Doubles as a Bilingual Bonus for those who do speak the language.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Jeremy masturbates to pornography while on the phone with Michael, but justifies it to himself by stating that he isn't masturbating to Michael's voice. He's just multitasking.
    • Separate from this infamous scene, his sexuality is questioned several times by his father, and once briefly by the squip. Each time, Jeremy insists on being straight.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Michael uses this trope to his advantage; he can sit anywhere he wants at lunch because everyone assumes he's wearing the headphones so he can think.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: If Jeremy and Michael's relationship isn't romantic, then it's definitely this trope.
  • Hidden Depths: Rich mentions that his family is struggling with money.
    • Hot Goth Girl Samantha cuts razor blade scars up her legs.
  • Jerkass Ball: Jeremy holds this until he has to give up his SQUIP.
  • Konami Code: Jeremy repeats this to Rich, which allowed the latter's squip to know of the former's.
  • Mechanical Evolution: Jeremy's SQUIP is Version 2.5, and it's the first to attest that later versions are higher quality. It's later discovered that Michael's brother had a breakdown and is now extremely paranoid because he had purchased an early version of the SQUIP.
  • Name's the Same: In-Universe, when searching eBay for a squip, he kept getting hits for a Beanie Baby called "squip" instead. One of his early internet searches also turned up a flash game called squip.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: Jeremy and Michael. Jeremy even comments that 'hooking up' refers to sex if you're cool and kissing if you're not.
  • Nothing Personal: Rich only bullied Jeremy because his SQUIP promised that'd make him cooler; he apparently thinks Jeremy to be at least somewhat cool.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: Jeremy's mother promises that she and Jeremy's father are "good parents" immediately after his father asks if he's gay.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • At the house party, while looking for Michael, Jeremy and Christine find a few other Michaels until they find Mell.
    • Played with as there was both a boy named Mark Jackson and Jackson Marks at Jeremy's school.
  • Reality Ensues: Confessing your love to a girl in the middle of a play she's been treating as Serious Business isn't the best way to win her heart.
  • Schizo Tech: By 2015, people have access to sentient nanotechnology, yet are still using landlines.
  • School Play: Jeremy and Christine are both in A Midsummer Night's Dream, performed at the climax of the book.
  • Serious Business: This book has a pretty realistic depiction of drama students.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: Every girl Jeremy mentions seeing at the Halloween party is wearing one of these.
  • Stalker with a Crush: A couple students spread rumors about Jeremy being this towards Christine.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: While searching for a SQUIP on eBay, Jeremy allows his dad to believe he's looking for beanie babies.
  • Take That, Us: The squip dismissively says that writing isn't a real career, as any squip could do it.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. When Jeremy confesses everything to his mother at the end of the book, she makes arrangements for him to see a therapist. Turns out the therapist also had a squip, so Jeremy teaches him all he knows about squips.
  • Title Drop
    Squip: You need to be more chill.
    Jeremy: You mean, 'chill out'?
  • Upgrade Artifact: The SQUIP acts like one in many respects. It can recite all of Jeremy's lines for him, instantly do his homework, and teach him how to drive a car despite not having a license.
  • Virtual Sidekick: The SQUIP (Super Quantum Intel Unit Processor) is a micro-computer that implants in its user's brain and gives them instruction on how to be more socially acceptable.
  • Who's on First?: Jeremy struggles with roll call, as answering "Here" to a teacher's request for "Heere" tends to confuse said teacher.
  • Wild Teen Party: The Halloween party is a downplayed one, since it was run in conjunction with the school. The house party later definitely qualifies, though.

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