“See, because being Cool is obviously the most important thing on earth. It’s more important than getting a job, or having a girlfriend, or political power, or money, because all those things are predicated by coolness.”

Can’t say I don’t agree with it.

There is a divergence here between Be More Chill the book by Ned Vizzini and the hit Broadway Musical based off the book with some changes. Both stories focus on Jeremy, a socially inept teenager, his best friend Michael, and a Faustian bargain that will change his status forever.

Be More Chill - A Book Review With A Twist

Jeremy’s day-to-day life consists of being picked on, being ignored, hanging with his best friend, Michael. His other classmates have a habit of only noticing the strange habits Jeremy seems to have to keep a tally of things that make him uncomfortable. This all changes when Jeremy finds out about a SQUIP (a Super Quantum Unit Intel Processor); a microchip computer activated by green mountain dew.

The SQUIP serves as an instructor to Jeremy. It tells him how to be cool, what to say, things he can do to change so the other students would notice. In the book, the SQUIP has a completely different purpose than in the musical.

Be More Chill - A Book Review With A Twist

In the book, the SQUIP is just as vulnerable and weak as Jeremy, quick to make mistakes and learn on the job. In the musical, the SQUIP takes on an antagonistic role, eventually trying to take over the world.

The book was written by Ned Vizzini, the best selling author who sadly ended his life at a tragically young age. The story in a way reflects no matter how hard you try, willpower isn’t enough, versus the musical one which has more character growth and development. Jeremy’s primary focus in both stories is Christine, the girl he’s been in love with for years and who barely knows he exists.

There are some themes that stay consistent throughout Be More Chill, such as the play, the Midsummers Night Dream by Shakespeare.

Be More Chill - A Book Review With A Twist

In the musical, it’s a zombie version of the play, where Christine takes the role as Puck, Jeremy as Lysander. Where they start to bond over their love of theater.

As far as stories go, Be More Chill is entertaining, fun and compelling. Ned Vizzini taps into the dread and anxiety that teenagers have to deal with, as well as the need and desire to change.