It’s an effed up world but it’s a two-player game!: Reviewing Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini

I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t read a lot of YA literature in recent years. I guess it’s because I’m in college now so I’m more than happy to forget about high school nonsense, even in fictional worlds. However, after listening to the musical of the same name that was based off of this novel, I knew I immediately had to tell everybody about this particular novel. I stole it from my sister for now so I can bring you a review of Be More Chill. 

Jeremy Heere is just another high school student struggling to get through the drama of it all with his best friend, Michael Mell, by his side. One day, Jeremy decides to change his life in order to ask out the beautiful Christine Caniglia on a date. That’s when he is introduced to the squip, a pill-sized supercomputer that can make him into the coolest guy in high school. Soon, Jeremy comes to face the disastrous consequences of giving complete control of his life to the malicious squip.

Vizinni perfectly mixes the realities of high school with a touch of science fiction absurdity. Be More Chill has a great balance of quirky humor and touching moments that emulates the struggles anyone who has been to high school can understand. It’s a fast-paced read with plenty of quirky characters who get you invested immediately. If you’re already a fan of the musical, you will love this novel. If you already love this novel, I highly recommend the musical of the same name. Be More Chill is the perfect read for YA lit lovers and/or high school students looking for a relatable novel.

When Virtual and Reality Collide: Reviewing Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I’ve never been a huge gamer. I did love my GameCube as a kid and I played Wii Sports with my younger sister. I had a Nintendo DS that I used to play Nintendogs on. Other than that, I prefer to watch videos of other people playing video games. With that being said, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Ready Player One with my limited knowledge of video games and the 1980s.

In the year 2044, the world is a cramped, polluted, and dangerous place. In order to escape this grotesque landscape, Wade Watts and the rest of the population dive into the virtual world of OASIS. In this virtual world, anything is possible as its universe is vast and provides more opportunities than the real world. When the creator of OASIS, Jack Halliday, dies he leaves behind a series of puzzles and challenges that lead to the Egg. Anyone who find the Egg wins the right to be the sole heir of OASIS. After fruitless years of searching, Wade stumbles across the first puzzle. He finds himself in a race against time to find the Egg before the thousands of other players and a dangerous corporation known as the the Sixxers. Things take a turn for the deadly when people begin to die in the real world. Wade must complete the tasks and find the Egg before he is taken out of the game permanently.

Like I said, I’m not a gamer and my knowledge of 1980s pop culture is limited but I found myself sucked into this novel from the first chapter. Cline doesn’t expect his readers to know all of this and is more than happy to explain these references without taking up too much of the narrative. The story is told through Wade’s point of view and it is funny, sarcastic, and smart. The stakes in the book become surprisingly high and the tension raises with each page. This novel is the perfect gift for the gamer in your life or you can even read it yourself. Either way, Cline’s book was a surprisingly enjoyable read with plenty of action and wit to go around.

Note: I have heard tell that this book maybe adapted into the movie but last I checked, nothing was confirmed.