It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Ambitious NYC teen Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life - which means getting into the right school to get into the right college to get the right job. But once Craig aces his way into a great high school, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping and one night, nearly kills himself. Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her on face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio.
Vizzini (who spent time in a psychiatric hospital himself) has created a wonderful story. Every teen - depressed or not - can relate to Craig's struggles; we've all dealt with academic or social stress before. Vizzini tells the comforting truth that we're not alone. The lessons Craig learns are important, and reading It's Kind of a Funny Story helped me figure out some of my own life. Although some parts of the book can be awkward to read, its moving plot and uplifting themes make it a good read.
Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini
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 Supergeek to superchic.
The idea behind this book was fantastic - but the book wasn’t. A supercomputer inserted into your brain? So many things could go wrong, so many suspenseful plot twists abound. But Vizzini didn’t choose to do any of those things. I really liked the message of the book - that you shouldn't have to change yourself to "be more chill," but the story wasn't very good. The entire book was pretty much about the Squip wanting to get Jeremy laid, and Jeremy telling the Squip he only wanted Christine. The Squip itself, how it directed Jeremy, etc, was pretty interesting. It just wasn’t interesting enough to save my opinion of the book. Be More Chill started out pretty promising, but the ending just sucked.
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