Be More Chillis finally coming to Broadway, and fans couldn’t be more excited.
The upcoming musical is an adaptation of classic YA author Ned Vizzini‘s novel of the same name—though you may be more familiar with the author than the book. Vizzini’s 2006 release It’s Kind of a Funny Storybecame a cult-classic YA bildungsroman, depicting mental illness with rare honesty and vulnerability. While mental health is now a more approachable topic in YA fiction, the novel’s earnest portrayal of a promising-but-depressed teenager’s life on a psychiatric ward earned Vizzini a devoted following. In 2010, the novel received a successful film adaptation, starring household names Emma Roberts and Zach Galifianakis. Despite Vizzini’s untimely and tragic death in 2013, the legacy of his work continues to grow.
Image Via We Heart It
Published in 2003, Vizzini’s Be More Chillis a lesser-known but much-loved novel that’s sure to recieve a little more love with a new generation of fans. The musical’s Broadway run will begin on March 10, 2019.
Image Via Amazon
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. Now an off-Broadway musical!
The musical adaptation, brainchild of Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz, debuted in 2015 to little fanfare in a New Jersey suburb. By 2019, the original cast recording has been streamed more than 200 million times. According to Tumblr data, it’s the second most-hyped musical after Hamilton, an international fan favorite. In summer 2018, the show came to NYC for a limited off-Broadway run in wake of the massive Internet hype. Almost instantly, it sold out.
Image Via Vulture
Joe Iconis admits he doesn’t know the reason for the show’s unexpected success. “We were the best selling album of a musical that never had a run in New York,” he noted, stressing the incredible achievement of Be More Chill.
Even if fans don’t have the money to shell out for a Broadway ticket, there’s good news for those of us without a couple hundred bucks to spare. Now a viral sensation, Be More Chill will also recieve its own film adaptation… over fifteen years after its publication! While a distributor has not yet been chosen, fans will be eagerly awaiting more information.
If your Valentine’s Day was more of a Valentine’s Disaster, there are plenty of healthy ways to cope with the emotional fallout. There are also plenty of unhealthy ways, but we’re sure you already have those figured out. Whether you’re sick of being single, heartbroken over a relationship (this includes relationships that never happened), or just ruminating on your own limitless potential for destruction, why not take a break with a book? A book, at the very least, will never mooch off your rent money or lie about working late. These 7 books will help you on your journey to healing… or they’ll offer a pleasant distraction.
Juliet Takes a Breath
The most infuriating pieces of wisdom are often the most accurate. For instance, as we get older, we’ve realized the advice to get some sleep is actually pretty valid (even if we still don’t listen). An even more annoying piece of truth is this one: before you love someone else, you have to love yourself. Does that mean you’re completely un-depressed and think your body is flawless? No. It just means understanding your own needs before adding someone else’s into the mix. Juliet Takes a Breathby Gabby Rivera is the perfect novel for high hopes and heartbreak, focusing on a character’s self-development and personal growth after the end of a relationship.
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.
Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?
With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.
Look! It’s that Guillermo del Toro movie about the sexy fish man, now in book form. Just kidding. While this book is also extremely weird, it’s weird in a different way. Strange, smart, and erotic, Melissa Broder‘s The Pisceswill offer a fun distractions—while also commenting on the nature of why we seek out such distractions (a.k.a. calling us out).
Lucy has been writing her dissertation about Sappho for thirteen years when she and Jamie break up. After she hits rock bottom in Phoenix, her Los Angeles-based sister insists Lucy housesit for the summer—her only tasks caring for a beloved diabetic dog and trying to learn to care for herself. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube atop Venice Beach, but Lucy can find no peace from her misery and anxiety—not in her love addiction group therapy meetings, not in frequent Tinder meetups, not in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection, not in ruminating on the ancient Greeks. Yet everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer one night while sitting alone on the beach rocks.
Whip-smart, neurotically funny, sexy, and above all, fearless, The Pisces is built on a premise both sirenic and incredibly real—what happens when you think love will save you but are afraid it might also kill you.
The Lovers’ Dictionary
Told entirely through dictionary entries, this boldly creative novel tells the story of an ill-fated relationship. (That’s not a spoiler, but isn’t it more reassuring when you know something’s going to end?) Concise, blunt, and honest, David Levithan‘s The Lover’s Dictionary Since Levithan never reveals the gender of the protagonist’s partner, it’ll be even easier for you to find catharsis in seeing fragments of what might have been your own love story. Bonus: there are some particularly spicy passages condemning infidelity if that’s, uh, relevant to your current predicament.
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.
If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it―you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.
Tiny, Beautiful Things
It’s hard to imagine tiny, beautiful things when you can only think of enormous, terrible ones instead. Though not explicitly about romantic love, Cheryl Strayed‘s Tiny Beautiful Things is certainly about personal growth and using your own strength to overcome whatever struggles you’re going through (in this case, heartbreak). Topics range from coming out, to sexual fetishes, to topics that have nothing to do with falling in love and everything to do with loving yourself. The two are more connected than you may think.
Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice.
Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond. Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this bookis a balm for everything life throws our way.
The Post-Birthday World
We’re all inclined towards our own ‘What-Ifs,’ the unanswerable questions that we stubbornly attempt to answer with a million different—and, more importantly, fictional—mental scenarios. What if I had tried harder? What if they had lived closer? What if we were both two completely different people from the people we actually are, falling head over heels into a love we never actually shared? Lionel Shriver‘s The Post-Birthday World will help you consider these questions in a healthy way or, at least, in a way that’s probably healthier than whatever you’re currently doing.
Children’s book illustrator Irina McGovern enjoys a quiet and settled life in London with her partner, fellow American expatriate Lawrence Trainer, a smart, loyal, disciplined intellectual at a prestigious think tank. To their small circle of friends, their relationship is rock solid. Until the night Irina unaccountably finds herself dying to kiss another man: their old friend from South London, the stylish, extravagant, passionate top-ranking snooker player Ramsey Acton. The decision to give in to temptation will have consequences for her career, her relationships with family and friends, and perhaps most importantly the texture of her daily life.
Hinging on a single kiss, this enchanting work of fiction depicts Irina’s alternating futures with two men temperamentally worlds apart yet equally honorable. With which true love Irina is better off is neither obvious nor easy to determine, but Shriver’s exploration of the two destinies is memorable and gripping. Poignant and deeply honest, written with the subtlety and wit that are the hallmarks of Shriver’s work, The Post-Birthday World appeals to the what-if in us all.
Listen, we know that your breakup was all your ex’s fault—but on the off chance that you had anything to do with it, maybe it’s time to consider the reason why. Mandy Stadtmiller‘s Unwifeable is an unflinchingly honest memoir of self-destruction that will encourage you to really look at yourself (or possibly your messed-up hungover reflection) and face the truths you might want to deny.
Provocative, fearless, and dizzyingly uncensored, Mandy spills every secret she knows about dating, networking, comedy, celebrity, media, psychology, relationships, addiction, and the quest to find one’s true nature. She takes readers behind the scenes (and name names) as she relays her utterly addictive journey.
Starting in 2005, Mandy picks up everything to move across the country to Manhattan, looking for a fresh start. She is newly divorced, thirty-years-old, with a dream job at the New York Post. She is ready to conquer the city, the industry, the world. But underneath the glitz and glamour, there is a darker side threatening to surface. The drug-fueled, never-ending party starts off as thrilling…but grows ever-terrifying. Too many blackout nights and scary decisions begin to add up. As she searches for the truth behind the façade, Mandy realizes that falling in love won’t fix her—until she learns to accept herself first.
I am not myself these days
Some relationships are toxic from the start. (Of course, we mean all relationships are toxic, and love is a lie, and Valentine’s Day is a sham. Whatever consolation your broken heart needs.) But, to quote Bojack Horseman, “when you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.” I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir chronicles Kilmer-Purcell‘s time in a relationship that should have come with a warning label… though it basically already did. Perhaps this read will help you take a look at your relationships with a more critical, discerning eye.
The New York Times bestselling, darkly funny memoir of a young New Yorker’s daring dual life—advertising art director by day, glitter-dripping drag queen and nightclub beauty-pageant hopeful by night—was a smash literary debut for Josh Kilmer-Purcell, now known for his popular Planet Green television series The Fabulous Beekman Boys. His story begins here—before the homemade goat milk soaps and hand-gathered honeys, before his memoir of the city mouse’s move to the country, The Bucolic Plague—in I Am Not Myself These Days, with “plenty of dishy anecdotes and moments of tragi-camp delight” (WashingtonPost).
If you missed our earlier article on Mallory’s cancer lies, click the link or continue for a summary of the horrifying details. The thriller author’s recent notoriety should have been more fatal to his career than the cancer he falsely claimed to have. Instead, there have been few professional repercussions-a plot twist many attribute to Mallory’s race (white) and gender (male). Behaviors that may have doomed another writer or editor’s career-speaking in a fake British accent, allegedly leaving cups of urine around the office, pretending to have two PhDs while having exactly zero PhDs-seem benign when considering the big, ugly lies. Mallory did not have terminal cancer; his mother did not have terminal cancer; his father was not dead; his brother did not kill himself. The bigger, uglier truth, is that these falsehoods are unlikely to slow the sales of this runaway bestseller.
Mallory’s second novel is in the works. His publisher, William Morrow, has shown continued support.
Image Via Ny Times
To those just jumping in on the Dan-Mallory-is-a-liar bandwagon, you may be wondering, “could any of it really be true?” Bluntly, no. In an official apology (if that’s what his evasive statement actually was), Mallory admitted to his never having cancer. While he claimed his lies about a physical illness were to conceal his bipolar II diagnosis, psychology professionals say that the disorder would not cause organized, deliberate deception over an extended period of time. This was not an offhanded lie-Mallory impersonated his brother in emails, describing his (Mallory’s) own devastating wit and inspiring bravery in the face of terminal illness. Yikes. Also, all of his family members are distinctly not dead. So there’s that.
Unfortunately for everyone but Dan Mallory (and his loyal publisher), the novel was an instant #1 bestseller, the first debut to top the charts in eleven years. The resounding success of The Woman in the Window is no joke and no lie-but the novel itself may also have its basis in deception.
Image Via Sarah Denzil
A recent New York Times article has drawn comparisons between The Woman in the Window and Saving April, a 2016 bestseller from British author Sarah A. Denzil. If you don’t mind mild spoilers, let’s take a look at the similarities in a tidy, damning list form.
Both novels include the following:
Anxious, middle-aged female protagonists… One named Hannah, one named Anna…
…who discover something awful when spying through a window.
They discover something awful about their neighbors, who…
are an unhappily married couple and their troubled adopted child.
The troubled adopted child has a birth mother with substance abuse issues.
The protagonists are wracked with guilt over their past car crashes…
…which killed their husbands and young daughters…
all because they were distracted during a fight about their husband’s infidelity.
Unreliable narrators whose use of alcohol leads police not to trust them.
The same exact final plot twist.
“It is the EXACT same plot like down to the main characters’ back story,” reads an Amazon review comparing the two eerily similar novels. “Sorry but there’s no way the amount of stolen material is a coincidence.”
Image Via Ny Times
While it’s true that many crime novels share similar attributes, the timeline is also suspicious. Denzil’s novel hit shelves in early 2016; Mallory didn’t sell his novel until autumn of the same year. Mallory claims to have written his own thriller during summer 2015. Since he also claimed every member of his family was dead, his statement seems impossible to unilaterally believe. The Times article reports that Denzil has spoken out about her discomfort with the similarities-specifically, regret that some online reviewers believe Mallory’s book was the original. (It wasn’t.) Readers and writers across the Internet are asking the same question: is the book plagiarized?
Here’s a question with a more upsetting answer: if it is, will it matter?
The most effective accusations of plagiarism come when an author has copied another’s specific language or phrasing. Theft of creative intellectual property (plot points, characters) is much harder to prove-particularly in cases of genre fiction, where beloved tropes abound. As a result, most authors choose not to pursue legal action.
One such rare lawsuit occurred recently between fantasy authors Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark-Hunter books) and Cassandra Clare (Shadowhunters franchise). The series are similar in the broadest sense: both feature demon-fighting characters who protect the ordinary world, ordinary objects imbued with magical powers, and swords with names. Though Kenyon’s claims were dubious, this particular case illuminates the problem of intellectual property suits.
Image Via Cassandra Clare
Sherrilyn Kenyon didn’t invent glowing swords, and Sarah A. Denzil didn’t invent unreliable female narrators. But Dan Mallory did sell his book after Saving April‘s successful release… and he’s lied about everything else. While it’s unlikely that Denzil will endure the financial and emotional burdens of a copyright lawsuit, it is regrettably even less likely that it would make a difference in the face of Mallory’s financial success.
Benjamin Giroux always felt different because of his autism, and at times it made him stand out from the other children in ways he didn’t ask for. However, he has found a new way to distinguish himself- his literary superpower!
Viralslotshared a poem that a ten-year-old Benjamin wrote back in 2016 for class. His poem, “I Am,” amazed his teacher and gained him online supporters. It has gone viral since the last couple of years. It has even been shared and highlighted by the National Autism Association, and it deserves to keep being admired.
The poem reads:
I am odd, I am new.
I wonder if you are too.
I hear voices in the air.
I see you don’t, and that’s not fair.
I feel like a boy in outer space.
I touch the stars and feel out of place.
I worry what others might think.
I cry when people laugh, it makes me shrink.
I am odd, I am new.
I understand now that so are you.
I say, “I feel like a castaway.”
I dream of a day that that’s okay.
I try to fit in.
I hope that someday I do.
I am odd, I am new.
Image via Viralslot
“Ben’s goal was to have people understand that being odd is different, and different is amazing, and people shouldn’t be afraid of who they are,” Sonny Giroux told Today. “And that makes me one proud father!”
There is a powerful kind of honesty and vulnerability that is displayed in Benjamin’s words. An inability to connect with people is hard. Admitting to wanting to, can be even harder. Benjamin surely just scratched the surface of his talents back in fifth grade. He will be one to look out for in the future ahead.
It’s Valentine’s Day—now more than ever, we need a book to fall madly in love with. This week, we’ve got three reads that are sure to show you a good time. (If you’re in the middle of a less satisfying novel, consider a dalliance with one of these. We won’t tell.) Our picks this week are fun yet honest, ideal qualities for any date! While some of these are romance-oriented, let’s not forget that self-love and personal development counts for more than we sometimes remember. So, honestly, love yourself and give one of these a read. Without further ado, here are Bookstr’s Three to Read: the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week. Time to find your perfect match!
OUR HOT PICK
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.
Bookstr’s valentine is On the Come Upbecause we’ve fallen in love with #1 New York Times bestselling Angie Thomas, one of the most powerful voices in YA fiction today. Thomas expertly follows her breakout hit The Hate U Givewith this novel, a raw, insightful, and often funny depiction of coexisting ambition and poverty. Thomas strikes a masterful balance when discussing issues of racism and structural inequality, using her light and playful voice to approach topics few other YA authors have addressed in such detail. Her careful examination of social issues and deeply nuanced characters will appeal to old fans and snag new ones. Warm, earnest, and honest, On the Come Up is your perfect book date this V-day, and it’s sure to be a match.
OUR Coffee Shop Read
Meet Jack Rothman. He’s seventeen and loves partying, makeup and boys – sometimes all at the same time. His sex life makes him the hot topic for the high school gossip machine. But who cares? Like Jack always says, ‘it could be worse’.
He doesn’t actually expect that to come true.
But after Jack starts writing an online sex advice column, the mysterious love letters he’s been getting take a turn for the creepy. Jack’s secret admirer knows everything: where he’s hanging out, who he’s sleeping with, who his mum is dating. They claim they love Jack, but not his unashamedly queer lifestyle. They need him to curb his sexuality, or they’ll force him.
As the pressure mounts, Jack must unmask his stalker before their obsession becomes genuinely dangerous…
Jack of Hearts and Other Partsis as unabashedly queer as its protagonist, including surprisingly frank and open discussions of sex. We’re talking better than sex-ed, complete with descriptions of different types of sex; advice on coming out; and even discussions of asexuality, an often misunderstood sexual orientation. L.C. Rosen is—excuse the pun—ballsy in his open portrayal of sex, drinking, smoking, and partying, boldly addressing facets of some teenagers’ lives that few authors cover in such detail. Readers will love this proud and confident gay protagonist, whose story is refreshingly fun and upbeat. Open, honest, and incredibly fun, this one’s hot enough to be your Valentine’s book date. Don’t drink too much coffee—you’ll want to bring this book to bed.
Our Dark Horse
In this one-of-a-kind retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan, Alys Binat has sworn never to marry—until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider.
A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more.
When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’s lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad “Bungles” Bingla, the wildly successful—and single—entrepreneur. But Bungles’s friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. As the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal—and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance.
Readers will fall madly in love with this modern update on a timeless classic. While Unmarriageableis delightful and romantic, it also doesn’t hesitate to address the double standards that women face in regards to romance, sex, and courtship. A rich depiction of Muslim culture, Soniah Kamal‘s novel glitters with beautiful language and imagery that would enchant any potential reader. It’s as fun as it is aware, expertly examining social stratification as it takes its readers on an entertaining, colorful romp. Kirkus Reviews called this release “a charming update to the original,” perfect for Austen fans and any reader looking for a perfect match.