Scott Westerfeld – So Yesterday
69. So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld (2004)
Read By: Scott Brick
Length: 6h 33min (240 pages)
Genre: Young Adult
Started: 19 May 2008
Finished: 23 May 2008
Summary: You may not realize it, but Coolness is a pyramid. Right at the top are the Innovators (“the first person ever to wear his baseball cap backwards”). Below them are the Trend Setters, who winnow out which innovations are cool and which are crazy. Then come the Early Adopters, followed by the Consumers, and trailed at a distance by the Laggers. Hunter, our narrator, is a Trend Setter and a Cool Hunter – his job is to find the next big fad. However, one day after he meets Jen, an Innovator, his boss goes missing, and he and Jen uncover a conspiracy involving epilepsy cartoons, purple dye, and the coolest pair of shoes either of them has ever seen.
Review: There is absolutely no reason that I should have liked this novel – I’m not a teenager, and I’m certainly not (nor ever was) a cool teenager, nor a teenager obsessed with shoes, fashion, or fads, and when laid out in blank terms, the plot of this book looks pretty darn silly. So, I think it’s a testament to Scott Westerfeld’s skill at writing exciting, action-filled, and believable stories about believable teenagers that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. Also to Westerfeld’s credit is that while his books are slick and shiny and action-adventure on the outside, they’re actually really intelligent. This was most apparent in Peeps, when the biology was out on the surface, but it’s present in his Uglies Trilogy (quadrology, now), and it’s present here. He takes what could be a completely vacuous subject and story and injects it with facts about history, sociology, epidemiology, and cultural studies, thereby turning it into something subtly thoughtful and thought-provoking beneath the glitter and Cool. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: It’s a fun, quick, easy read, with something a little deeper but masquerading as pure fluff. Not the best book I’ve ever read (even with Westerfeld’s insights, the plot remains a little silly), but much better than I would have guessed from reading the back cover.
First Line: We are all around you.