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Scott Westerfeld – So Yesterday

May 23, 2008

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.

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First Line: We are all around you.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2008 4:19 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! I’ve never heard of this book, only the Uglie series. Thanks for the review!

  2. June 3, 2008 6:52 pm

    If you’ve only ever heard of the Uglies series, I’d really recommend Peeps over this one. So Yesterday wasn’t bad, but I thought Peeps was great. It takes the premise that vampirism is a parasitic infection – and that some people are immune to the nastier effects of the parasite, just getting the enhanced speed and senses, and a craving for really rare steaks. :) The biology’s sound, and it’s a fun, quick-moving YA read.

  3. liz permalink
    February 14, 2009 11:01 am

    I must say Westerfeld is one of my new favorites but after reading the Uglies books I was reminded of ‘This Perfect Day’ by Ira Levin. If you’ve not read that one give it a try. I too find ‘So Yesterday” hard to book talk but most definately enjoyed it, ‘Peeps’ and it’s sequel are now on my TBR pile!

  4. March 19, 2009 4:42 am

    Westerfeld has fast become one of my fave authors since reading Peeps and have since read The Last Days, the Midnighters series and the Uglies series and in all honesty So Yesterday was the worse out of the lot but it was still say a 2.5 to 3 for me.


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