So Yesterday

by Scott Westerfeld

Hunter and Jen are so cool that by the time other kids start noticing what they’re... read more

Hunter and Jen are so cool that by the time other kids start noticing what they’re doing and try to emulate it, Hunter and Jen are onto something else. Hunter has such a nose for the hip and trendy that he is actually paid by marketing companies for his opinion and predictions. His cell phone’s camera feature is always on standby as he snaps up pictures of “cool” for research in a book that is itself genuinely cool—fresh, original, inventive. The plot involves an intense mystery that pins Hunter and Jen in a race against both a giant, nameless but oh-so-familiar sneaker company named for a Greek goddess and an unknown group of activists who are trying to undermine cool culture in the name of individuality. Teens saturated in pop culture will love being on the inside with Hunter as he communicates in a perfectly understandable style while intentionally avoiding references to brand names. The appealing cover has tiny images, each a snapshot taken ostensibly by Hunter’s phone and explained more fully as the plot develops. In some over-the-top scenes, self-designated cool teen readers might feel uncomfortable at the fun Hunter pokes at trends and teen culture, and others might feel liberated by getting to know a character that is above and beyond mainstream high school norms. The amount of money that goes into creating and purchasing expensive consumer products that fulfill the perceived need for cool is staggering. Beneath the mystery, romance, and humor of this novel is biting social commentary. (Ages 13–17)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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