Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"So Yesterday"

Synopsis From B&N.com:
We are all around you.You don’t think about us much, because we are invisible. Well, not exactly invisible. A lot of us have hair dyed in four colors, or wear five-inch platform sneakers, or carry enough metal in our skin that it’s a hassle getting on an airplane. Quite visible, actually, come to think of it.
But we don’t wear signs saying what we are. After all, if you knew what we were up to, we couldn’t work our magic. We have to observe carefully, and push and prompt you in ways you don’t notice. Like good teachers, we let you think you’ve discovered the truth on your own.
And you need us. Someone has to guide you, to mold you, to make sure that today turns into yesterday on schedule. Because frankly, without us to monitor the situation, who knows what would get crammed down your throats? It’s not like you can just start making your own decisions, after all.
Ever wonder who was the first kid to keep a wallet on a big chunky chain, or wear way-too-big-pants on purpose? What about the mythical first guy who wore his baseball cap backwards? These are the Innovators, the people at the peak of the cool pyramid.
Seventeen-year-old Hunter Braque is a Trend setter, on the second level of the pyramid. His job: find the newest, coolest thing for the retail market. His MO: observe, don’t get involved. But from the moment he meets Innovator Jen James, he can’t help getting involved in a big way.
Part love story, part mystery, part stinging satire, Scott Westerfeld’s spellbinding new novel will make you question everything you’ve ever believed about how to be cool.

I've read all of Scott Westerfeld's other teen fiction books, and I enjoyed them a lot-- especially his Ugly series and Peeps (which was kind of a vampire book). So when I finally found this one at the library, after being told that I just HAD to read it because it was the best book he's ever wrote, I was expecting something major, something powerful, a story that would reach right out and not just grab me but hit me--hard. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed in the end.

The story is very different, and it does cover both mystery, a bit of teenage romance, and proves a point, but other than that, I felt that the over all book was only so-so. The characters were kind of flat, and even though the story was told in first person, from Hunter's point of view, it wasn't very captivating, like a good 1st POV should be. Then again, my dislike of it could have also been because it was a guy that was the main character, a guy that did all the talking, and in the books that I read, I'm use to it being a girl. Maybe if we could have heard more about Hunter instead of listening to him go on and on about his job and figuring out the 'great mystery', I would have enjoyed it more.

Hunter's world isn't really that different from our world today-- they may use different words, etc, then us *Trendsetter, Lagger to name a few*, but that's about it. We've become a society that relies on technology and new products-- we always want the newest, the coolest, the best item on the market. Some of us more than others, true, but as a whole, that's usually how it works. The companies know this, and they use it to get more money out of us. You see it all over-- on TV, in magazines, newspapers, every where you look, they have an ad for their new product, trying to sell it to the consumer anyway that they can. It could very well be our down fall one day, who knows. The point is, Westerfeld wrote about this fairly well in So Yesterday, and I'll admit that before reading it, I never quite gave it that much thought, but that was just about the only thing that this book had going for it. The mystery element was only so-so, the suspense and action was barely there, and the 'romance' between Jen and Hunter sounded more like the usual 'crush' in most highschool students-- nothing extraordinary, nothing really touching or special, and it showed in the story.

Usually, I like reading Westerfeld's work-- he's writing is always different from most of the other books out there at the time, and he knows how to keep the story at the perfect level -- not too heavy, but not too light either. This is probably why his books are popular among the teens he writes for: it's what they are looking for in a book. And in his other books, that's usually what I like about his books too, even though I am older. This one was different somehow-- more rambling and random, not very comical or intense. Don't get me wrong-- it had it's moments, but there were not enough of them to raise my over-all review of So Yesterday.

3/5 STARS! If you love his work, you might still want to give So Yesterday a try. But if you have never read his work before, or if you didn't enjoy them, then I probably wouldn't recommend this book to you-- at least, not as one of my top picks. It's not terrible, but it's not amazing like I was told by friends. It's at a happy medium between the two.


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