Saturday, January 15, 2011

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld


The guy riding the truck's elevator was muscular and lean, very dark. He was wearing a trucker cap and cowboy boots, jeans and a mesh shirt that showed off his muscles. In a friendlier context I would have pegged him as a gay bodybuilder doing an ironic take on NASCAR fandom. But alongside the two, he looked more like one of many hopefuls sent down by central casting to try out for the part of Thug #3 in a hip new thriller. Of which we were the unlikely heroes, I reminded myself.

You know how things are So Cool, then all of a sudden they're So Yesterday? Yeah. Do you really think that happens all by itself? That cool is a natural thing? Well, yes, it's natural. But it has some... help. From people.
The people in the cool pyramid.
Not everyone is aware of their part, but some have noticed it. Broken down, here are the levels.
1. Innovator- these are the people who create the trends. The ones who come up with rad new ideas. The first kid to keep her wallet on a big chunky chain. The first to wear way-too-big pants on purpose. To wash jeans in acid, stick a safety pin in something, or wear a hooded sweatshirt inside a leather jacket. The mythical first guy who wore his baseball cap backward.
2. Trendsetters. These are the ones who go out in the streets, and pick up what the new trend is. Basically, they follow the innovator. However, they don't get their information from magazines. A trendsetter's most important job is gatekeeper, the filter that separates out real Innovators from those crazy people wearing garbage bags. (Although I've heard that in the 1980's, there were some Trendsetters who actually started wearing garbage bags. No comment.)
3. Early Adopters. They're the ones that always seem to have THE COOLEST things out there. They mostly get their stuff from magazines and so forth, but are quick enough to adopt them that they're still mostly cool.
4. Consumers. These are the people who have to see the advertisements several hundred times before they actually go a buy something, that they think is cool. And, to quote the book, At which point it's not.
5. The laggards. These are the people who are still wearing mullets and all that.

Hunter is a Trendsetter. one who knows about the pyramid. In fact, he works for Mandy, who works for "The Client" (another name for that famous shoe factory named after a mythical person whose name consists of four letters). He screens advertisements, tests new electronics, shoes... mostly the shoes.
Jen is an Innovator- one of those lucky (sarcasm!) weird ones who always have to feel left out because they happen to be incredibly original.
When Hunter and Jen meet, it's like Hunter's world flips around 180 degrees and takes off running.
When Jen goes with Hunter to meet up with Mandy, they find her phone in the middle of an abandoned building (guess who's idea it was to go in there? Hint: it wasn't Hunter.), with no Mandy.
Their search for Mandy soon takes unexpected turns, as they get involved with missing shoes, The Client, "Jammers" (are they real? Discuss.), purple dye, and romance.

I thought about all those movies where the doubtful guy says, "But we'll be walking straight into a trap!" And the brave guy says, "But that's why they won't be expecting us." Which is, of course, complete crap. The whole point of setting a trap is that you expect someone to walk into it, right?
But they were expecting dark-haired Hunter of Skater Shorts, not blond non-Hunter the Mighty Penguin.
I took a deep breath. I really needed some food.

Scott Westerfeld is awesome. I mean it. His writing is excellent, and his characters are believable.
This is not an exception.
The premise idea for "So Yesterday" is awesome, and the characters are well balanced. There's the somewhat cautious Trendsetter, Hunter, who prefers to stand back and watch people, rather than getting involved himself, and then there's Jen, the rash "compass towards trouble" as Hunter describes her. They balance each other's personalities perfectly (in my opinion), which means that I'm not irritated at the main characters constantly, like I have with other books.
Also, there's just the whole idea of a cool pyramid is, in my opinion, pretty original. (Even if I must admit that I'm a "Consumer", lol.) The plot was interesting, and there was a HUGE plot twist right at the end. (Which I totally didn't see coming. At all. :) )
So, over all, I'd give this book 5 stars. Oh, and one more thing... this book is packed with good quotes. Packed, I say! packed!

Eating breakfast with the parents is always calming: they follow immutable patterns in that married-couple way, as if things have always been and will always be the same. They aren't Innovators. Not at the breakfast table. for one hour every morning they are Classicists of the best kind, my own Rock Steady Crew.

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