Friday, March 20, 2009

So Yesterday, by Scott Westerfeld

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld is exactly what the title insists! This book is so yesterday.
My opinions of this book are slightly colored by his other series "Pretties". Honestly, the very first thing I noticed while reading this book was Scott likes to stay one on subject, and one subject only:

What is cool? What isn't?

That is the underlining theme in this whole story. The main character, Hunter, is a 'Cool-hunter'. What he does for a living at 17 years old is looks for 'Innovators', or the people that first make up cool trends. He then tells them to his boss, who will then get it out on the market. in theory, he makes money off of 'cool'.

The actual storyline of this book was more than a little flat, with not much characterization and an extremely short time-line. Hunter meets this girl, Jen, who has totally 'cool' shoelaces. From this meeting, the whole rest of the book takes place till about 2 days after that. In that 2 days, him and her fall in love, blah blah blah. It was really not that interesting to me.

But there were good parts about this book! I liked the 'cool pyramid' idea. At the top of the pyramid are the
-Innovators, the people that make up their own trends. They are usually thought of as weird because the way the dress usually is, well, weird. but then the trend catches on and they are already setting newer trends.
-'Trend-Setters' these are the people that wear the trend at the peak of its coolness, like hunter, so other people go 'wow! that is so cool! I should get it too!'.
-'Early-Adaptors' - the people rich enough to buy it while its still rare
-'Consumers' - all of us that don't have a million dollars that follow the trend when it is really trendy.
-'Laggards' - the people that still wear "tucked-in Kiss t-shirts". the people that still think that kind of thing is still in.

There was also a humerus couple of chapters in the book where they talk about episode 38 of Pokemon. Episode 38 put hundreds of children into the hospital for epilepsy. The episode in question had just the right sequence of flashing blue and red lights that children around the ages of 10 were instantly put into seizures. While the real event in real life was NOT funny, the fact that they took that one episode so seriously in the book was laughable. Their idea of 'a red/blue flashing camera will make you crazy' will never happen. you have to have a still developing mind or brain issues to even be affected by epilepsy! oh, and for the record, I saw episode 38. nothing happened

But in all there was one real problem I had with the book - the original-turned-unoriginal idea. For anyone that has read Pretties, you know that that book also had the major undertone of 'What is cool'. Is being pretty cool? or uncool? is being 'bubbly' cool? is wearing this cool or uncool? what is cool?

I think scott tries to mystify people by making his characters too cool. Its the truth, his characters are always on the cutting-edge of coolness! The never wear the wrong thing, and people always follow their trends. "It's my job to spot where cool comes from, Jen. I can see who's leading and who's following, where the trend starts and how it spreads"

Where is the cut off point? I think he is trying to lift himself up into our own cool pyramid by making his characters totally trendy. But in all honesty, it just made me wonder 'am I cool? can I even be like these people?'

I would give this book a 2.5 out of 5 only because he really tried hard to make up a world where everything cool is questioned. but if you want to read the same idea with better characterization, just go and pick up Pretties from your local library.
"Never give us what we really want. Cut the dream into pieces and scatter them like ashes. Dole out the empty promises. Package out aspirations and sell them to us, cheaply made enough to fall apart."

1 comment:

Magenta said...

This truly is a historic day, isn't it? First you send me the first chapter of Dialunra, then you write your first book review in my club! Too cool!

Interesting book you read. All I have to say is that I wish you'd put in certain important pieces of information, such as the published date, how long the book took you to read, how many pages it has in it. You know, the kind of stuff I do. It would be helpful for the labels.

But it's wonderful that you actually went and wrote a book review. I'm just going to think about that. ^,^ I'm feeling really happy tonight.