Scott Westerfeld, of The Uglies series fame, has written a TON of books. Shamefully, I had no idea. I wasn’t looking for this book either; I stumbled on it at the library while I was browsing the young adult section for a book that was recommended to me by a colleague. I couldn’t remember the name of the book or the author however, so things weren’t looking all that great for my search prospects.
I got to the end of the shelf and saw nearly an entire row FULL of Westerfeld novels! You may remember that I loved The Uglies books so I quickly picked one out that looked good and cracked into it immediately when I got home.
There exists a hierarchy of cool. At the top, the Innovators, who are innately cool and do cool things without trying. Then there are the Trend-Setters; the ones who cool-hunt the trends ‘set’ by the Innovators, and are ultimately responsible for the trend getting to the masses. Then there are the Consumers; the people who eat up whatever rend is spoonfed to them via marketers, stores. Hunter is a Trend-Setter who meets Jen, an Innovator, and together they discover…something. They aren’t really sure what “it” is, but they know it is BIG. Or that it could be big, HUGE even, but suddenly Hunter’s boss is missing, his hands are purple, the party that they were invited to turns out to be a scam to entice rich people to get drunk and take compromising pictures of themselves. Pictures taken with free cameras with built-in WiFi.
Confused? Yes, so was I. For about 220 pages. The book is 224 pages long. The only four pages that weren’t confusing were the first 4. Maybe I’m too far removed from the “hip” culture? (I think the fact that I put the word hip in quotations speaks to that fact.) I think the book was a commentary on how consumers are hoodwinked (ooh, yep – I’m not hip) by manufacturers and how easily manipulated we are.
Again maybe it is because I am old, unhip, and a bit jaded, but this wasn’t a revelation for me. But the 16-year-old skater chick that still lives in the depths of my soul is screaming out in rage right now.