Teen Book Review: "So Yesterday"
How many times have you been entranced by advertisements and couldn’t rest until you got the latest and greatest new thing? It doesn’t matter if it’s a new phone, the coolest clothes or the latest paranormal romance title, we’ve all fallen under the spell at one time or another. But as Scott Westerfeld shows in this satiric mystery, So Yesterday, there can sometimes be real-life trouble when you try to be “dangerously hip.”
Hunter Braque works as a Cool Hunter. He is paid to find out what other people are making cool and sell it to corporations. However, he ends up in over his head when his boss mysteriously disappears after telling him to come to a secret meeting. All he finds there are some drop-dead great shoes… and a bald thug who wants to make sure he never sees the light of day again. Fearing his boss has been kidnapped, he teams up with an Innovator (someone who starts cool trends) named Jen to try and save her. But he and Jen must tread carefully, for they will uncover a conspiracy far deeper than they thought, including purple shampoo, women commuting on rollerblades and a far-out tuxedo.
This book is an interesting mystery; what it lacks in suspense it more than makes up for in humor. Hardcore mystery fans will enjoy watching how Hunter and Jen follow the clues and uncover the conspiracy of the Jammers. Quiet Hunter and outgoing Jen are excellent protagonists who play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses to create an engaging narrative; readers will be hard-pressed not to see themselves in these characters.
There are references to many pop culture icons in this satire, but since Hunter refuses to mention brand names throughout the book, it becomes a fun guessing game trying to decode what he is talking about. Although it is by this point a bit dated, this story is filled with cool gadgets that help it move along. The world of trendy Manhattan is filled with rich details that help readers escape to this other world.
If you’re looking for a mystery with a unique premise, So Yesterday is an excellent choice, especially for teen readers of all ages. Pick it up at your local DC Public Library today.
-by Brandon Digwood