Goodreads: So Yesterday
Official Summary: 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 on the very cusp of cool. Seventeen-year-old Hunter Braque’s job is finding them for the retail market.
But when a big-money client disappears, Hunter must use all his cool-hunting talents to find her. Along the way he’s drawn into a web of brand-name intrigue-a missing cargo of the coolest shoes he’s ever seen, ads for products that don’t exist, and a shadowy group dedicated to the downfall of consumerism as we know it.
Review: Hunter will draw in readers from the opening pages with his quirky narration and down-to-earth personality. He may be a “cool hunter,” absurdly talented at finding awesome fashion details that will be the country’s next biggest trend, but he is also a teenage boy who finds it awkward relating to his parents or interacting with girls. He is cool, but he is also approachable, and he will charm readers.
The setting of the book is equally alluring, and appropriately New York City. Hunter helpfully describes each neighborhood of the city he enters, painting a vibrant picture for readers who might never have visited. The descriptions are clever and apt enough, however, that even New York residents will not find them boring.
Hunter, and his new friend Jen, lead readers on a wild chase throughout the various districts of New York, introducing them to cramped apartments and luxurious celebrity parties in turn. The pace is fast, as Hunter and Jen have a limited time to test their amateur detective skills and discover who kidnapped Hunter’s boss and why. Readers will keep turning pages.
The book’s only potential flaw? Its premise. So Yesterday is about what makes something cool. The book’s heroes are seeking a way to make coolness more organic, something that arises naturally when people see things they like, instead of something so heavily defined by companies and advertisements.
This is interesting food for thought, and readers will have a lot to consider. Why do they think things are cool? Because they like it or because they see it everywhere? Do they fall for ads and fads? Who does get to decide what’s cool? Ultimately, however, the book’s cause falls a little flat. Changing the definition of cool is unlikely to be a priority for many readers when there are arguably more important problems in the world. So Yesterday is fleetingly captivating, but its message is not urgent.
So Yesterday is both entertaining and very real. The protagonists are charmingly unique, intelligent, and flawed. Their struggles will help readers think about how they define who they are, as they follow Hunter’s and Jen’s journey through the exciting world of fashion.
Published: 2004 (Razorbill)