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*****= An all-time favorite
by Scott Westerfeld
Reviewed April 24, 2006.
Available at Sembach Library (J MCN F WES).
This is something of a concept novel—about the concept of cool. However, it’s also got a splash of romance, a big helping of suspense, and an underlying mystery to solve.
Hunter watches cool. He is a Trendsetter. “The Trendsetter’s goal is to be the second person in the world to catch the latest disease. They watch carefully for innovations, always ready to jump on board. But more importantly, other people watch them….When they pick up an innovation it becomes cool.”
“At the top of the pyramid there are the innovators.” These are the people who create something new, who do something the way it’s never been done before. “When you first meet them, most Innovators don’t look that cool, not in the sense of fashionable, anyway. There’s always something off about them. Like they’re uncomfortable with the world.”
“Except, like Jen’s laces, there’s always one thing that stands out on an Innovator. Something new.”
Hunter meets Jen because of her cool shoelaces. He sends a picture to Mandy, who hires him to be in focus groups for “the client,” “a certain athletic shoe company named after a certain Greek god.” (I love the way Hunter avoids product placement in his narration.)
Shortly after sending the picture, Mandy calls him to come to a panel checking the client’s latest ad. Jen comes along, and notices something no one else does, with the true spirit of an Innovator.
Soon after, Mandy asks to meet with the two of them at an abandoned building. When they arrive, they find Mandy’s phone, but no Mandy. Then they find a pair of the coolest shoes in the world—shoes that make you feel you can fly. They have the client’s logo on them—with a slash through it. When they spot the shoes, someone chases them out of the building.
In the chase, Hunter loses his own phone, and the sinister man who chased them learns his name and address from it. This begins an adventure as Hunter and Jen try to find Mandy and rescue her and find out what the anti-client is doing—while also being sought by the ones they are pursuing.
This book is
entertaining, poking fun at our consumer-oriented society, as well as
an exciting yarn. Hunter’s voice as
narrator is intelligent, insightful and ironic. Besides
telling a good story, it gets you thinking, as all
Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund. All