Monday, July 5, 2010

Best Friend Guest Review: So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

It is time for another edition of Best Friend Guest Review with my lovely best friend JTR! If you missed the earlier ones check them out here and as always leave her lots of love and encouragement so she comes back for more.

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

I was introduced to Scott Westerfeld with the Uglies series last year when Erika Lynn, the blogger extraordinaire of Kiss My Book insisted I would love it. She was of course right and I devoured the entire series even the bonus book Extras. I loved Westerfeld’s characters and his penchant for suspense and mystery in crafting his adventures. So I have been interested in reading more his books ever since. At B&N my decision came down to Peeps (his vampire novel) and So Yesterday (a book about trendsetters and consumerism). Now I have recently overdosed – in a good way – on vampires after reading Charlaine Harris’ entire Sookie Stackhouse series over the past month, so So Yesterday was the book for me.

So Yesterday is set in our world of focus groups and corporate advertising domination. It follows Hunter, a teenage trendsetter whose job is to observe and find the latest “it” thing. He reports what’s cool to “the client” – a mega corporation that shall remain nameless. Hunter’s life gets thrown for a loop when he meets Jen – an innovator or inventor of cool things. When Hunter’s boss gets kidnapped, he and Jen get caught up in a tangled web of mystery as they try to find her and in the process discover the anti-client – a group determined to undermine to consumerism obsessions of modern day society.

If it sounds a little convoluted that’s because it is. I have trouble relating to Hunter. His lack of drive makes him the ultimate follower, which is perfect for his trendsetting observation skills, but is frustrating as he seems to just bob around after Jen’s spontaneous decisions for most of the book. The best part of the book is Westerfeld’s wordplay – he never once says the name of a product but you know through his descriptions exactly what movie franchise or shoe brand he is referring to. It is a little unnerving how easy it is to understand his double speak and really show how programmed we all are into the consumerism that surrounds us. I also enjoyed Hunter’s tangents and explanations of the history of certain trends, like who were the first people to wear the color purple. I love books that leave me with lasting little nuggets of information. You never know when an occasion will call for these pieces of trivia.

Overall, the book was a disappointment mainly because of my high expectations after the Uglies series. It was still what I call a perfect subway read: a book I can enjoy for the 20 minutes I’m on the train going to and from work, but that I don’t enjoy so much that I feel compelled to read and walk as I go the rest of the way to the office. Trust me, as a new New York City gal the books that make me want to read and walk are very dangerous – those cabs don’t stop for anything!

Favorite quote from So Yesterday “Still, you can’t blame the client for following the first rule of consumerism. Never give us what we really want. Cut the dream into pieces and scatter them like ashes. Dole out the empty promises. Package our aspirations and sell them to us, cheaply made enough to fall apart.”

Kinda depressing isn’t it.

Thanks again for stopping by BFF! I miss you!

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