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*****= An all-time favorite
by Scott Westerfeld
Reviewed April 24, 2006.
Available at Sembach Library (J MCN F WES).
something of a concept
novel—about the concept of cool. However,
it’s also got a splash of romance, a big helping
and an underlying mystery to solve.
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
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
there’s always one thing that stands out on an Innovator.
Jen because of
her cool shoelaces. He sends a picture
to Mandy, who hires him to be in focus groups for “the client,” “a
athletic shoe company named after a certain Greek god.”
(I love the way Hunter avoids product
placement in his narration.)
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.
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,
his own phone, and the sinister man who chased them learns his name and
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
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