The Literature Hub
Reviewed by Ashleigh
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher & Pages: RazorBill (Penguin), 225 pages
Audience: Young Adult
Blurb: 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 at the peak of the cool pyramid.
Seventeen-year-old Hunter Braque is a Trendsetter, on the second level of the pyramid. His job: find the newest, coolest thing for the retail market. His MO: observe, don’t get involved.
But he has to get involved when he and his crush, Jen, discover his boss’s cell phone in an abandoned building – and his boss missing. Hunter and Jen are soon snared in a web of brand-name intrigue: a missing cargo of the coolest shoes they’ve ever seen, ads for products that don’t exist, and a shadowy group dedicated to the downfall of consumerism as we know it.
Highlight: A creative explanation as to why things become ‘cool’.
Caution: Hunter lacks passion, which comes across in his voice.
Highlight: Full of useless but interesting information.
Caution: The story felt a bit flat.
Review: If ever a story had great potential, it would be this one. How do things become cool? Why does it work that way? Who was the Innovator that named or created the pyramid? Unfortunately, this story is not like that at all.
Hunter, a Cool Hunter, and Jen James, a daredevil Innovator, are on a mission to find out how and why Hunter’s boss, Mandy, was kidnapped. Cool. They head to the police, but getting no help there, they decide to turn investigators themselves. It could be a great story, but Hunter seems to lack personality. There is a brief explanation as to why this is, such as his horrible move to New York from a place where he was known and liked. Or it could be because as a Cool Hunter, he has to blend in and not get noticed. Unfortunately, this makes him a very dull character, and not even the useless but interesting information is enough to save him. He’s just there, like a narrator, not actually doing anything for the story.
Jen James on the other hand, is a crazy, daredevil Innovator who willingly risks having a seizure while watching a Paka-Paka sequence (red and blue flashing lights in just the right pattern and speed), and likes to climb out of windows on a very high floor of a very high building. She’s crazy and unique, but sometimes I felt like I was reading about a spoiled brat.
The minor characters in the book had more of a voice, more of a unique character, than the two main characters. It’s a shame the book wasn’t about one of the minor characters instead. Then it might have been more interesting.
Overall, this book left me feeling very disappointed. While reading it I often got distracted and found it hard to immerse myself in the story.
Star Rating: 2 Stars
Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD