So Yesterday

So Yesterday

by Scott Westerfeld

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595140326
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 09/08/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 503,436
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Scott Westerfeld lives in New York, New York and Sydney, Australia.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Zero We are all around you.

You don't think about us much because we are invisible. Well, not exactly invisible. A lot of us have hair dyed in four colors, or wear five-inch platform sneakers, or carry enough metal in our skin that it's a hassle getting on an airplane. Quite visible, actually, come to think of it.

But we don't wear signs saying what we are. After all, if you knew what we were up to, we couldn't work our magic. We have to observe carefully and push and prompt you in ways you don't notice. Like good teachers, we let you think you've discovered the truth on your own.

And you need us. Someone has to guide you, to mold you, to make sure that today turns into yesterday on schedule. Because frankly, without us to monitor the situation, who knows what would get crammed down your throats?

It's not like you can just start making your own decisions, after all.

So, if we're supposed to be secret, why am I writing this?

Well, that's a long story. That's this story, the one you're holding in your hands. It's about how I met Jen. She isn't one of us or one of you, either. She's on top of the whole pyramid, quietly making her contribution. Trust me, you need her. We all do.

It's also about the Jammers, who I'm pretty sure really do exist. Probably. If they're real, then they're crazy smart, and they've got big plans. They're the bad guys, the ones trying to bring the system down. They want to make people like me redundant, unnecessary, ridiculous.

They want to set you free.

And the funny thing is, I think I'm on their side.

Okay. Is that enough previews for you? Can you pay attention long enough for me to do this in order? Is it time for the feature presentation?

Let's get started, then.

Chapter One "Can I take a picture of your shoe?"

"Huh?"

"Shoelaces, actually. The way you tied them."

"Oh. Yeah, sure, I guess. Pretty skate, huh?"

I nodded. That week skate meant "cool," like dope or rad once did. And this girl's laces were cool. Fuzzy and red, they looped through the middle eyelet repeatedly on one side, spreading out in a fan on the other. Kind of like the old rising-sun Japanese flag, but sideways.

She was about seventeen, the same as me. Gray sweatshirt over camo pants, hair dyed so black that it turned blue when the sun hit it through the trees. The shoes were off-brand black runners, the logo markings erased with a black laundry pen. Definitely an Innovator, I thought. They tend to specialize, looking like Logo Exiles until you get close, until you see that one flourish. All their energies focused on a single element.

Like shoelaces.

I pulled out my phone and pointed it at her foot.

Her eyes widened and she gave the Nod. My phone for that month, made by a certain company in Finland, was getting a lot of the Nod, the slight incline of the head that means, I saw that in a magazine and I already want it. Of course, at another level the Nod also means, Now that I've seen an actual person with that phone, I really, really have to get one.

At least, that's what the certain Finnish company was hoping when they mailed it to me. So there I was, doing two jobs at once.

The phone took its picture, signaling success by playing a sample of a certain dysfunctional father saying, "Sweet, sweet chocolate." The sample did not get the Nod, and I made a mental note to change it. Homer was out; Lisa was in.

I looked at the image on the phone's little screen, which looked clear enough to copy the lacework back at home.

"Thanks."

"No problem." An edge of suspicion in her voice now. Exactly why was I taking a picture of her laces?

There was a moment of awkward silence, the kind that sometimes follows after taking a picture of a stranger's shoe. You think by now I'd be used to it.

I turned away to look at the river. I'd run into my shoelace Innovator in the East River Park, a strip of grass and promenade between the FDR Drive and the water. It's one of the few places where you can tell that Manhattan is an island.

She was carrying a basketball, probably had been shooting hoops on the weedy courts under Manhattan Bridge.

I was here working, like I said.

A big container ship eased by on the water, as slow as a minute hand. Across the river was Brooklyn, looking industrial, the Domino Sugar factory waiting patiently to be turned into an art gallery or housing for millionaires.

I was about to smile once more and keep on walking, but she spoke up.

"What else does it do?"

"My phone?" The list of features was on my tongue, but this was the part of the job I didn't like (which is why you will read no product placement in these pages, if I can possibly help it). I shrugged, trying not to sound like a salesman. "MP3 player, date book, texting. And the camera can shoot like ten seconds of video."

She bit her lip, gave another Nod.

"Very crappy video," I admitted. It was not my job to lie.

"Can you call people on it?"

"Sure, it--" Then I realized she had to be kidding. "Yes, you can actually call people on it."

Her smile was even better than her shoelaces.

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, he imagined everybody in the country having one big party line. We'd all listen to concerts on the phone, or maybe everyone would pick up and sing the national anthem together. Of course, a somewhat more popular use of the telephone turned out to be one person talking to one other person.

The first computers were designed for naval gunnery and code breaking. And when the Internet was created, it was supposed to be for controlling the country after a nuclear war. But guess what? Most people use them for e-mailing and IM-ing. One person communicating with one other person.

See the pattern?

"My name's Hunter," I said, returning her smile.

"Jen."

I nodded. "Jennifer was the most popular girl's name in the 1970s and number two in the 1980s."

"Huh?"

"Oh, sorry." Sometimes the facts in my head get bored and decide to take a walk in my mouth. Frequently this is a bad thing.

She shook her head. "No, I know what you mean. There's Jens all over the place these days. I was thinking of changing it."

"Jennifer did drop to fourteenth place in the 1990s. Possibly from overexposure." I winced when I realized I'd said this out loud. "But I think it's a nice name."

Great save, huh?

"Me too, but I get bored, you know? Same name all the time."

"Rebranding," I said, nodding. "Everyone's doing it."

She laughed, and I found that we'd started walking together. On a Thursday the park was pretty empty, mostly joggers, dog walkers, and a couple of old guys trying to catch something in the river. We ducked under their fishing lines, which flickered from invisible to brilliant in the summer sun. Behind the metal guardrail the river sloshed against concrete, agitated by a small boat motoring past.

"So, how's Hunter doing?" she asked. "The name, I mean."

"You really want to know?" I checked her smile for signs of derision. Not everyone appreciates the pleasures of socialsecurity.gov's name-ranking database.

"Absolutely."

"Well, it's no Jennifer, but it's moving up. Hunter was barely in the top four hundred when I was born, but it's a solid number thirty-two these days."

"Wow. So you were way ahead of the crowd."

"Yeah, I guess." I took a sidelong glance at her, wondering if she'd figured me out already.

Jen bounced the basketball once and let it rise into the air in front of her, ringing like a bell, before catching it with long fingers. She studied its longitude lines for a moment, spinning it before her green eyes like a globe.

"Of course, you wouldn't want your name to get too popular, would you?"

"That would suck," I agreed. "Witness the Britney epidemic of the mid-1990s."

She shuddered, and my phone rang. The theme from The Twilight Zone, right on cue.

"See?" I said, holding it up for Jen. "It's doing its phone thing."

"Impressive."

The display read shugrrl, which meant work.

"Hi, Mandy."

"Hunter? Are you doing anything?"

"Uh, not really."

"Can you do a tasting? It's kind of an emergency."

"Right now?"

"Yes. The client wants to put an advertisement on the air over the weekend, but they're not sure about it."

Mandy Wilkins always called her employers "the client," even though she'd worked for them for two years. They were a certain athletic shoe company named after a certain Greek god. Maybe she didn't like using four-letter words.

"I'm trying to get together whoever I can," Mandy said. "The client needs to make a decision in a couple of hours."

"How much does it pay?"

"Officially, just a pair."

"I've got way too many pairs," I said. A trunk full of shoes, not counting the ones I'd given away.

"How about fifty bucks? Out of my own pocket. I need you, Hunter."

"Okay, Mandy, whatever." I looked at Jen, who was scrolling absently through numbers, politely not listening, maybe a little saddened by how old and decrepit her own phone was (at least six months). I made a decision.

"Can I bring someone?"

"Uh, sure. We need more bodies. But are they . . . you know?"

Jen glanced at me, her eyes narrowing, beginning to realize that I was talking about her. The sun was catching more blue in her hair. I could see that she'd dyed a few slender strands bright purple, hidden underneath the black outer layers, letting glimpses of color through when the wind stirred her hair.

"Yeah. Definitely."

"A what tasting?"

"A cool tasting," I repeated. "But that's just what Mandy and I call them. Officially it's a 'focus group.'"

"Focusing on what?"

I told her the name of the client, which did not get the Nod.

"I know," I said. "But you get a free pair and fifty bucks." Once the words had left my mouth, I wondered if Mandy would cough up money for Jen as well as me. Well, if she didn't, Jen could always have my fifty. It was random money anyway.

But I wondered why I had invited her. Usually people in my profession don't like competition. It's one of those jobs, like politician, where there's already too many and everyone who's never tried it thinks they could do it better.

"Sounds kind of weird," Jen said.

I shrugged. "It's just a job. You get paid for your opinion."

"We look at shoes?"

"We watch an ad. Thirty seconds of TV, fifty bucks."

She looked into the currents of the river, having a two-second debate inside her head. I knew what she was thinking. Am I being exploited? Am I selling out? Am I pulling a scam? Is this a trick? Who do I think I'm fooling? Who cares what I think, anyway?

I've thought all those things myself.

She shrugged. "Hey. Fifty bucks."

I let my breath out, just then realizing I'd been holding it. "My thoughts exactly."

Customer Reviews

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So Yesterday 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 113 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book allows readers to fall into the world of consumerism and the materialistic tendencies of American Teens, alongside telling a delightful tale typical to said teens. Westerfeld is able to connect with the reader on a variety of levels through this book, and the plot remains interesting, despite what appears to be a shallow subject on the surface.
Madeline Aulds More than 1 year ago
This book was great and it was suprisingly original. I read a bunch of teen fiction and it all becomes the same but this was a nice change!
Tess22 More than 1 year ago
My favorite Scott Westerfeld book! So Yesterday is witty, hilarious, and generally fantastic. It will make you think about society, consumerism, and advertising. Also, shoes. A fun read that somehow gets across much more than what the story is on the surface. The protagonist, Hunter (one of my favorite characters in a book, ever), narrates the story, and random bits of knowledge, urban myths, etc. are interspersed with the current happenings of the story. So Yesterday is lively and entertaining, and well worth the few hours it takes to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been wanting to read this book for a long time. Because knowing Scott Westerfeld, it had to be good. I've read all the Uglies books, the Midnighters books, and the Peeps books, and fell in love with them, and thankfully that didn't change for So Yesterday. The one thing that cracked me up about this book was how Hunter kept talking about how he came to New York from Minnesota and how he had to change all his Minnesotan ways to actually become cool. Ah, boy. Do us northerners really have such a bad reputation as being hicks? Sure, Target is our favorite store, we bundle up in hideous parkas to brave the frozen winters, and use the term Uff Da on a daily basis, but I didn't think we were so uncool as to be referenced in a book all about coolness. I think that's really funny! And a book that makes me laugh is a good one for sure. I loved, loved, loved So Yesterday because of its whole vibe. It subtly draws you in and uses a bunch of radical ideas to keep your attention. I enjoyed thinking about the innovators, the jammers, the Hoi Aristoi. If that stuff was actually real, would I even know it? It was neat to get a peek of what could possibly happen behind the scenes of pop culture as we know it. The writing was smooth, the characters were created with detail, and the ending was great possibly left open for a sequel? I hope... I highly recommend So Yesterday. It will captivate you, spark your interest, and make you think about things you never thought you'd have to think about. :P
Perry-the-Ducktipus More than 1 year ago
I grabbed this book after I read Pretties by the same author....the book it just kind of confused me...I never really got the point of the book, it was well written and interesting, but why....I just don't get the crux of the story to be completely honest. It is possible I missed it (which is probably the case) but nevertheless it was nothing in comparison to Pretties.
ashleyy More than 1 year ago
Hunter is a 'Trendsetter', someone who finds the newest coolest thing and then makes it widely popular. When Hunter's boss, Mandy, goes missing, it's up to him and Jen, an innovative and bold girl he met in a park, to find out where she went. They soon find themselves in a web of connected but seemingly unassociated things, like a building of the coolest shoes anyone has ever seen, a product called Poo-Sham that turns people's hair purple and doesn't exist, a magazine called Hoi Aristoi, a woman on roller skates, and a group that calls themselves the Jammers who have apparently dedicated to ungluing the world of cool as Hunter knows it. Overall, it was an okay book. It's not one of my favorites, but I did like the way the character's thoughts and insights were described. It left too many loose ends, and it's very difficult to understand how everything is connected. I was expecting a lot more because the plot was coming from so many different places, building and adding up to this big reveal that just kind of flopped. I didn't like the ending that much, bu it was a general, all-over okay-in-a-good-way book.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
One of the first books I read by this author. The other cover was really good and as you read you notice the objects that were mentioned are also on the cover. Anyway, this was a good at times, weird, but interesting none the less. the other series I read by him was the peeps series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Scott Westerfeld’s book, So Yesterday, is a fast-paced book with various cliff-hangers.  The book is mainly about a 17 year old boy, Hunter, who is a cool-hunter. A cool hunter is a person who is payed to find what is cool and what is not.  One day he meets a risk taking innovator who will change his world. She changes how he sees and contributes to the world’s fashion sense.   He is soon sent to a mission to find his boss with the help of his new friend. He finds some clues to where his boss might be. He is taken into a race to truth.  Hunter might actually see that he has believed in the wrong things.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!I loved it from the start!I reccomend this highly!
Haylie16 More than 1 year ago
I have read scott westerfeld's other books and i found this book really good. it sort of confused me a bit, but i liked how he brought up interesting facts and stories. really makes you think
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
um ok so i have love love loved all the other books by scott westerfled i have read, pretties, peeps, and midnighters, so when i picked this book from the library i was really happy to read another good book. too bad it wasnt, i couldnt even read past page 60.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't think that this book was up to Scott Westerfeld's usual standards. I have read some of his other books, and so far, the majority of them have been really good. However, this book lacked some of the intrigue I got from the others. It had a different quality that I, personally, didn't care for.
samantha.nop on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a boy named Hunter. Hunter is a person who watches for trends and makes them famous. Hunter meets a girl named Jen who makes trends. But soon after he meets Jen, his boss suddenly disappears. On the search for Hunter's boss, they stumble across this party where Hunter finds out people are set out to kill him. Jen finds out where Hunter's boss is hidden and all the secret shoes that have been banned and Hunter's company has been trying to find. When Jen and Hunter rescue Hunter's boss, the shoes have been burned and Hunter knows there's nothing he could do. Hunter turns out to be fired and has no where to go.This book was pretty good. Although I wonder why Scott Westerfield decided to base the book around shoes. Scott Westerfield is an amazing author though and I like how is books are about something most people wouldn't think about. I like how he put Jen as the person who doesn't care about what people think and Hunter is the timid, shy person. This book is amazing and I wish more books could be writting like this.
BrynDahlquis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really good until the ending, but an unsatisfactory ending makes the whole book seem worse. Jen was pretty cool until the ending, and I really liked Hunter until the ending too, but he lost some of my respect.Good read, but the ending could definitely be better.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What is cool? According to Hunter Braque, most people need to be told the answer to this question, and he's one of those who know: he's a 'cool hunter,' meaning he gets paid to inform his boss of the cool things he sees on the streets. When his boss goes missing, however, he must team up with an Innovator (one of those people who effortlessly is cool) to find her.This was pretty awesome - Hunter is an appealing character, up-front, easy-going and pretty knowledgeable about 'cool,' how 'cool' happens, and how 'cool' spreads. He's also very funny, and his observations (he's a paid observer, and it's what he does best) are pretty often spot-on. As his boss works for 'the client' (a shoe company that's VERY well known) and Hunter's shy of endorsements, he almost never names brands, instead talking around them, and it's a lot of fun to try and identify those brands.Hunter spends a lot of time talking about trends and trendsetters, and how companies have taken a major interest in trendsetters, in the hopes of starting and profiting off of trends themselves, and so the reader gets a lot of mini, yet completely fascinating history lessons on how things - fashion, trends, even viruses - spread. A lot of this book reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, and I'm now rereading the Tipping Point so I can talk to my book group about it as well as this one. Again, Westerfeld writes a clever, fast-paced, fully fascinating book (I'm remembering his fully awesome Peeps as I write this).Highly recommended.
redfrn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had a difficult time getting into this book. It was a bit slow in the beginning, and I would have liked more mystery and less critical commentary on consumerism.
waxlight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A YA version/ripoff of Connie Willis' 'Bellwether' or William Gibson's 'Pattern Recognition'.
flemmily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a quick read. I enjoyed it because it was a non science fiction book written in a science fiction style. This is one of the things I enjoy about Westerfeld, he takes interesting pop-science style info and makes a great story.
andreablythe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hunter is a cool hunter, someone who goes out into the world tracking and cataloging cool in all its forms and passing the world along to corporations and advertising agencies. When he meets a Jen, an Innovator (someone who invents the new coolest thing instead of following it as Trendsetters do), his well ordered life (in reality and idea) begins to get complicated. When a marketing manager from a big name client goes missing, Hunter and Jen discover the coolest shoes they've ever seen, an ad campaign for a company that may or may not exist, and a conspiracy that could mean the end of the cult of cool. While many of the characters can seem somewhat one note, Hunter and Jen are well realized. I understood their passion for cool, and their desire not just to solve the mystery of the missing marketing manager, but to find the cool and to hold on to it for all its worth. This was a fun, fun read, laced with pop culture references, filled with adventure and tons of humor.
AnnieHidalgo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't like this one as much as I would like. It just made me want to go and read M.T. Anderson's Feed again (which in my opinion can't be matched for a view of the greedy, corporate future). Not bad, but slight in comparison to other futuristic dystopias. I'd like to read the Uglies trilogy someday, since that's really what Westerfeld is known for.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read a LONG time ago, but just adding it now.
Manderiffic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, I was excited to read something else he'd written. So Yesterday is about a Trendsetter named Hunter Braque. He lives his life finding the next big thing, the next thing that will make him "cool". He becomes friends with a Innovator named Jen and from then on they go on this wild ride to find Hunter's boss, whose gone missing and not get caught by the Anti-Client. All in all this was a thrill ride of a story. Like the Uglies series, So Yesterday was another fictional look into consumerism and trends. I love that Westerfeld's writing is geared towards someone with a mind and isn't just some brainless garbage. While being a great story, this book really makes you think about why you wear what you wear and why fashion is the way that it is. I definitely recommend this book to current fans of Scott Westerfeld and those reading his works for the first time who like to look outside the box.Originally Posted on YABooksCentral.com
The_Book_Queen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Scott Westerfeld's other teen fiction books, and I enjoyed them a lot-- especially his Ugly series and Peeps (which was kind of a vampire book). So when I finally found this one at the library, after being told that I just HAD to read it because it was the best book he's ever wrote, I was expecting something major, something powerful, a story that would reach right out and not just grab me but hit me--hard. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed in the end.The story is very different, and it does cover both mystery, a bit of teenage romance, and proves a point, but other than that, I felt that the over all book was only so-so. The characters were kind of flat, and even though the story was told in first person, from Hunter's point of view, it wasn't very captivating, like a good 1st POV should be. Then again, my dislike of it could have also been because it was a guy that was the main character, a guy that did all the talking, and in the books that I read, I'm use to it being a girl. Maybe if we could have heard more about Hunter instead of listening to him go on and on about his job and figuring out the 'great mystery', I would have enjoyed it more. Hunter's world isn't really that different from our world today-- they may use different words, etc, then us *Trendsetter, Lagger to name a few*, but that's about it. We've become a society that relies on technology and new products-- we always want the newest, the coolest, the best item on the market. Some of us more than others, true, but as a whole, that's usually how it works. The companies know this, and they use it to get more money out of us. You see it all over-- on TV, in magazines, newspapers, every where you look, they have an ad for their new product, trying to sell it to the consumer anyway that they can. It could very well be our down fall one day, who knows. The point is, Westerfeld wrote about this fairly well in So Yesterday, and I'll admit that before reading it, I never quite gave it that much thought, but that was just about the only thing that this book had going for it. The mystery element was only so-so, the suspense and action was barely there, and the 'romance' between Jen and Hunter sounded more like the usual 'crush' in most highschool students-- nothing extraordinary, nothing really touching or special, and it showed in the story. Usually, I like reading Westerfeld's work-- he's writing is always different from most of the other books out there at the time, and he knows how to keep the story at the perfect level -- not too heavy, but not too light either. This is probably why his books are popular among the teens he writes for: it's what they are looking for in a book. And in his other books, that's usually what I like about his books too, even though I am older. This one was different somehow-- more rambling and random, not very comical or intense. Don't get me wrong-- it had it's moments, but there were not enough of them to raise my over-all review of So Yesterday. 3/5 STARS! If you love his work, you might still want to give So Yesterday a try. But if you have never read his work before, or if you didn't enjoy them, then I probably wouldn't recommend this book to you-- at least, not as one of my top picks. It's not terrible, but it's not amazing like I was told by friends. It's at a happy medium between the two.
GaylDasherSmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
will resonate with those who think of themselves or wish they were innovators in culture and fashion. Westerfeld knows his audience and writes to it masterfully. Decent mystery as well.
Beatles101 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was only okay - something you wouldn't expect from Westerfeld. I wouldn't recommend it.