Synopses & Reviews
Ever wonder who was the first kid to keep a wallet on a big chunkychain, 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.
"Aptly-named Hunter spots street trends for 'a certain shoe company named after a certain Greek god.' When he meets Jen, he notices her unique shoelaces, and realizes she is an Innovator, a person who invents trends (he's a Trendsetter, someone who is 'cool, so when they pick up an innovation, it becomes cool'). Mandy, Hunter's boss, invites Hunter and Jen to do some 'original thinking,' but when the two arrive at the location, they find only her cell phone and 'the coolest shoes we'd ever seen.' The pair begins their search for Mandy and the people behind the shoes, before the 'bad guys' get Hunter. They depend on other cool hunters, from tech-savvy Lexa to high-society Hillary, to help decipher the clues, and they take risks themselves (going undercover to a posh party, breaking into buildings). There's fun to be had (at the party, rich guests get shampoo samples that turn out to be purple dye), and while readers may lose track of pieces of the plot (or not quite believe the roller skating leader of the underground), they will get swept up in the mystery. Hunter weaves in compelling stories, such as how purple became associated with royalty, and draws a parallel between the spreading of trends and a flu epidemic. (Though the hero refuses to name brands, readers will quickly figure out product names based on his clues.) Ultimately, Westerfeld's (Midnighters) entertaining adventure doubles as a smart critique on marketing and our consumer culture. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"I would recommend this book to any inquisitive soul who wants to know more about those people who are first to wear the five-inch platform shoes or have psychedelic hair....I would also recommend it to anyone who just wants a good story." VOYA
"Westerfeld has encapsulated today's cool in a fast-paced, fun novel that's not afraid to poke fun at our own consumerism while at the same time recognizing that cool rules." KLIATT
"While the plot occasionally requires a suspension of disbelief, the dialogue is snappy and Hunter, whose anxiety underlies his need to be cool, is a charming narrator with an original take on teen life." Kirkus Reviews
In this ultra-hip conspiracy thriller--a 2005 Book Sense Book of the Year nominee--a shadowy group dedicated to the downfall of consumerism draws a street savvy 17-year-old into its web of brand-name intrigue.
About the Author
Scott Westerfeld's previous novels have been named New York Times Notable Books of the Year, made the New York Times essential summer reading list, and been awarded the Philip K. Dick Special Citation.