Gr. 7-12. Like M. T. Anderson's Feed
(2002), this hip, fascinating thriller aggressively questions consumer culture. Seventeen-year-old Hunter lives up to his name. A "cool hunter," he's paid by corporations to comb his native Manhattan in search of street style that could become the next new trend. Hunter meets and falls for fellow teen culture-watcher Jen, just before Hunter's boss mysteriously disappears. Jen and Hunter hold the most clues, and their wild, increasingly dangerous search uncovers a plot to subvert a consumer system that dictates what is cool. Readers may have trouble sorting through some of the plot's connections and anticonsumerist messages. But Hunter tells a captivating, suspenseful story about how product desire is created, using a first-person voice that is cynical ("magazines are just wrapping for ads") and precociously wise (he riffs on the origins of everything from the Internet to neckties) while remaining believably naive and vulnerable when it comes to girls. Teens will inhale this wholly entertaining, thought-provoking look at a system fueled by their purchasing power. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10–New York City is the backdrop for this trendy, often surreal novel with a message about the down-and-dirty business of inventing and marketing pop-cultural fads. Hunter Braque, 17, is part of a focus group that views advertisements for shoes. A product gets the nod if it is "skate," but it is more important to point out what might be "un
cool." When the teen brings Jen to the next meeting, she spots uncool right away and lets Hunter's boss, Mandy, know. The next day, the woman tells Hunter that the client appreciated Jen's original thinking, and that their help is needed for a "big deal." Jen and Hunter quickly find themselves caught up in a strange turn of events when Mandy disappears. Their search for her begins in an abandoned building in Chinatown and leads to a wild, drunken party at the Museum of Natural History where people are viewing advertisements for a new shampoo. This is a somewhat entertaining story, but awkward phrasing throughout defeats the "coolness," and the scenes involving Hunter's epidemiologist dad slow down the plot. Readers will better appreciate the satire and humor about the consumer world in M. T. Anderson's Feed
(Candlewick, 2002), in which the characters are far more realistic.–Kelly Czarnecki, Bloomington Public Library, IL
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