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The Pursuit of Cool

The Pursuit of Cool

4.6 3
by Robb Skidmore

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Lance Rally is a ragingly ambitious, music and movie obsessed, tragically romantic young man who tries to find "cool" while attending college during the 1980s. He faces pressure to live up to his super-achieving family and is fueled by a grandiose ambition. He wants to become a success, but is prone to distraction and obsessed with pop culture. He also has a deeply


Lance Rally is a ragingly ambitious, music and movie obsessed, tragically romantic young man who tries to find "cool" while attending college during the 1980s. He faces pressure to live up to his super-achieving family and is fueled by a grandiose ambition. He wants to become a success, but is prone to distraction and obsessed with pop culture. He also has a deeply romantic nature and, though inept, he is sincere and falls in love easily. He discovers emotional complexities as relationships with a beautiful psych major and a feisty goth girl change him. Friendships with a punk rock actor and a subversive scholar challenge his careerist world view. He risks disaster as the clock of academia ticks on.

The Pursuit of Cool is an intense and emotional ride through album covers, dance techniques, all-nighter revelations, and corporate internships gone bad. The story comes alive with music and movies which give Lance solace as he questions his beliefs and his heart gets crushed. He tries to capture that elusive quality, that magic of youth, the essence that is "cool."

With strong reviews from Kirkus, Midwest Book Review, Writer's Digest, and many others, this novel is a Winner of a Next Generation Indie Award. It appeals to fans of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, and fans of John Hughes movies. It's the definitive novel about the 80s. It gets past the stereotype, to the way things actually were in the 80s.

“An experience as moving and thought provoking to its reader as it is to its hero.”
--Literary Inklings

“A skilled writer… A smart account of ’80s college kids… the novel believably summons the ’80s, complete with floppy disks, 9 1/2 Weeks on VHS and R.E.M. cassettes.”
--Kirkus Indie Review

“…A novel surrounding college student Lance Rally, as he seeks to rise to the top of the social ladder by finding what cool is, only to be swept into the whirlpool of its many definitions. With plenty of humor and a strong moral on the purpose of youth, The Pursuit of Cool is a strong pick for general fiction collections and those who want an original take on the college dynamic.”
--Midwest Book Review

"Lance...such a lovable character! The lovable male character who is kinda goofy and different, loved easily, intelligent, but who has a depth... I loved it!"
--Novel d'Tales

"...An excellent job of taking a character and creating his time and place perfectly. A totally enjoyable flashback ride.."
--Dew on the Kudzu

"A great debut, and I can't wait to read more from Robb Skidmore."
--The Book Fetish

“The characters are so well-developed and precise, I am already envisioning which actors would play them on the big screen.”

“A splendid job… The lively dialogue is the real music of this novel.”
--Writers Digest

Join Lance on his intense ride!

Editorial Reviews

Dew On The Kudzu - Idgie Atthedew
I'm an 80s gal all the way and from Page One I was remembering my entire teen years. The clothes, the songs, the hair (oh my...the hair) and the 'floating through life' ideals that so many of us had. Lance Rally represents at least 5 guys I knew and so many of the characters could I recognize. The book reminds me of several oh-so-famous 80s movies, and that's not a bad thing. A totally enjoyable flashback ride.
The Book Fetish - Ashley Williams
The Pursuit of Cool... is that book that reminds you, perfectly, that everyone was as screwed up and off kilter as you were as a young adult.
I often felt I was spying on Lance, somehow privy to his innermost thoughts. The Pursuit of Cool centers the reader right in that hopeful era of high expectations, and jaded reality. I have to applaud Skidmore's use of music throughout the story. From the Clash to Joy Division, to Bauhaus, if you've ever listened to these bands&#x

Product Details

Robb Skidmore
Publication date:
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File size:
583 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

My "upmarket literary" fiction takes a love of language and uses it to create original characters, then runs the characters through riveting plots. My short fiction has appeared in Gawker, io9, New Orleans Review, New Millennium Writings, South Carolina Review, Oasis, and Twelve Stories. My novella is The Surfer, and my novel, The Pursuit of Cool, is a Winner of Next Generation Indie Award and a critically acclaimed novel with strong reviews from Kirkus, Midwest Book Review, Writer's Digest, and many others. Growing up in Charleston, S.C., I read more J.R.R. Tolkien and listened to more Van Halen than was probably healthy. But then I read Kurt Vonnegut and Joan Didion and listened to Echo & the Bunnymen and things got balanced out. Next came Tom Wolfe and Radiohead. After college at Emory, I traveled to Europe and in Scotland I stood in the rain among Bronze Age standing stones and realized I wanted to be a writer. I scribbled in lots of journals and attended many workshops. In the 90s I spent a year traveling and camping around America in a Chevy Cavalier with my wife (then girlfriend). In King's Canyon National Park a bear tried to rip a door off our car because it smelled food in the back seat. We scared it away, but not before the bear turned and stared blankly, and seemed to consider killing us. I live in Southern California, near LA. I love travel and have been to many far flung parts of the globe. Besides writing fiction, I am a screenwriter, music lover, movie fanatic, artist, surfer and snorkel enthusiast. You might find me drinking kombucha tea or staring at the sky with wonder and appreciation.

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The Pursuit of Cool 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
HilyBee More than 1 year ago
A definite 1980s inspired novel, this novel will make you love the characters. Lance, a lovable college student who's trying to figure out what he wants to do in life, goes through college meeting people and living the typical college student life. He went to college with a *study hard, work hard* mentality and ended up with a different experience. He's such a lovable character! He reminds me of a mix between Ducky and Ryan from Pretty in Pink. The lovable male character who's kinda goofy and different, loved easily, intelligent, but has a depth that only a few people can truly see. I also enjoyed all of the supporting characters - LaCoss, Carson, Stephanie, Lance's parents... They were all great characters - very true to the 80s. One of the best aspects of this novel is how Robb adapted the 1980s popular film feel into a moving, humorous, lovable novel that is still modern. It delicately balances the 1980s and the 2000s college life feel into one. I loved it! I'm a fan of the 1980s films, but they aren't ones movies I typically watch over and over again until I'm going crazy. I can only see myself re-reading this book a couple more times. It has a familiar feel to it, because of the theme of a college kid trying to make his way through, but is still very different. I loved the different take on the college experience. Great book, and one I think is a great buy. ~HilyBee from Novel d'Tales
Caitlin0 More than 1 year ago
This book is a MUST READ! I really loved this book because the story has interesting, funny and memorable characters trying to figure out life, love and how to achieve their dreams. Yes, its a novel set in the 1980's - the decade in which I spent much of my teen years- but its story really transcends the era. For those who love the 80's (and who doesn't??), they will enjoy reading about the music, movies and pop culture that made growing up during that time unique. Skidmore does an amazing job weaving the 80's through the novel without making it seem like he's trying to do it. Its just part of the story and isn't overdone or cliche. Another fact: the music and movies are all the really cool stuff from that era all there to make not only a rich story but to bring the reader to a deeper understanding of American culture. And here's what I haven't seen any other reviews talk about: it's quite a poignant, moving tale that shines a bright light on feelings that all of us go through at that time in our lives. Lance's struggle to find "cool" is really OUR struggle to find our place in the world. How do you find joy, love, acceptance and a career you can live with? How do you escape the path set for you by your parents and peers? How do you become your own person? And who will that person be? Are you willing to take the risks necessary to find yourself? Just like all of us, Lance's friendships and romances may take him away from his original goals but they also enrich his sense of self. Ultimately, we all must be allowed to break free and figure it out on our own. This novel makes you laugh, cry and be inspired by that struggle. A super enjoyable read not to be missed!
EdwardChase More than 1 year ago
Really an entertaining read. I enjoyed it on several levels. The story sucked me in with some original characters and crazy plot stuff, and I also appreciated the 80s references. The pop culture in the book took me back in time, but also make me think of it in new ways. It was "cool."