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The Pursuit of Cool

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  54 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A novel that uniquely captures the 1980s, The Pursuit of Cool tells the story of Lance Rally and his turbulent college years. He faces pressure to live up to his super-achieving family and is fueled by grandiose ambition. He wants to become a success but is easily distracted and obsessed with pop culture. He also has a deeply romantic nature and though inept he is sincere ...more
Kindle Edition, 410 pages
Published April 16th 2012 by TMiK Press (first published February 21st 2012)
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Aug 21, 2012 Mahina rated it it was amazing
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 w ...more
Lee Libro
Sep 17, 2013 Lee Libro rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Books come to me for review through many avenues, the most common of which are publishing house publicists, book tour companies and authors themselves. Occasionally, I pick up a book and decide to review it on my own. In the case of The Pursuit of Cool by Robb Skidmore, while I was working for him as his cover artist and interior formatter one peek into the story led me to read all 410 pages. Usually, this isn't the case with my formatting and book cover work. I just do my work, perhaps scanning ...more
Ronald Fischman
Jan 01, 2013 Ronald Fischman rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all readers
Recommended to Ronald by: author
Ever need to revisit a time in your life that lives just out of the edge of imagination, in the haze of half-recalled images, song lyrics with ellipses at each end, and fragrances that blend together like the Tempera paint of out-of-control kindergarteners? You know the one – you are trying to tell the story to yourself and remember that it was more than the classes you cut, or job you lost, or the girl who dumped you? Several strategies come to mind, and fortunately for me, as a novelist and a ...more
Apr 03, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it
The Pursuit of Cool, debut novel by Robb Skidmore, is that book that reminds you, perfectly, that everyone was as screwed up and off kilter as you were as a young adult. Set against a fabulous soundtrack from the 1980′s, The Pursuit of Cool follows Lance Rally through his tumultuous college years.

From the book’s summary, “Lance comes from a super-achieving family and is intent on being a big success. But he is also an inept, hopeless romantic, obsessed with pop culture, and prone to distraction.
Christoph Fischer
Nov 24, 2013 Christoph Fischer rated it it was amazing
"The Pursuit of Cool" by Robb Skidmore is great fun for anyonw who gre up in the 80ies. Witty, thoughtfula nd with sharp observation Skidmore has written a story with great characters, a coming of age story, a campus story and about the spirit of the times.
Very good.
Feb 08, 2016 Priscilla rated it liked it
3.5 stars for this endearing coming-of-age story set in the 1980s at a fictional university outside Atlanta. Skidmore is confident storyteller who clearly cares about his protagonist, Lance, who is compelling and endearing in his confusion. Lance is an all around genuinely nice guy, a good kid. He’s a dreamer. He loves to read. He loves movies. He can spend hours and hours listening to music. He’s observant and slightly obsessive when it comes to going over situations (usually involving his girl ...more
Jan 05, 2013 Angela rated it liked it
Everyone, including Lance, seems to have high expectations for his future but Lance seems to be unable to translate those expectations into actions. He struggles to fit in academically and socially. Ultimately his search to find his place in the universe through his friendships and romantic encounters is played out against a backdrop of 1980s pop culture references and changing musical scenes while academics and career prospects falter in the background.

I had a difficult time connecting with Lan
Casee Marie
Jul 30, 2012 Casee Marie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, 2012
My full review on Literary Inklings

The Pursuit of Cool is a triumphant novel in author Robb Skidmore’s depiction of the 1980s and its iconic musical scene as experienced through the bright eyes of a young man coming to understand himself. Skidmore pays impeccable attention to his writing skill, effortlessly crafting his engaging story through the language of truly expressive and vibrant prose. The era comes to life instantly from the book’s opening scene at Lance’s high school senior prom and th
Kathy LaMee
Jan 02, 2013 Kathy LaMee rated it really liked it
This book takes me back! From the music to the clothes to the culture- this book completely took me back to the late 80's and my own college experience. While Skidmore's main character, Lance Rally, is a few years my senior, his college experiences and general outlook/ confusion on life as a young adult is easy to relate too. Skidmore is an excellent craftsman of vivid and realistic personalities. My biggest take away from this novel are the characters and the vibrant experiences he paints; you ...more
Apr 29, 2012 Candi rated it it was amazing
This book kept me reading! It is a novel about a boy and I am not one, but I could really identify with all the main characters I met through his journey in those angst-ridden late-teen and early-20 years. I went through my very own "pursuit of cool" in the late 80's and early 90's so it was fun to reflect on the trends, styles and music of the time. Lance tells his own story and some of his fears and thought-processes are scarily familiar. He meets several characters who I remember from my own ...more
Hilary (HilyBee)
Nov 14, 2012 Hilary (HilyBee) rated it really liked it
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 di ...more
Janet Cameron
May 04, 2015 Janet Cameron rated it really liked it
Shelves: purple
If you grew up in the 80s, or even if you just remember your early twenties in college, this book brings it all back. It's a great read for atmosphere and character. The characterisation of an impressionable young man trying to find his way in the world was exactly right. I knew someone like Lance in college; I think we all did. There doesn't seem to be a traditional plot in terms of rising action, cause and effect, climax and resolution, etc. Instead it plays like a series of episodes. But that ...more
Les Watts
Jun 12, 2014 Les Watts rated it really liked it
Great descriptions from Skidmore and you can really picture the whole life experience of Lance. I didn't particularly like him as a person but some of his pals were cool. Lance seemed to be a bit of a glass half empty sort of guy. Great chapter with Veronica though. Some places I laughed out loud. Great reference to Art, history, music and news which really put you in the time. There were some bands I don't know because I live in UK and remember another great bands of the time that didn't get a ...more
Oct 07, 2013 Christine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: super-faves
What a brilliant read. I was completely sucked into Lance Rally's world, wherein the Reagan-era college student struggles to determine what it is he really wants in life versus what a young man in the 1980's might be expected to want. I was reminded of The Graduate and The Catcher in the Rye as I read, although set in a different era with different expectations and challenges, and a far better soundtrack. The musical (and cultural) references in this novel felt like a guilty pleasure, as if I ha ...more
Karen Attaway
Mar 15, 2012 Karen Attaway rated it it was amazing
This is such a wonderful book and the best one I've read this year by far. I’m totally blown away by its 80's awesomeness. Complete with mohawks, blue eye shadow, parachute pants and big shoulder pads. The Pursuit of Cool is the essence of 80’s cool with extremely intriguing & loveable characters you can’t get out of your head.

It’s very rare to find a book that will keep you up at night wondering what will happen next and this book does that and much more. The Pursuit of Cool is wonderful f
Jan 20, 2014 jim rated it really liked it
I really liked this one. Great pacing, and I'm always going to like a character that processes through music. :-)
May 14, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I've won from the GoodReads Giveaways and I loved it. The book describes Lance's college experiences and his struggles in figuring out relationships and what he wants to do with his life. I highly recommend it and look forward to reading Robb Skidmore's other book.
Apr 23, 2012 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Very Entertaining, easy to get into. I loved the 80s theme and would definately recommend this book to anyone who lived through the 80s. I loved the storyline and the characters as well! I will be looking forward to reading any other books by Robb Skidmore, because I loved this one!
Apr 26, 2012 Clayton rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, first-reads

Received this book through one of the giveaways. Fun read that reaffirms that no matter how much people act like they've got it together deep down they're likely just as crazy as everyone else. The characters are engrossing and easily relatable.
Zips Vogensen
Jul 09, 2012 Zips Vogensen rated it really liked it
This was a great trip down memory lane. I loved revisiting all my favorite bands from the time, as if I were there again. It made me time-travel.
Kel marked it as to-read
May 27, 2016
Laura marked it as to-read
May 22, 2016
Gaynor Lloyd
Gaynor Lloyd rated it it was ok
Apr 07, 2016
Tiffani Hill-Patterson
Tiffani Hill-Patterson marked it as to-read
Mar 05, 2016
Michelle marked it as to-read
Jan 24, 2016
Lita Acevedo
Lita Acevedo marked it as to-read
Jan 16, 2016
Liz Kuhns
Liz Kuhns marked it as to-read
Jan 12, 2016
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Robb Skidmore writes stories that entertain and inspire. His upmarket fiction (combines the best of commercial and literary) takes a love of language and uses it to create richly original characters and intense, moving plots. His short stories have appeared in Gawker, io9, New Orleans Review, New Millennium Writings, The South Carolina Review, Oasis, and Twelve Stories. He has travelled to many pa ...more
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