the pursuit of cool

Strong reviews from Kirkus, Midwest Book Review, Writer’s Digest and many others / Quarter Finalist, Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award / Winner, Next Generation Indie Award /

Lance Rally is a ragingly ambitious, pop culture 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 ambition. He wants to become a big success, but is prone to distraction. 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 rocker 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.”

It appeals to fans of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and John Hughes movies. The definitive novel about the 80s. It gets past the stereotype to the way things actually were in the 80s.

“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

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


The Pursuit of Cool is 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

“Skidmore has skillfully crafted a sympathetic protagonist whom readers root for…and the narration has an understated lyrical quality.”

       –Watch Me Bounce

“Lance…such a lovable character! The lovable male character who is kind of goofy and different, loved easily, intelligent, but who has a depth… I loved it!”

        –Novel d’Tales

“From The Clash to Joy Division to Bauhaus…it provides the perfect setting. A great debut, and I can’t wait to read more from Robb Skidmore.”

       –The Book Fetish

“…An excellent job of taking a character and creating his time and place perfectly. A totally enjoyable flashback ride…”

        –Dew on the Kudzu

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

        –Writers Digest

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

–Literary Inklings

Read an interview of Robb Skidmore about writing The Pursuit of Cool… Are you a fan of 80’s music? Here is the Complete Discography. ranked The Pursuit of Cool No. 1 in its list of 14 Vivid Coming of Age Novels Set in the 20th Century.

The Pursuit of Cool was No. 1 in Literary Fiction on for 3 days.

The Pursuit of Cool for sale at:

The Pursuit of Cool merchandise on Redbubble now for sale: t-shirts, hoodies, caps, iPhone skins, pillows, mini-skirts and more!

The front table of Book Soup, LA’s iconic book store on Sunset Blvd. Can you spot The Pursuit of Cool?


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