Alexandra Lange

Scat, a recent college graduate formerly known as Michael, is modest: He wants to have just one million-dollar idea. Once he dreams up the can't-fail Fukk Cola, everyone -- the girl of his dreams; Sneaky Pete, his inscrutable Asian roommate; and the blonder, bustier girl of his dreams -- tries to swipe his brilliantly nihilistic confection.

A deft, satirical indictment of an industry that makes its living pushing satire, Syrup is understandably deep in hip meta references. Fukk Cola is clearly based on the short-lived alt-beverage OK Cola, and the soda's name is a sly nod to the near-swear-word logoizing that's currently all the rage in streetwear. What distinguishes this novel from, say, a Thomas Frank-style critique is that it never gets mushy, even after Scat gets the girl. Instead of waking up one morning and wishing he was Michael again, Scat arises and checks his subconscious for marketable commodities.