Book Review: Startup

This book has the light tone of a beach read in a setting not usually covered by the genre: the NYC tech and media scene.  While chick lit books name drop the hottest restaurants in the city and big name clothing designers, these characters are talking about South by Southwest and the absurdity that is startup culture.  Here, the characters talk about sober morning raves, onesie day at the office, and Instagram likes.  It’s still superficial but far more relate-able.  Well, maybe not if you’re a doctor, but if you work in the industry I do, the conversations in this book, which is basically a satire of millennials, will sound very familiar.

Katya, the daughter of Russian immigrants, is a reporter at TeckScene, a website that covers the gossip of the tech industry.  She’s cynical and scrappy and mostly just trying to get by.  She doesn’t necessarily care about notoriety, but that could be exactly what she gets if she breaks the story that just fell in her lap.  Katya now knows that Mack McAllister, the young and cocky founder of fast growing app TakeOff, has been getting a little too friendly with one of his employees.  Caught in the middle is Sabrina, who works at TakeOff and is married (with a bit of resentment, I might add) to Katya’s boss at TechScene.

I liked that one of the main characters was male.  It was nice seeing a male in a less serious role typically reserved for women because – news flash – women aren’t the only ones acting young, stupid, and materialistic.  Between talk of VCs and a couple of the main characters being male, this beach read feels like it has a bit more substance…until the end.

Ok so here’s the thing: for the first 2/3 of the book I was feeling good about it.  After a couple heavier books, I was in need of something fun so I enjoyed reading this fluffy novel, especially since it managed to be light without too much talk of shopping and boyfriends.  But as the book started wrapping up, I realized this is just about the worst depiction of women I’ve seen in a while.  I detested Isabel.  Her approach to the fallout of her relationship with Mack is deplorable, and she’s pretty much an entitled brat.  Yet we’re supposed to see her as an empowered woman?  I’m going to rant a bit, but I’ll do that on my Goodreads review, so feel free to check there if you want more.

2.5 out of 5 stars.