STARTUP by Doree Shafrir
Kirkus Star


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Veteran journalist Shafrir, currently of BuzzFeed News, sharply skewers tech culture in a feminist satire that’s as addictive as it is biting.

At 28, Mack McAllister, golden boy of Silicon Alley, is the founder of TakeOff, a workplace-wellness app (tell it how you’re feeling and it makes you feel better!) valued at $600 million (a billion, hopefully, not this funding round, maybe, but next). Katya Pasternack is an ambitious young reporter at TechScene (“Tech news straight, no chaser”) who knows that while she’s a master of raking in the traffic—her posts top the charts—she needs a game-changing scoop to prove her chops and, more urgently, keep her job amid an ominous companywide “audit.” Meanwhile, Katya’s boss, Dan Blum, downright wizened at 39, is unhappily married to Sabrina Choe Blum, a failed novelist and exhausted mother of two in serious credit-card debt. And as it happens, Sabrina has recently (and somewhat desperately) taken an ill-fitting social media job at—where else?—TakeOff. Then one fateful night, Mack, who has been getting rather friendly with Sabrina’s young, pretty boss, fires off a series of unfortunate texts—texts that, by virtue of the incestuous New York tech scene, aren’t so private after all. And so the game is in play: Mack’s in trouble; Katya’s hungry for a story; and Sabrina, involuntarily entangled on both sides, ends up in the eye of the brewing storm. Increasingly fed up with the near-endless entitlement of the men in their lives, Katya and Sabrina—unlikely allies—find themselves working toward a shared goal: to expose the tech-bro patriarchy for what it is. Exacting, though not without empathy—Shafrir renders even the most infuriating of her characters with unexpected humanity—the novel is a page-turning pleasure that packs a punch.

To call it expertly observed is an understatement.

Pub Date: April 25th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-316-36038-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2017


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