Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Start-Up

The Start-Up by Sadie Hayes (Santa Monica, CA: Backlit Fiction, 2011). Review copy provided by publisher.

Twins Amelia and Adam Dory have lead difficult lives, bouncing among foster homes in Indiana, but now they're scholarship students at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.  Amelia is majoring in computer science and loves nothing more than spending all her time coding.  And she's good, really good, coming up with super apps for the iPhone at lightning speed.  Her brother Adam is an equally quick thinker with big ideas for his and Amelia's lives.  A chance glimpse into the world of  venture capital at a ritzy graduation party where he's tending bar pushes Adam to consider capitalizing on Amelia's gift.  Meanwhile, Amelia has her own serendipitous encounter with an investor who seems different from the other vultures. But Adam and Amelia are both naive and the high tech, high stakes world of Silicon Valley may devour them.

The Start-Up is the first episode in a new electronic-only series.  It's very short (~88 pages), but that's the idea--to get readers hooked into the world of the episode so they'll keep coming back for the next one.  It's a snappy business model and will work well if all the stories are as fast-paced and captivating as this one, which is kind of like Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Social Network, all rolled into one. All of the characters use information strategically to get what they want. Amelia and Adam are engaging characters whose hard luck background makes them sympathetic.  This is all the more true when they're forced to dip their toes into the shark-infested waters of Silicon Valley, where the competition is ruthless and the players will use any advantage they can--a policy that applies to both business and personal alliances. Who can they trust?  Can they hide their secrets? And how can scholarship students afford iPhones?  These questions and more will send most readers scrambling to get the next installment of this great new series. Recommended for ages 15 & up.  Sexual situations, language. Available @ Amazon and B&N.

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