Friday, December 9, 2011

The Start-Up

The Start-Up
Author: Sadie Hayes
Backlit Fiction, LLC, 2011

They say the Internet is the great equalizer, and more and more this seems especially true in the publishing world. The Start-Up is one of many books I've seen lately that are only available in digital form. I came across it while looking at a list of top-selling Young Adult books on The description sounded interesting, and at 99 cents, I just couldn't pass it up.

Amelia and Adam Dory are twins who grew up in a series of foster homes in Indiana. Through their own hard work, they landed scholarships to Stanford University. It's not easy living in rich Silicon Valley when you don't have much money, but somehow they get by. Adam takes on temporary jobs, and Amelia has special talents with computers and coding. Adam longs for the lifestyle of the rich and famous and would like to see his sister 'do something' with her skills, but Amelia believes money's the root of all evil.  But when she hacks into a company to check out something Adam overheard at a party where he was tending bar, a frightening scam behind a multi-billion dollar investment is revealed. When the media breaks the story based on Amelia's tip, heads start to roll.

This little book is jam-packed with despicable characters, from the venture capitalist whose financial return is ruined by Amelia's discovery, to Amelia's scheming two-faced rich-chick roommate, Patty. But those are just two of many. The Start-Up (and apparently Silicon Valley) is replete with selfish, shallow characters who care about little else but making money, driving fancy cars, and partying. In that regard, it's a lot like a TV soap opera: You want to pull away and stop watching, you know it's wrong . . . but you just can't help yourself.

And sure enough, The Start-Up ends with a cliffhanger that makes you want to dive right in to the second book (called The Anti-Social Network). There's a third coming soon, and my guess is, there'll be several more.