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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

ARC Review: Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35230483-sophia-of-silicon-valley?ac=1&from_search=true
Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
During the heady years of the tech boom, incorrigibly frank Sophia Young lucks into a job that puts her directly in the path of Scott Kraft, the eccentric CEO of Treehouse, a studio whose animated films are transforming movies forever. Overnight, Sophia becomes an unlikely nerd whisperer. Whether her success is due to dumb luck, savage assertiveness, insightful finesse (learned by dealing with her irrational Chinese immigrant mother), or a combination of all three, in her rarified position she finds she can truly shine.

As Scott Kraft’s right-hand woman, whip-smart Sophia is in the eye of the storm, sometimes floundering, sometimes nearly losing relationships and her health, but ultimately learning what it means to take charge of her own future the way the men around her do. But when engineer/inventor Andre Stark hires her to run his company’s investor relations, Sophia discovers that the big paycheck and high-status career she’s created for herself may not be worth living in the toxic environment of a boys-club gone bad.


Review:

Living for the past twenty years in the San Francisco Bay area, I have seen the dot.com boom in real time.  So when I read the synopsis of Sophia of Silicon Valley, by Anna Yen, I was very excited, and was rewarded with a fun, entertaining novel.  With an insider view of the fast-paced world of tech start-ups and IPOs from the viewpoint of young go-getter Sophia, this was a wonderful book.  I loved following her adventures.

What I Liked:

Setting:
This book astutely avoids stating exactly when the book takes place.  This is smart so that the author can mix several legendary start-ups into her story.  The reader gets a behind the scenes look at the beginnings of a Pixar like company.  The excitement of witnessing history is palatable, as is the inside view of working with tech icons modeled after Steve Job and Elon Musk.

Characters:
Sophia is a strong young woman trying to balance work, romance, and the obligations of being in a Chinese-American family.  She also has diabetes, which plays a prominent role in the novel.

I liked Sophia's character develop from a young person with shaky confidence, to a self-assured, competent adult.  She still has moments where she is unsure of what she wants in her personal life, but she figures it out.

I loved, loved, loved the characters of Scott (modeled after Steve Jobs), and Andre (very much like Elon Musk).  She brings these legends to life and shows why people are mesmerized by these innovators.  Reading about them made me want to go out and create something! 

Story:
The story follows Sophia as she navigates the tech world through the IPO process.  I enjoyed the insider look at the whole process of how a company goes public.  Sounds boring?  No way!  These are high stakes where a rumor can threaten to derail even the most carefully planned IPO.

What I was mixed about:
Story:
(I'm going to try to talk about this part without spoilers..)
 
Although I loved the parts of the story where Sophia is involved with tech companies, I was scratching my head at some of the author's other choices.

I thought the part when Sophia's health was threatened was a bit melodramatic.  It was also taken care of a little too easily.  I have personal experience with a similar illness, and it takes at least a year to feel normal again.  Yet, Sophia was good to go after six weeks.  Not very realistic, in my opinion.


Rating: 




Release Date:  April 10th, 2018


Author:  Anna Yen

Publisher:  William Morrow

Page Length:  368 Pages

Format:  E-Book

Source:  Edelweiss

Recommendation: A must-read if you want to feel like an insider in Silicon Valley.

 
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