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New Waves: A Novel
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Description
A wry and edgy debut novel about race and startup culture, secrecy and surveillance, social media and friendship “A knowing, witty, and thought-provoking exploration of love, modern isolation, and what it means to exist—especially as a person of color—in our increasingly digital age.”—Celeste Ng, bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires EverywhereNAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • The New York Public Library • Parade • Kirkus Review Lucas and Margo are fed up. Margo is a brilliant programmer tired of being talked over as the company’s sole black employee, and while Lucas is one of many Asians at the firm, he’s nearly invisible as a low-paid customer service rep. Together, they decide to steal their tech startup’s user database in an attempt at revenge. The heist takes a sudden turn when Margo dies in a car accident, and Lucas is left reeling, wondering what to do with their secret—and wondering whether her death really was an accident. When Lucas hacks into Margo’s computer looking for answers, he is drawn into her private online life and realizes just how little he knew about his best friend. With a fresh voice, biting humor, and piercing observations about human nature, Kevin Nguyen brings an insider’s knowledge of the tech industry to this imaginative novel. A pitch-perfect exploration of race and startup culture, secrecy and surveillance, social media and friendship, New Waves asks: How well do we really know one another? And how do we form true intimacy and connection in a tech-obsessed world?Praise for New Waves“Nguyen’s stellar debut is a piercing assessment of young adulthood, the tech industry, and racism. . . . Nguyen impressively holds together his overlapping plot threads while providing incisive criticism of privilege and a dose of sharp humor. The story is fast-paced and fascinating, but also deeply felt; the effect is a page-turner with some serious bite.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)“A blistering sendup of startup culture and a sprawling, ambitious, tender debut.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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Street Date:
03/10/2020
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781984855244
ASIN:
B07TSYLRXK
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APA Citation (style guide)

Kevin Nguyen. (2020). New Waves: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kevin Nguyen. 2020. New Waves: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kevin Nguyen, New Waves: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2020.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kevin Nguyen. New Waves: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2020. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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New Waves
fullDescription
A wry and edgy debut novel about race and startup culture, secrecy and surveillance, social media and friendship 
“A knowing, witty, and thought-provoking exploration of love, modern isolation, and what it means to exist—especially as a person of color—in our increasingly digital age.”—Celeste Ng, bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • The New York Public Library • Parade • Kirkus Review

Lucas and Margo are fed up. Margo is a brilliant programmer tired of being talked over as the company’s sole black employee, and while Lucas is one of many Asians at the firm, he’s nearly invisible as a low-paid customer service rep. Together, they decide to steal their tech startup’s user database in an attempt at revenge. The heist takes a sudden turn when Margo dies in a car accident, and Lucas is left reeling, wondering what to do with their secret—and wondering whether her death really was an accident. When Lucas hacks into Margo’s computer looking for answers, he is drawn into her private online life and realizes just how little he knew about his best friend.
With a fresh voice, biting humor, and piercing observations about human nature, Kevin Nguyen brings an insider’s knowledge of the tech industry to this imaginative novel. A pitch-perfect exploration of race and startup culture, secrecy and surveillance, social media and friendship, New Waves asks: How well do we really know one another? And how do we form true intimacy and connection in a tech-obsessed world?
Praise for New Waves
“Nguyen’s stellar debut is a piercing assessment of young adulthood, the tech industry, and racism. . . . Nguyen impressively holds together his overlapping plot threads while providing incisive criticism of privilege and a dose of sharp humor. The story is fast-paced and fascinating, but also deeply felt; the effect is a page-turner with some serious bite.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A blistering sendup of startup culture and a sprawling, ambitious, tender debut.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from November 25, 2019
        Nguyen’s stellar debut is a piercing assessment of young adulthood, the tech industry, and racism. Margo, a 20-something black engineer, and Lucas, a 23-year-old Asian customer service rep, bond over the ingrained racism at their tech startup employer, a messaging app called Nimbus, in New York in 2009. When Margo’s strong opinions lead to her dismissal, she drunkenly convinces Lucas to help her steal the usernames and passwords of Nimbus’s users. Margo soon regrets this, but nevertheless apparently leverages the data to land her and Lucas jobs at Phantom, a rival startup with an app that immediately deletes read text messages. Margo dies in a car accident, and Lucas is distraught and afraid, wondering if the accident was really an accident or something more sinister. He steals Margo’s laptop and decides to contact Jill, a struggling writer whose work Margo spent hours providing feedback on. He and Jill stumble into a relationship while Phantom’s popularity among teenagers pushes Lucas into a new role implementing a monitoring process contrary to the lofty ambition of the founders. Lucas’s scramble to meet the growing intensity of his professional and personal lives, as well as his jealous conviction he knew Margo best, leads to a series of missteps with rippling consequences. Nguyen impressively holds together his overlapping plot threads while providing incisive criticism of privilege and a dose of sharp humor. The story is fast-paced and fascinating, but also deeply felt; the effect is a page-turner with some serious bite.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 15, 2020
        Startup culture and science fiction collide in this debut novel about love, loss, and coming-of-age. Lucas and Margo are best friends, or something like it. The two cynical 20-somethings brave the oppressive whiteness of startup culture together, downing beers at the bar around the corner from their office and commiserating about their clueless, immoral bosses. "Being black means you're merely a body--a fragile body," confesses Margo, a talented engineer with a penchant for SF, over drinks. "If there was a machine that could do it, I'd change places with you right now, Lucas....I would be an Asian man and I would move through the world unnoticed and nobody would bother me." In retaliation for being pushed out of their company, Margo decides to steal user data and convinces cautious Lucas to help. But when she is suddenly struck and killed by a car, Lucas is left to navigate their theft--and the emotional roller coaster of working in big tech as a minority--on his own. Nguyen, a former digital deputy editor for GQ and a veteran of Google and Amazon, has a keen eye for satire. He illuminates how "lean" startup companies led by young white men with little management experience manufacture crises only to dodge responsibilities to their users and staff. "I started Phantom with lofty principles, and I haven't given up on them," says one CEO without irony. "But we'll never achieve those ideals...if we run out of money first." Running alongside the dystopian horrors of Nguyen's workplace satire are the warmth and humor, sadness and vulnerability of Lucas' and Margo's voices. Using text messages, voicemails, message board posts, and short story snippets, Nguyen's novel spirals inward to capture the hang-ups, cultural obsessions, and fuzzy ambitions of his characters. "I'd hoped leaving behind all my material possessions would mean leaving behind all the things I'd become: a cruel friend, a workplace creep, an alcoholic," Lucas muses from his new, nomadic life in Tokyo. "Or maybe I was all those things to begin with." At last confronted with his own poor romantic and workplace behavior, Lucas must decide how he will honor his friend's memory and whether he will work to become a better person in the hazy promise--or possible tragedy--of the future. A blistering sendup of startup culture and a sprawling, ambitious, tender debut.

        COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 1, 2020

        DEBUT Once upon a time--before social media, before digital traces and imprints--death meant an end. Not so much for Lucas after his friend Margo dies by speeding taxi. The unlikely (nonromantic) pair--coworkers at a tech start-up where Margo is the gifted programmer and Lucas a lowly customer service rep--have spent most of the past couple years together in and out of the office. Their bond is cemented by a serendipitous realization of shared teenage history--as virtual collaborators on an obscure music uploading site--albeit not for long with Margo's death at just 25. Before she goes, she manages to get fired, devises a data-theft revenge plan, makes Lucas an accomplice, then alacritously negotiates their next jobs together at a rival company. When Margo's mother requests Lucas's help in taking down Margo's Facebook account, he ends up stealing her computer. The Margo he's known--a brilliant, angry black woman avoiding strangulation in a white, male, privileged world of cutting-edge technology--hardly resembles the person he's about to get to know via her once-private screen. VERDICT Savvy and savage (with plenty of racist, sexist, sociopolitical bite), pop lit doyen Nguyen's fiction debut is poised to trigger "new waves."--Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC

        Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from February 15, 2020
        If a Venn diagram highlighted the overlaps among racism, sexism, technology, and millennial ennui, Nguyen's edgy novel would be smack-dab at the center. An Asian American, Lucas leaves his unmoored past as sole helper at his parents' bed-and-breakfast in an Oregon college town and moves to New York. While his job on the lower rungs of a tech firm as a sales representative may not be fulfilling, his friendship with the brilliant African American programmer, Margo, is. Alas, Margo's insistence on speaking her mind gets her fired. Incensed, she convinces Lucas to steal the company's intellectual property and sell it to a tech start-up competitor. After Margo's sudden death, Lucas is left to pick up the pieces and figure out who his friend really was. Worse, he must handle the fallout from the tech product his new start-up creates, which becomes the equivalent of Frankenstein's monster and goes completely out of control. If at times the send-up of tech-bro culture feels familiar, Nguyen has created a distinctive, ace, and surprisingly sad critique of just how real the dichotomy is between our true selves and the ones drowned in the wash of technology.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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A wry and edgy debut novel about race and startup culture, secrecy and surveillance, social media and friendship 
“A knowing, witty, and thought-provoking exploration of love, modern isolation, and what it means to exist—especially as a person of color—in our increasingly digital age.”—Celeste Ng, bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • The New York Public Library • Parade • Kirkus Review

Lucas and Margo are fed up. Margo is a brilliant programmer tired of being talked over as the company’s sole black employee, and while Lucas is one of many Asians at the firm, he’s nearly invisible as a low-paid customer service rep. Together, they decide to steal their tech startup’s user database in an attempt at revenge. The heist takes a sudden turn...
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