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Kyla Zhao

Autore di The Fraud Squad

2 opere 90 membri 7 recensioni

Opere di Kyla Zhao

The Fraud Squad (2023) 72 copie
Valley Verified (2024) 18 copie


Informazioni generali

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Loved the cover and the concept. I could relate to the premise as I have a background in fashion, am a professional writer, and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area during all the tech booms and busts.

This was an enjoyable, page-turning novel with a bit of romance. I liked the up-to-the-minute tech and social media elements, and the juxtaposition of fashion with tech, multicultural diversity with unemotional coding, female empowerment with honest friendships.

I found main character Zoe Zeng likable, as well as her two New York-based sidekicks. The plot thickened with intrigue and various people (who were the villains? who were friends?) as she moved to the Silicon Valley from New York to work at FitPick, an app startup.

The book offered depth and perspective as it explored themes of friendship, honesty, self-esteem, sexism and gender bias, work/life balance, career transitions, and imposter syndrome. There are stimulating discussion questions included, which would make this a great book club read.
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PhyllisReads | 2 altre recensioni | May 15, 2024 |
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Berkley) for promotional purposes.

This was such a fun and empowering story!

I love fashion and I grew up in the Silicon Valley so naturally I loved the premise and thought it was executed well. The portrayal of the fashion industry and the tech industry felt current and tackled issues commonly seen in today’s world (for example, influencers photoshopping their photos before posting them). I also enjoyed that it explored the loneliness of moving to a new city and being away from friends and family.

The pacing was excellent. The story never felt rushed or dragged out. The writing style was also easy to follow and engaging, making it a quick read.

I loved all the characters (minus the villain). The main character, Zoe, is so lovable and you can’t help but root for her to succeed. All her friends and co-workers were amazing as well. Austin, Bram, Lillian, Damien, Cassie, Bjorn. I loved them all! I particularly liked Zoe’s friendship with Bernadette.

Lastly, I liked the female solidarity and their team up at the end. It’s always great to see women supporting other women, especially in a male dominated field like tech.

Overall, if you’re looking for an entertaining read with strong female characters, consider checking this one out!
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oddandbookish | 2 altre recensioni | Feb 9, 2024 |
The Fraud Squad is a story based on faking it ‘til you make it with a bit of My Fair Lady and imposter syndrome thrown in. I found this novel to be quite slow at the start, but the last third as everything starts to unravel was well paced and much more interesting.

One thing this novel will suffer from is being compared to Crazy Rich Asians. It’s not and I think the comparison is unfair. The story is about Samantha Song, who grew up poor in Singapore, utilised scholarships while her mum paid off loan sharks but now has a job in a PR agency. That’s not her dream though. She would like to write for S magazine, Singapore’s premier magazine for glamour, socialites and fashion. But Sam’s wardrobe is more Cotton On than Chanel. Enter her work mate Anya, who got a job based on her connections, and an introduction to Tim, heir to one of the biggest companies in Singapore. Over drinks they hatch a plan to make Sam a socialite on the Singapore scene, using borrowed clothes and Tim’s invites. The plan is for Sam to dazzle and get that coveted job. As you would expect, it doesn’t go to plan. While Sam’s star rises, she meets people who know her background and others who want her out of Tim’s way. She neglects her friendship with her oldest friend. She makes a scene at a society dinner by accident. But she also meets some new friends and gains confidence in her current work, enough to pitch her dreams. Then it all comes tumbling down spectacularly – how will it end?

I found the initial set up of Sam’s socialite plan quite slow and not quite as interesting as it could have been, despite the brand name mentions and glamourous parties. It was also a bit predictable on how she neglected her old friend Raina and family. The first part in particular had some writing that was overly flowery for me, too many adjectives. Either it toned down later or I got used to it. The last third, as Sam gets her invite to the coveted S ball, had a lot more happening which picked up both my pace and interest. Despite poor Sam being revealed, this was my favourite part of the story. The romance was a bit predictable, as was the betrayal. I thought there might have been a bit more ‘sticking it’ to society, especially as Tim felt so trapped by it, but the three play by the rules for the most part – not so much fraud as mild white lies. The characters all felt a bit mixed up, like they didn’t know what they wanted and once they did, there was a big about face.

I also found that Singapore as a setting didn’t really shine as much as it could have. There are a lot of things that make Singapore pretty special – the tropical weather, the food (not just fancy restaurants but hawker centres and the range of delicious eats) and the immense range of shopping. The weather gets a few mentions for inappropriate dressing, frizzy hair and being caught in a downpour but the only Singaporean foods that get a mention is kopi and kaya. Shopping is briefly mentioned but doesn’t really get much of a role, despite Sam’s need for designer clothes. Also, why no Singlish lah? I get that not everyone would understand all the nuances, but it would have made it feel more vibrant. It’s kind of like Singapore has been very sanitised into a global, blank city that could be swapped for many others. There were also mentions of class and racism, but neither felt fully explored to me, just mentioned and brushed under the carpet.

Saying all this, I’m willing to give Zhao another go as her next novel (Valley Verified) deals with imposter syndrome, fashion and Silicon Valley. I think her writing shows promise and she’s got some great ideas.
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birdsam0610 | 3 altre recensioni | Feb 9, 2024 |
This was okay, it just wasn't fraud-y enough.
Greenfrog342 | 3 altre recensioni | Jan 22, 2024 |


½ 3.3

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