New Waves
Set in the New York City tech world, a wry and edgy debut novel about a heist gone wrong, a secret online life exposed, and a young man's search for true connection....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 start-up'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 secret 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 start-up culture, secrecy and surveillance, social media and friendship, New Waves asks: How well do we really know each other? And how do we form true intimacy and connection in a tech-obsessed world?

New Waves Details

TitleNew Waves
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
PublisherSpiegel & Grau
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Adult Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Adult, Literary Fiction, Novels

New Waves Review

  • Jessica Woodbury
    January 1, 1970
    Your experience with the genre of Literary Novel Where Not Much Happens is all about how the book connects with you on a gut level. If it doesn't fully connect, you'll be too annoyed that nothing happens. If it does connect, you'll happily go along through nothing happening because you're enjoying it and you don't think anything really needs to happen anyway. Luckily for me, I was the latter with this book, one that finally hit after I started and abandoned around 10 other books in a short span. Your experience with the genre of Literary Novel Where Not Much Happens is all about how the book connects with you on a gut level. If it doesn't fully connect, you'll be too annoyed that nothing happens. If it does connect, you'll happily go along through nothing happening because you're enjoying it and you don't think anything really needs to happen anyway. Luckily for me, I was the latter with this book, one that finally hit after I started and abandoned around 10 other books in a short span.What immediately got me about this book, and what I like most about it, is that it's a Work Novel. We have a ridiculously small number of Work Novels when you consider how much work takes up of our lives (but I suppose this is what happens when the people writing our novels are trying to be full-time novelists). Nguyen may be a books person, but he's worked for a lot of tech and media companies (I follow him on Twitter) and he puts that expertise to good use here. Startup culture in particular is the focus here and while the strokes here occasionally feel a bit too broad, you cannot say startups have any subtlety so it's still relatively accurate.At its heart, though, this is a book about friendship and grief. Lucas is a relatively unskilled worker, doing menial customer service work at a startup, and Margo is a black woman engineer. They are both almost always the only person of color in the room and they bond over this, ending up spending evenings together in a bar. Margo dies suddenly and Lucas becomes even more obsessed with her, eventually going through her things to find a close friend she had online that he decides to meet in person. This woman, Jill, and Lucas have both known Margo in different ways and the more they mourn her together, the more they are in a kind of competition with each other, and the more they realize maybe neither of them knew her as well as they thought they did. Lucas is mostly the kind of protagonist you are used to in a Literary Novel Where Nothing Happens. He is aimless and disapassionate. He is not particularly good at anything. He is different because he is of Asian descent and the child of immigrants when these characters are usually white. (His observations on being an unskilled Asian man in tech are some of his best.) The thing I can't decide how I feel about is that there are some things about Margo that are quite clear to the reader, but Lucas never quite seems to get there. This is where the Nothing Happens element of this kind of novel can be hard. Lucas does change and grow in some ways but not the ways you necessarily want him to. This is part of the deal, right? This kind of book isn't about what would satisfy the reader and you have to let that be the case. But I still would've liked more of the characters grappling with their obsession. (Also there's a bit about stories as sound files that did not work for me at all, enjoyed them as stories but not as device.)This is the kind of book that you should give 25 pages. If it is resonating with you, keep at it. If it isn't, move along. But for the right reader, it's observant and moving, with a nice twist on the typical aimless young guy in New York narrative.
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  • Elle Rudy
    January 1, 1970
    Now available!Pub date: March 10, 2020I went into this without really any information besides that Celeste Ng liked it. And honestly, that’s enough for me. I was caught off guard with how much I liked it. New Waves is an engaging story about a young man dealing with grief and a lack of fulfillment. It’s the stuff that a lot of us experience but may not be as good at expressing or even acknowledging. I was able to see parts of myself in not just Lucas, but Margo and Jill as well, despite our very Now available!Pub date: March 10, 2020I went into this without really any information besides that Celeste Ng liked it. And honestly, that’s enough for me. I was caught off guard with how much I liked it. New Waves is an engaging story about a young man dealing with grief and a lack of fulfillment. It’s the stuff that a lot of us experience but may not be as good at expressing or even acknowledging. I was able to see parts of myself in not just Lucas, but Margo and Jill as well, despite our very different lives. There’s some shared struggle trying to find space for yourself in a world that seems like it was designed specifically to exclude you.I read a few other reviews, and I mostly agree with what a lot of them are saying. Jessica’s mentioned that if you don’t like this book within the first several dozen pages, you probably won’t by the end of it either. I can get behind that. I was sucked in right away, but if you don’t connect with the characters then you’re probably not going to be into a character-driven novel about their lives. I don’t know who spread the idea this is a murder mystery—it definitely is not. It feels like so many of the things I’ve read lately have been mismarked as a genre they don’t really fit into. Like one of my criminally underrated favorites of 2020, The Majesties, a lot of complaints have come in by way of readers who haven’t had their misplaced expectations met. Maybe the marketing teams are to blame? I’m not sure, but I do wish the ‘shelving’ feature on Goodreads was more accurate.If you’re interested in a story about an Asian man in his 20s, struggling at a tech start-up in New York, centered around how he copes with the death of his closest friend and confidant, then I would recommend this book for your very specific stipulations. And if you like well-written, at times biting and personal novels about people just trying to live and get by, you may enjoy this as well.*Thanks to Random House & Netgalley for an advance copy!
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  • Celeste Ng
    January 1, 1970
    In NEW WAVES, a grieving young man dives into the dizzying kaleidoscope of 21st-century online culture, trying to understand his lost friend—and the difference (or is there one?) between our “real” lives and our virtual ones. Kevin Nguyen’s debut is 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.
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  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    New Waves is a killer title incorporating many double entendres. Despite being Asian and the only son, Lucas is not a cliched millenial in that he is not exactly tech savvy or booksmart, and is performing at the lowest possible level for a startup. With only a community college education, he leaves his parents' home (a cosy east Oregon B&B), believing he can make a fresh start in Manhattan. Kevin Nguyen has crafted a truly original picture of millenial life, amazingly assured for a debut. New Waves is a killer title incorporating many double entendres. Despite being Asian and the only son, Lucas is not a cliched millenial in that he is not exactly tech savvy or booksmart, and is performing at the lowest possible level for a startup. With only a community college education, he leaves his parents' home (a cosy east Oregon B&B), believing he can make a fresh start in Manhattan. Kevin Nguyen has crafted a truly original picture of millenial life, amazingly assured for a debut. There is so much to digest in this fast moving page turner, which deals with startups and toxic work places, intimacy in this age of screens, the effect of grief in that it can both pull people together as well as force them apart, and most importantly the eternal power of music in all forms. Thus the first meaning of new waves being bossa nova, the lush sounds that rose out of 1960's Brazil and the haunting history behind its most famous song as The Girl From Ipanema weaves her way to the shore. There is also insider's observations on the dopamine release of addictive game apps, why Japanese is considered the most premiere of cuisines and a side bar on the genesis of Benihana Restaurants. And much more. The only reason for a 4 instead of a 5 is there are interspersed transcriptions of stories supposedly written by a character who has died that really didn't work for me. They slowed the forward momentum and weren't necessary. It may have been preferable to include them at the end in an epilogue.
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  • Theresa
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like "New Waves" by Kevin Nguyen is being marketed as suspense fiction, when in reality it's more of a contemporary novel with a dash of sci-fi and computer geek thrown in for good measure. I was completely hooked after the first chapter. I thought the writing was sharp, funny, and vibrant. It's kind of hard to believe this is the author's debut novel. Of course it's not a perfect, flawless one, it's close though. I did feel like something was missing. You think the plot is going to focus I feel like "New Waves" by Kevin Nguyen is being marketed as suspense fiction, when in reality it's more of a contemporary novel with a dash of sci-fi and computer geek thrown in for good measure. I was completely hooked after the first chapter. I thought the writing was sharp, funny, and vibrant. It's kind of hard to believe this is the author's debut novel. Of course it's not a perfect, flawless one, it's close though. I did feel like something was missing. You think the plot is going to focus mainly on Lucas and Margo's illegal crime against the tech company they previously worked for, but it's more of a character study of a man's descent into alcoholism and grief. The strength of "New Waves" were the characters. The main protagonist, Lucas was a dynamic character. I liked that one minute you despise him and the next minute you're rooting for him. I wholeheartedly believed in Lucas and Margo's geek-fantastic friendship. Their friendship jumped off the page right from the start, which is impressive since you learn early on that Margo is killed walking home drunk by a speeding cab. Most of their friendship is told in flashbacks. I thought the addition of the character Jill was interesting. She added some dimension to Lucas' sad little life. She was another character that had good and bad qualities. There's also frank discussions of race and discrimination in the workplace. Part of this story did feel uneven, I wanted more. With that being said, it was a breeze to get through. Quick-witted, engaging, and entertaining. This one took me by surprise. It had so much personality and spunk. Thank you, Netgalley and Random House for the digital ARC.Release date: March 10, 2020
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  • Amerie
    January 1, 1970
    AMERIE'S BOOK CLUB | MARCH 2020 SELECTIONA poignant meditation on race, class, and grief as they intersect with technology, New Waves had me questioning who we are, who we think we are, and what we leave behind. How do we grieve someone whose online footprint looms large? And really, can any of us live up to the terrifying hyper-optimism of tech culture (and this is coming from an extreme optimist)? Pick up New Waves by Kevin Nguyen @knguyen (just dropped today!) and join us on the IGlive chat AMERIE'S BOOK CLUB | MARCH 2020 SELECTIONA poignant meditation on race, class, and grief as they intersect with technology, New Waves had me questioning who we are, who we think we are, and what we leave behind. How do we grieve someone whose online footprint looms large? And really, can any of us live up to the terrifying hyper-optimism of tech culture (and this is coming from an extreme optimist)? Pick up New Waves by Kevin Nguyen @knguyen (just dropped today!) and join us on the IGlive chat at the end of the month, where we'll talk all things life, art, love, and grief in the time of technology!📚#AmeriesBookClub #ReadwithAmerie #ABC #NewWaves @ameriesbookclub
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  • Jordy’s Book Club
    January 1, 1970
    QUICK TAKE: I loved the premise (Silicon Valley murder mystery), but it did not live up to it at all. Looking back, I'm not even sure the author solved the overarching mystery of "who killed the only interesting character".
  • Tess
    January 1, 1970
    Feeling conflicted about my feelings on NEW WAVES. It’s a good debut novel, but found it somewhat unremarkable. It felt a bit unrefined, the writing predictable and forgettable for literary fiction. I read it fast though, I wanted to know what would happen and the story was unique. I love books set in the early 2010s in NYC, which is when I first moved to the city, and am always intrigued by books about the Internet and online relationships. I wouldn’t whole heartedly recommend this one though. Feeling conflicted about my feelings on NEW WAVES. It’s a good debut novel, but found it somewhat unremarkable. It felt a bit unrefined, the writing predictable and forgettable for literary fiction. I read it fast though, I wanted to know what would happen and the story was unique. I love books set in the early 2010s in NYC, which is when I first moved to the city, and am always intrigued by books about the Internet and online relationships. I wouldn’t whole heartedly recommend this one though. Lucas, the main character, is unlikable. He only has one friend, Margo, who dies early in the book. He drinks too much, is bad at his job at a start-up, and doesn’t have much of a backbone. He is Asian American, and this fact (along with Margo being a black women) pushes the theme of race to the forefront of the novel — how race and technology intersect, and how gender affects how you interact with the Internet. There is a lot presented in the book all at once, and it is sometimes hard to parse though. The themes the author wants you to recognize are not subtle, and this can often take you out of the book. I think this is due to the writing being a bit subpar — it may think it’s slightly smarter than it actually is.
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  • unknown
    January 1, 1970
    Narratively and structurally, Kevin Nguyen's debut reminds me of Douglas Coupland's Microserfs for the VC era, but instead of all that "defining an emotionally stunted generation of rich boy man-babies" stuff (which is not intended to be the slam against Coupland it sounds like, but also accurate), its primary insights come in discussing what it is like to be a person of color in a space designed by and built for white people, and for those reasons, it is very much worth reading. Less so for the Narratively and structurally, Kevin Nguyen's debut reminds me of Douglas Coupland's Microserfs for the VC era, but instead of all that "defining an emotionally stunted generation of rich boy man-babies" stuff (which is not intended to be the slam against Coupland it sounds like, but also accurate), its primary insights come in discussing what it is like to be a person of color in a space designed by and built for white people, and for those reasons, it is very much worth reading. Less so for the main character's meandering emotional journey and the intermittent insertion of sci-fi short stories, which don't work quite as well.
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  • Ming
    January 1, 1970
    I thank Random House for this ARC."New Waves" refers to bossa nova, a music style that the main characters, Margo and Lucas, have in common.Lucas' parents almost named him Kevin but didn't when they learned his cousin had the name--a cousin Lucas has never met. And this is an example of the humor in this book. Kevin, the author, possibly or opaquely refers to himself and just as readily dismisses the guy.Much later, Lucas mentions another Kevin, Kevin from "Wonder Years," and critiques his I thank Random House for this ARC.  "New Waves" refers to bossa nova, a music style that the main characters, Margo and Lucas, have in common.Lucas' parents almost named him Kevin but didn't when they learned his cousin had the name--a cousin Lucas has never met. And this is an example of the humor in this book.  Kevin, the author, possibly or opaquely refers to himself and just as readily dismisses the guy.  Much later, Lucas mentions another Kevin, Kevin from "Wonder Years," and critiques his egocentric way of comforting a grieving Winnie.I won't recount the general story as it's amply available. For two days, I enjoyed the ride filled with chuckles and uh-huh's to his spot-on commentary on race, gender, etc.  I was not satisfied with the climax but that could be the most subjective part of the reading experience.  From reading this book, I would definitely read more of his writing.This book has a combination of wit, keen social observation and ample reference of social media.  Social media binds the reader to the story because we can so relate to it:  the dynamics of using it as well as the strangely palatable dangers within it (hacking, being manipulated, undergoing facial recognition, etc.).  The arrogance of social media executives/founders features prominently here and, for better or worse, we readers recognize their inflated sense of themselves and their work.  (As an aside, I would suggest that their misguided notions and our earlier acceptance of such led us to tolerate the current foolishness and danger of the orange dunce and his so-called Administration.)Several quotes:"She could disassemble and reassemble anything, including the hubris of men.""To be black is the most terrestrial form of being, the lowest level of Earthling in the eyes of other people. (Margo)"..."At least you're American," I said. Maybe it was a weak attempt to get her to change direction. Maybe I just wanted her to see me as equal. "You see black people on TV, in music, in politics, in some form every day. Asians are foreign, alien, otherworldly. We might as well be invisible.(Lucas)""Science fiction makes me nostalgic for the future," Margo used to say, cryptically, but here the evidence was everywhere. Her futures were informed by the past.The music was good, but it had a higher currency: obscurity.There is, instead, a mutual callousness among New Yorkers. Sometimes we see that hardened self in others, and we mistake that recognition for compassion....she explained that white people spent an exorbitant amount of their energy saying racist things to prove they weren't racist."What does it mean that the world's most popular devices have been designed by and for the elite white men in Silicon Valley? Is this the new colonialism, a modern form of oppression that imposes the values and perspectives of white men on the world?"...The strangest part of being Asian in America is that you never have to prove how hardworking you are.  People just assume you were born with a great work ethic, or that your stoic, disciplinarian parents beat it into you at a young age.......The service they (white men) had created was being used primarily by people (African American/black) who did not look like them. It became clear that this was seen as a negative. It was a problem, and they were struggling to find the language to express why.That's what racism in the workplace looked like. You could feel it everywhere--in your brain, in your heart, in your bones--but you could never prove it.......New York was a great place to be alone because there were so many people....Daniel was put on a Performance Improvement Plan, playfully called PIP. The document laid out a long list of thing that we would have to do in order to keep his job. Many of the instructions were vague and involved things like having a better attitude and showing more collaboration with team members. But you couldn't measure that.  So, of course, there were numbers associated with it....Venture capitalists were never interested in revenue--they were interested in the potential of revenue....Like all argument between angry men in a workplace, the disagreement became circular, then personal, then unresolvable...."...But so many of the conversations we had were about systems of oppression; and rebelling against them. How could we not talk about that stuff all the time? We were surrounded by it."There are days I hate New York, and then I go to a bodega and completely change my mind...Bodegas represent New York's sweet spot between chaos and convenience--dollar stores by way of foodstuffs.So we had a New York goodbye, which was always logistical: Which train are you taking?It crossed my mind that Emil might notice something was amiss once his algorithm's accuracy plummeted. But it was more likely he would blame himself than the data. Unlike people, data was neutral; data was infallible; the raw numbers were never self-interested."...Unlike any other kind of Asian food, be it Chinese or Korean or Vietnamese, Japanese food was seen as a high-end cuisine. It was respected, revered. You could charge real money for it too.  What what was more American than that?""...Jeremy's compliments kept coming. They were aggressive, disingenuous. A sales tactic. It seemed, but I wasn't sure what he was selling.""We take no responsibility for users on Phantom anymore. We produce the platform, the technology that people use. We're not accountable for how people use it.""Writing never came easier to me than when I was lying to my agent.""...This seem to be the plotting of every American show: someone named Kevin trying to win the heart of a girl by being the nicest guy possible, pursuing her with unrelenting kindness and incessant affection. Exert yourself enough and you can have everything you've ever wanted. Perhaps that was the greatest fiction of TV, that hearts could be won over with enough hard work, that romance followed the same ideals as capitalism."
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  • Chloé Cooper Jones
    January 1, 1970
    This book is so beautiful, funny, and smart. I ripped through it too quickly and then immediately read it again. This book is full of layers that build gently, deceptively almost, leading you to the transcendent final chapter. This book will not leave you for a long time. Highly recommend!
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  • Laura Hart
    January 1, 1970
    This is my first ebook read! I have to admit, the process was quite difficult on a phone. For the first time in years, I actually missed my Kindle. But, finally, I conquered PocketBook Reader and completed NEW WAVES. This is an intriguing, often funny exploration of so many things! Music, privacy, piracy! Workplace racism, harassment, technology, relationships, and grief! Each topic is investigated by Lucas, our protagonist, who is mourning the loss of his friend Margo, and later his girlfriend This is my first ebook read! I have to admit, the process was quite difficult on a phone. For the first time in years, I actually missed my Kindle. But, finally, I conquered PocketBook Reader and completed NEW WAVES. This is an intriguing, often funny exploration of so many things! Music, privacy, piracy! Workplace racism, harassment, technology, relationships, and grief! Each topic is investigated by Lucas, our protagonist, who is mourning the loss of his friend Margo, and later his girlfriend Jill, a mutual friend of Margo’s from an online community. Nyugen is a crisp writer, but occasionally there was a bit too much fluff for me. I couldn’t help but think about Snapchat’s disappearing chat feature when reading about Phantom. There was also a good bit of space dedicated to explaining fairly well-known terms and processes, which I felt could be deleted or skipped over (e.g., two-factor authentication, bodegas, Candy Crush-like puzzle games). On another note, I didn’t think the sudden switch to Jill’s perspective for a chapter was warranted. After getting accustomed to Lucas, I didn’t want to try and adjust to another perspective. From that point on, the rest of the book felt disjointed to me and kept me from feeling anything for the characters’ respective resolutions. Overall, I think this is a decent book and a quick enough read, but not one of my favorites. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the ARC in exchange for the honest review.
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  • Lily Herman
    January 1, 1970
    It's time I make a proclamation: I don't like literary fiction about Nothing Really Happening. Maybe that illustrates that I'm not a deep person or maybe I'm coming to the same conclusion that many others do that literary fiction is overrated. I don't know why I do this to myself, but here we are.New Waves reminded me of a cross between the television show Black Mirror and John Green's acclaimed young adult novel Paper Towns. (And ironically, both Kevin Nguyen and John Green's central It's time I make a proclamation: I don't like literary fiction about Nothing Really Happening. Maybe that illustrates that I'm not a deep person or maybe I'm coming to the same conclusion that many others do that literary fiction is overrated. I don't know why I do this to myself, but here we are.New Waves reminded me of a cross between the television show Black Mirror and John Green's acclaimed young adult novel Paper Towns. (And ironically, both Kevin Nguyen and John Green's central Interesting and Mysterious Woman™ characters are named Margo.) There were some poignant observations about the intersections of racism and technology in this novel, but some were kind of obvious for anyone who's remotely involved in the tech world or reads about the state of tech in our lives. Lucas was a purposely bland character grieving the death of his Interesting and Mysterious Woman™, but we never really got answers to the questions sprawled out about her life, either. Some would say that that's the point, but I would counter with, is it really?I really wanted to love this book since I'd seen some hype around it, but a lot of it just felt a little too on-the-nose for me.
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  • Audrey
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsA meandering tale about the grief of two people, who are only connected by the dead woman. Set in the world of startups and millennials, the book also touches upon what it means to be a person of color in today’s complex world. I received an arc from the publisher but all opinions are my own.
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  • Bonnie Brody
    January 1, 1970
    Lucas is a young Asian man working in employee relations for a large tech company. Margo, who is an African American software engineer, is his only friend at work. Most of the other employees are lily white 'good old boys' who love to play on the company foos ball table. Margo and Lucas feel like outsiders in this synthetic 'family'. It is only a matter of time until Margo, who is straight speaking and not likely to hold her tongue, is fired for being disruptive and not a team player. Before Lucas is a young Asian man working in employee relations for a large tech company. Margo, who is an African American software engineer, is his only friend at work. Most of the other employees are lily white 'good old boys' who love to play on the company foos ball table. Margo and Lucas feel like outsiders in this synthetic 'family'. It is only a matter of time until Margo, who is straight speaking and not likely to hold her tongue, is fired for being disruptive and not a team player. Before they leave the company, they download all the privileged software. Margo tries to justify this theft of information but ultimately realizes that what they did was wrong. She tells Lucas to destroy everything they took but he neglects to do this.Not long after the theft, Margo is killed in a hit and run accident. She is said to be drunk and was hit by a car while walking in traffic. Lucas is not sure what to think about this. Was she drunk or was her death something more sinister.Each chapter is followed by a science fiction parable/short story about a future dystopia of sorts. I did not like this structure and would have preferred that the book flow more smoothly, not including these short bits.I know next to nothing about computers. This made my understanding of much of the book minimal as it goes into detail about aspects of computer lingo, data structure and gaming. I found this a hindrance for me and it made it harder to connect to the characters and understand what was happening.I think this book would appeal to an adult audience that is savvy in computer lingo and tech.
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  • Eva
    January 1, 1970
    This was an absorbing story about how people connect in our digital world. Lucas and Margo work in the tech field for a company that has developed messaging software. In a company that doesn’t value black women who have opinions, Margo is pushed out. Margo moves onto another company that has developed software that is much like Snapchat. The messages are sent and then disappear. She negotiates having Lucas work for the company as part of her hiring. The two have a special bond; one that began as This was an absorbing story about how people connect in our digital world. Lucas and Margo work in the tech field for a company that has developed messaging software. In a company that doesn’t value black women who have opinions, Margo is pushed out. Margo moves onto another company that has developed software that is much like Snapchat. The messages are sent and then disappear. She negotiates having Lucas work for the company as part of her hiring. The two have a special bond; one that began as an anonymous connection through a message board. Early on we find out that Margo has died (not a spoiler, it’s in the book synopsis). Lucas struggles with the loss of his dear friend. When Margo’s mom asks Lucas to delete her Facebook profile, Lucas discovers Margo had other people in her life in a meaningful way that Lucas didn’t know about. This creates a dissonance for Lucas.Also considered in this story is the level of privacy technology users should have. What starts out as an program to allow censored citizens and whistleblowers to inform on hierarchies without retribution morphs into how to protect people from online harassers and danger. Short sci-fi stories are intertwined among the threads of the story to make a full picture of connection. This is a book that will make you think about so many different ideas and is very unique in its’ premise.Thank you to @netgalley and @randomhouse for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book publishes March 10, 2020.
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  • Boz
    January 1, 1970
    The entire time I was reading this book, it felt like it was trying to say something profound: about race, class, grief, privilege, internet culture, privacy, and the tech industry, but besides the sprinkling of social commentary (even the title has several underlying meanings) through one liners every 3 pages, this book didn’t really say much. There also isn’t really a plot: the synopsis centers around 2 coworkers, Margo and Lucas, who steal data from their company’s server after Margo gets The entire time I was reading this book, it felt like it was trying to say something profound: about race, class, grief, privilege, internet culture, privacy, and the tech industry, but besides the sprinkling of social commentary (even the title has several underlying meanings) through one liners every 3 pages, this book didn’t really say much. There also isn’t really a plot: the synopsis centers around 2 coworkers, Margo and Lucas, who steal data from their company’s server after Margo gets fired. Weeks later, Margo gets hit by a car and dies and Lucas spends the entire book trying to piece together the parts of her life he doesn’t know about. I’m not completely sure what the purpose of this book was. It seemed to be framed like it would be a murder mystery, but I kept reading it to see if something happened and ultimately, in my opinion, nothing did, but I actually enjoyed Nguyen’s writing style- is that weird? I didn’t love this book, but I kind of liked it, but I can’t articulate completely why...
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  • Ben
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and One World for an advance copy of this!On one hand, this is one of those books where there's not one specific story that starts and ends within the book - it's sort of a slice of these particular character's lives, and if that's not your thing, you're maybe not going to enjoy this. That said, it manages to tie together thinking about ethics in tech, thoughts about race and racism, and science-fiction writing in a way that weaves through multiple styles and characters Thanks to NetGalley and One World for an advance copy of this!On one hand, this is one of those books where there's not one specific story that starts and ends within the book - it's sort of a slice of these particular character's lives, and if that's not your thing, you're maybe not going to enjoy this. That said, it manages to tie together thinking about ethics in tech, thoughts about race and racism, and science-fiction writing in a way that weaves through multiple styles and characters seamlessly. Given that Kevin Nguyen writes features for _The Verge_, which features so many of these topics in its stories, this shouldn't have surprised me, and yet.This was the sort of book where I was half-tempted to pick up a print copy halfway through reading the e-book version so I could immediately start loaning it to friends. I read this in one sitting (admittedly, I was on a plane, so I kind of had no choice) and devoured every page.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    An unusual structure and a lot of tech "stuff" might make this a hard sell for some readers but stick with it. It's the story of Lucas and Margot who steal valuable data from the company where they both worked until Margot was fired. And then she's hit and killed by a car. Lucas, at Margot's mom's request, finds himself exploring her world and he finds out a lot he didn't know about her. Lucas moved to Manhattan from Oregon; he's not as educated or as worldly as many of his colleagues but he An unusual structure and a lot of tech "stuff" might make this a hard sell for some readers but stick with it. It's the story of Lucas and Margot who steal valuable data from the company where they both worked until Margot was fired. And then she's hit and killed by a car. Lucas, at Margot's mom's request, finds himself exploring her world and he finds out a lot he didn't know about her. Lucas moved to Manhattan from Oregon; he's not as educated or as worldly as many of his colleagues but he turns out to be quite wily. The straight line narrative is interspersed with small sci-fi interludes. It makes for a read that can be challenging (where is this going?) but is ultimately rewarding. And you, like me, might learn something. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. Take a chance on this one.
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  • Janeadams Adams
    January 1, 1970
    A smart clever novel about high tech and an unlikely pair of millennials whose equally unlikely workplace friendship illuminates the rise and fall of a Snapchat-like app whose unintended effects turn their lives and their relationship upside down. Margo, the brilliant programmer whose hidden trove of quirky, mostly dystopian writings comes to light after her death, is deeply missed by at least two people -Lucas, her compatriot at Nimbus, and Jill, a writer whose on-line friendship with Margo A smart clever novel about high tech and an unlikely pair of millennials whose equally unlikely workplace friendship illuminates the rise and fall of a Snapchat-like app whose unintended effects turn their lives and their relationship upside down. Margo, the brilliant programmer whose hidden trove of quirky, mostly dystopian writings comes to light after her death, is deeply missed by at least two people -Lucas, her compatriot at Nimbus, and Jill, a writer whose on-line friendship with Margo brings them together after her death. The three central characters of this provocative novel don't drive the narrative, which is leisurely and even dilatory, but they resonate in the reader's mind long after the last page.
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  • Triet Nguyen
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliant, cleverly structured debut novel from Kevin Nguyen. What starts off ostensibly as a murder mystery soon turns into a platform for the author's ruminations on race, sex, technology and technology's impact on our daily life. Lest you get the wrong idea, it's still a fun ride, populated with quirky characters in the Dave Eggers mold, and driven in no small measure by the author's rather caustic wit. Highly recommended.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    This book is interesting, fun, and moves along at a good pace. It gives insight into the high tech world and some of the relevant issues. Grief stricken and alone after his friend, Margo, dies, Lucas searches out her friends through Margo’s online presence. In this story of Lucas’ journey, he befriends one of Margo’s friends while he continues to work at a tech company. Soon things become untenable at the company. As the book comes to its conclusion, Lucas seems to find his way again.
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  • Lauren Archer
    January 1, 1970
    This book has so much. There is a lot of humor around startup culture, you will have sadness and know there is light at the end of this bleak tunnel. Again, this book seems so difficult to review, but in the end I really just enjoyed this journey.For my full review, please visit my blog at: http://obsessedbookaholic.com/2020/02...Thank you NetGalley and Random House for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • TC
    January 1, 1970
    RecommendedReview posted at Tzer Island book blog:https://www.tzerisland.com/bookblog/2...
  • Hillary
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, this is tricky because I can't name a single thing I authentically liked about this. Yet, like it I did, every second.
  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't hate it but I didn't love it. I was waiting for the story to have purpose, but it never happened for me. Maybe I missed it. Quite dissapointed.
  • Jordan
    January 1, 1970
    A little uneven.
  • ♛primadonna♛
    January 1, 1970
    This would've been next on my TBR if the black MC didn't die. -__-
  • Andrew Barnes
    January 1, 1970
    It's early in the year, but I would be surprised if Kevin Nguyen's New Waves is not one of my favorites of 2020. Really deftly navigates the importance of the digital self and our digital connections in this modern age with grace and humor aplenty. Nguyen's sophomore effort can't come soon enough...no pressure Kevin (and no rush I mean thanks for this relax/enjoy yourself!)
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