Startup: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Buzzfeed senior culture writer Doree Shafrir moves from screen to page with a deeply empowering and funny debut novel with characters and a setting that will be familiar to those acquainted with startup culture and the growing tech industry. I found echoes of my friends’ experiences in these pages, and my own too. If you’re looking for a story in which strong, smart, everyday women combat misogyny, this is it. More than that though, this novel moves beyond merely highlighting women’s perseverance and ultimately testifies to the importance of creating a world in which women don’t have to combat misogyny in the first place. -Alex— From Spring Booknotes 2017
Mack McAllister has a $600 million dollar idea. His mindfulness app, TakeOff, is already the hottest thing in tech and he's about to launch a new and improved version that promises to bring investors running and may turn his brainchild into a $1 billion dollar business -- in startup parlance, an elusive unicorn.
Katya Pasternack is hungry for a scoop that will drive traffic. An ambitious young journalist at a gossipy tech blog, Katya knows that she needs more than another PR friendly puff piece to make her the go-to byline for industry news.
Sabrina Choe Blum just wants to stay afloat. The exhausted mother of two and failed creative writer is trying to escape from her credit card debt and an inattentive husband-who also happens to be Katya's boss-as she rejoins a work force that has gotten younger, hipper, and much more computer literate since she's been away.
Before the ink on Mack's latest round of funding is dry, an errant text message hints that he may be working a bit too closely for comfort with a young social media manager in his office. When Mack's bad behavior collides with Katya's search for a salacious post, Sabrina gets caught in the middle as TakeOff goes viral for all the wrong reasons. As the fallout from Mack's scandal engulfs the lower Manhattan office building where all three work, it's up to Katya and Sabrina to write the story the men in their lives would prefer remain untold.
An assured, observant debut from the veteran online journalist Doree Shafrir, Startup is a sharp, hugely entertaining story of youth, ambition, love, money and technology's inability to hack human nature.
"A biting and astute debut novel [with] many delights."-Lara Vapnyar, New York Times Book Review
About the Author
PRAISE FOR STARTUP:
"[A] smart, breezy novel... a beach read for Silicon Valley fans."
"Shafrir has a deft, easy touch, but her take on gender politics in the workplace is razor-sharp. This ruthlessly clever look behind the scenes at a New York start-up demands a sequel."
—Kim Hubbard, People
"Startup is a dramedy-of-errors, a Shakespearean yarn of secrets, sex, miscommunication, misogyny, and money...Crack this one open on the beach and you just might find yourself a little more enlightened when you return to the workplace."
—Lexi Pandell, Wired.com, 9 Essential Summer Reads
"Though often wickedly witty, Startup is so much more than mere satire; it's a smart, deeply empathetic novel genuinely interested in exploring the way we live now."
—Rumaan Alam, author of Rich and Pretty
"Don't buy this book. Don't open. Don't start reading it. Because if you do, I can assure you, you won't be able to put it down. I was hooked from the first page and found myself lost in a beautifully-written fiction that so succinctly echoes today's bizarre reality."
—Nick Bilton, Special Correspondent, Vanity Fair and author of Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal
"Is there a satirist alive more brilliant--and more insightful--than Doree Shafrir? That I tore through Startup in a single day--ignoring the cries of my children and the dinging of my phone, laughing with recognition at her characters' foibles-is perhaps not nearly as significant as the fact that this ridiculously compelling novel has haunted me, every minute, in the weeks that followed. If you have ever lived in New York or worked in an office, you will love this novel. If you love the novels of Tom Perrotta, you will love this novel. But also: If you are a sentient human, you will love this novel."—Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year and A Fortunate Age
"Doree Shafrir's Startup is like a thrilling combination of Po Bronson's Bombardiers and Jessica Knoll's Luckiest Girl Alive. Shafrir has set heartbreak and romance in the ticking clock environment of startups and the result is a topical, funny and perfectly observed document of our insane times."—Karl Taro Greenfeld, author of Triburbia and The Subprimes
"Doree Shafrir is so spot-on in her observations about the tech world that it's hard not to think this novel must be telling the juicy truth-and in a way it is. Sharp, compelling, and expertly written."
—Jade Chang, author of The Wangs vs. The World
"What a tremendous book. Fun, breezy and charming. I think I finally understand the Internet and I'm both gladdened and depressed."
—Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
A "deliciously detailed satire."
—Jenny Comita, W Magazine
"I tore through Startup in two days. It could've been one, but I had to eat, sleep, and feed my cats-all normal activities that became frustrating distractions while reading this book. Well-observed and told with a crackling wit, this debut is one of the best I've read so far this year."—Amy Brady, Lit Hub
"[A] timely page-turner."
"[A] very contemporary screwball comedy, this is a cheerful satire... good, dizzy fun, if you can put your iPad down long enough to read it."
—Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
"Some people are calling Startup a satire, but you get the feeling that there's very little air between Doree Shafrir's alternately hilarious and unsettling novel and reality."
—Adam Rathe, Town & Country
"Funny, hip and clever, Shafrir's Startup slices through the world of tech startups and the kids running them."
"Startup is a clever novel about trying to connect in the tech-heavy world we live in now."—Brenda Janowitz, PopSugar
"Giddy fun...satirical genius."
—Marion Winik, Newsday
"Startup is compulsively readable. You will probably finish it in a day, because you will never find a reason to put it down."
—Alex Balk, The Awl
"A searing yet hilarious novel, Doree Shafrir, senior culture writer at Buzzfeed, hands readers a promising-and a promise-fulfilling-debut."
—Ilana Masad, Read It Forward
"Startup's greatest accomplishment is the care and sensitivity with which it adapts app-based communication for a more traditionally novelistic format...As the world hurtles ever onward at a breakneck clip, Startup illustrates the dystopian quality of our destabilizing present by generating nostalgia for it. "—Helen Holmes, Rolling Stone
"Shafrir presents a humorous and thoughtful meditation about both the sexism in tech, and its counterpoint, as one character describes it: today's 'very male-hostile moment.' More than anything, the book will leave you wishing there were more like it."
—Anne VanderMey, Fortune
"Startup may have read as satire a decade ago but feels like historical record today. Shafrir's precise eye for detail takes stock of the tech industry's favorite answers for tough questions ... Startup is about more than business. It navigates the rocky foundation of relationships, journalism's importance, sexual harassment, and digital careerism."—Andy Newman, The Millions
"Doree Shafrir, senior culture writer at Buzzfeed, has written a novel of manners for the digital age. Startup could be called Pride and Prejudice and Tech Bros; Shafrir turns a sharp eye on the culture of techy startups and their unspoken moral codes."—Heather Scott Partington, Las Vegas Weekly
"Takes jabs at the pretentiousness that's all too common among the young and brash tech workforce."
—Michael B. Farrell, Christian Science Monitor
"Highly entertaining... this is my pick for your beach bag."
—Lexi Mainland, A Cup of Jo, Seven Big Summer Books
"A satire about the New York tech scene that pulls no punches when it comes to inconsistencies between the rhetoric around humane, supportive office culture and many workers' realities."
—Evie Nagy, The Official Slack Blog
"In an industry ripe for satire and criticism, Shafrir tweaks the startup culture beautifully while introducing characters you will actually care about."
—James McQuiston, NeuFutur
"Our favorite BuzzFeed editor brings her storytelling prowess to the next level in this dazzling debut about the adventures (and misadventures) of one startup... Startup belongs on your summer TRL."
—Brit + Co.
"This entertaining story is about youth, ambition, love, money and of course the startup world."
—Allanah Dykes, Levo