Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The Next Big Thing
St. Martin's Griffin, 2013
NA Contemporary Tech
Scheduled to release November 26
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Despite my general reluctance to embrace the New Adult category, I have dabbled in it and found myself unexpectedly charmed and engaged by Sadie Hayes' The Social Code looking at a group of college students and adults searching for the next technological wonder to make it big with twins Amelia and Adam at the core. She's got the know-how, he's got big ambitions and no one is free from backstabbing. This sequel had to follow up on the abrupt ending of the first book and further develop the various plot lines already introduced.
To be honest, I didn't quite remember everything from book one but soon I was up to speed on the main players. The setting is Stanford in the heart of Silicon Valley. Amelia is a coding genius with a strong moral code; her twin brother does not have such talents but does have outsized ambition. The third member of their group is TJ Bristol who bristles under his powerful father's aggressiveness. Also interweaving is Amelia's first-year roommate Patty and a whole host of other secondary characters with their own agendas.
This book continues to ratchet up the tension while keeping my feelings all knotted up. In so many ways, I dislike the characters and yet I cannot stop myself from reading! Adam has such a chip on his shoulder and he acts like a stupid jerk for almost all of the book. I sometimes wanted to punch this guy and yet I also applaud Hayes for eliciting such a strong reaction. TJ also draws strong largely negative reactions from me. On the one hand, I feel like this book was deepening his character by showing his ex-girlfriend as well as complicating his relationship with his father. But on the other hand, I pretty much still hate the guy. I mentioned Patty in the synopsis above though she doesn't play the largest role just because I think she ended up being my favorite. She takes her own stab at creating a business with humiliating but kind of hilarious results and she comes through for Amelia in a big way toward the end. And Amelia continues to be brilliant and naive yet more able to see how this can be a weakness, bringing in someone to compensate for that.
It's difficult to go to much in to this book as it is a sequel and everything moves so fast. There are all sorts of salacious details but I feel like the focus is mostly on the tech and the relationships so it's definitely a read for anyone who found the first book captivating.
SPOILER referencing the ending:
I so hate the budding Amelia/TJ romance. I cannot believe she has a crush on that guy! I mean, I even like Adam more than I like TJ and Adam did so many boneheaded things. But I simply refuse to be won over by TJ. What am I missing? I would like to get on board the Amelia/TJ train if only because I assume the third book will move them forward positively even if they don't end up getting married.