Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Book Review: Recruited

By Sara Steven

When Olivia Gesso skydives into a recruiting job with Kava Tech-a hip start-up where twenty-somethings binge drink, gamble, and code their way to luxury cars and fat bonuses-it's almost hard to remember how she got there. No one would have expected an eco-warrior hellbent on saving the seeds of an extinct tree to find her way into this silicon jungle, serving as high-heeled bait for geeky coders. But student debt and desperation drive Olivia farther from her life-changing work on a remote Indian Ocean island than she ever thought possible.

Now she's lost in a fast-paced, high-stakes "Brotopia", where hot recruiters make sure the country's best techies get anything they want to sign on the dotted line. Still, Olivia risks it all-including her heart-to be a company star and get what she is after. But having gone from eco-warrior to dot-com fly girl, perhaps a little too easily, means dealing with some seriously irrational expectations. With the investors grabbing her "assets" and the star candidate holding out for more than just money, Olivia must decide how far she'll go to bring an extinct tree back to life. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

Even though I knew where Kava Tech was headed, considering it’s a start-up from the late nineties, reading about Olivia’s experiences as she works her way through the high-speed, overly excessive lifestyle that represented the young tech companies of forever ago felt exhilarating and manic. The contrast between this peaceful, peace-loving, earthly character, who is then pushed into living a vastly different life than she’s used to, was at times disorienting, but in the best of ways. The reader is right there with Olivia, working 18+ hour workdays while she busts everything she has to do the best job she can, all in an attempt to get back to her roots. At times, it was inspiring, yet at other moments, tragic.

Along the way, Olivia finds who might be relationship material--yet, is he really? It seems so much of what she sees in silicon jungle appears to be too good to be true. The fancy cars, company credit cards with substantial credit limits, and the constant “work hard, play hard” ethic can only take her so far, and she constantly questions whether it will ever be enough for Kava Tech, for the man she thinks she’s falling for, and ultimately, for herself. I could see at the start of the book that Olivia comes into Kava Tech with rose-colored glasses, and gradually, the rose-colored glasses lose their tint, maturing her.

She’s battling to get to the top, and as the synopsis mentions, there are a lot of irrational expectations that are thrown at her. With double standards in tow, I wasn’t sure where Olivia would end up...or with who...or how long she felt she’d be able to handle this overly excessive lifestyle. It was consistently interesting and engaging, from start to finish, filled to the brim with that special nineties nostalgia I love so much. It was a well-deserved, five-star read!

Thanks to Stormbird Press for the book in exchange for an honest review. Recruited can be purchased here

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