Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “New Waves” as Want to Read:
New Waves
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

New Waves

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  54 reviews
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
320 pages
Published by Spiegel & Grau (first published March 10th 2020)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about New Waves, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about New Waves

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  159 ratings  ·  54 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of New Waves
Jessica Woodbury
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, authors-of-color
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. ...more
Elle Rudy
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2020
I went into this without really any information besides that Celeste Ng liked it. And honestly, thats 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. Its 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. Theres some shared
Celeste Ng
In NEW WAVES, a grieving young man dives into the dizzying kaleidoscope of 21st-century online culture, trying to understand his lost friendand the difference (or is there one?) between our real lives and our virtual ones. Kevin Nguyens debut is a knowing, witty, and thought-provoking exploration of love, modern isolation, and what it means to existespecially as a person of colorin our increasingly digital age. ...more
Kasa Cotugno
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. ...more
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 ...more

A 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
Lily ☁️
1 1/2 stars

Alexa, how do I get back the three hours I spent reading this book?

Blog | Twitter | Instagram | TumblrBloglovin
Jordy’s Book Club
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
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".
Chloé Cooper Jones
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Feeling conflicted about my feelings on NEW WAVES. Its 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 wouldnt whole heartedly recommend this one though.

Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5+ out of 5.
I didn't quite know what to expect from this book. A thriller? A tech book? A heist-comedy?

It is none of those things, albeit with tiny elements of each. It's a meditation on grief and race and technology and connection in the 21st Century. It pulls off the same trick that FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE leans too far into (of the possibility that this whole thing has been written by one of the characters in the book). It is beautifully heartfelt, it IS very funny, it is also mundane in its
Lily Herman
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Laura Hart
Feb 22, 2020 rated it liked it
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
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
Rachel León
Such a fun, smart novel! I really loved it and didnt want it to end. It tackles so many thingsrace, grief, technology and our relationship to it and how it effects our relationships with others. So, so good!! ...more
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 Margos online presence. In this story of Lucas journey, he befriends one of Margos 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. ...more
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
2.5 stars

A 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 todays complex world.

I received an arc from the publisher but all opinions are my own.
Triet Nguyen
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Maddie Elise
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"Of course I was in love with her! But what if I could love someone and not want to fuck them? People always talk about romantic relationships as being more than friends. What if friendship is actually the greater form of connection? What if being close to someone doesn't require being physical? What if, actually, it's better if it isn't? What if there are people more important than the ones you sleep with?"

COVID has got us all down in our bunkers, and the new release I wanted didn't come from
Thats 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.

In Kevin Nguyens debut novel New Wave we meet two friends- Margo and Lucas who are both working for a technology company. Margo is a top programmer at the company but is also the token black girl who is constantly pointing out misogyny and racism. Lucas is at the bottom of the companys structure, a lowly paid customer service representative
Bonnie Brody
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 ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 doesnt 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 ...more
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What you think will be a tech-focused story ends up being more about life and loss and comraderie, when one of the opening characters is in a fatal accident soon into the book. The New York setting is great, and feels recoginizable, but not corny New York, or uppity New York. Lucas, the main character is left to deal with the weight of the crime he just committed , and also to put together the pieces of his friendship that are now gone. He has to get to know Margo in a new light, unearthing many ...more
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 didnt really say much. There also isnt really a plot: the synopsis centers around 2 coworkers, Margo and Lucas, who steal data from their companys server after Margo gets fired. ...more
Kathleen Gray
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Nelda Brangwin
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Okaaay.I read this book, but at the end, Im not sure what I got out of it. After thinking about ti for a week, I still dont understand where it was going. Lucas, who on a whim moves to New York City where he takes a position as customer rep at a tech firm. There he meets Margot, a bright, opinionated engineer for the company. They become friends and steal the customer database before leaving for another company. Then Margot dies and Lucas, adrift and lonely, gets asked by Margots mother to ...more
The book made some obvious points about racism and sexism in the workplace and society in general, but I could only make it to about the 28% point of this book. If it was headed anywhere it was taking too long to get there. It also felt padded with nonsensical details. A man who spends all day on a computer asks in a bodega where to find a book store in NY and then remembers that there is a big store on Union Square. Seriously, thats not how we find a store or a book in this century. This short ...more
Janeadams Adams
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 ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Interior Chinatown
  • Apartment
  • Little Gods
  • Real Life
  • Weather
  • We Ride Upon Sticks
  • Uncanny Valley: A Memoir
  • The Night Watchman
  • The Herd
  • The Lost Book of Adana Moreau
  • Run Me to Earth
  • Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators
  • My Dark Vanessa
  • Indelicacy
  • Under the Rainbow
  • Riot Baby
  • Deacon King Kong
  • The Majesties
See similar books…

Related Articles

"Stay calm and read on" might be our collective slogan for the coming months. Since we all might need some help with that, we asked Goodreads m...
129 likes · 136 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »