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Impostor Syndrome

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3.38  ·  Rating details ·  2,367 ratings  ·  325 reviews
In 2006 Julia Lerner is living in Moscow, a recent university graduate in computer science, when she’s recruited by Russia’s largest intelligence agency. By 2018 she’s in Silicon Valley as COO of Tangerine, one of America’s most famous technology companies. In between her executive management (make offers to promising startups, crush them and copy their features if they re ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 25th 2021 by Custom House
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Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,367 ratings  ·  325 reviews


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Emily May
Ahhh! It has a cover!

I was fortunate enough to beta-read an early manuscript for this and I'm so excited to read the finished book! It's a page-turning corporate thriller with some very complex and fascinating protagonists. Read this if you don't mind reading about unlikable people 😉
...more
Tatiana
Russian spy mystery written by an author who knows nothing about Russia. Why do they even bother? A serious question.

P.S. I think you meant Yulia.
Jessica Woodbury
While there is spy stuff here, it's less a thriller and more a dive into character and setting. All the extra trappings of the spy story are a great way to draw you in to a story that's really about Silicon Valley corporate culture and how it plays out specifically for women.

Julia is the center of the novel, she survived a harrowing childhood to get recruited by a Russian intelligence agency and installed as the head of a tech startup. But it's been a long time since then and now Julia has gott
...more
Lisa of Troy
Jun 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Julia Lerner is a Russian Spy who works at Tangerine as the COO. However, Alice Lu, a low-level employee at Tangerine detects some strange activity at Tangerine. Will she bring down Julia, the female unicorn at Tangerine?

Maybe I am missing something because I really don't understand the rave reviews on this. If you LOVED this book, read 2040 by Lela Oswald because that book was also about tech and dangerous situations (but more exciting and based on real-life characters). The story telling was r
...more
Heather Salonga
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The San Francisco Bay Area is filled with people who have not or do not fit in. Because they are too smart, or socially awkward, or part of a gender or racial minority group, or an immigrant. Many of them, even if successful, still carry this feeling but need to pretend they don’t.

Most of them are there to pursue their version of the American Dream, through silicon or software, media or some new consumer good or service. The culture that arises from the mix of these people, is shaped by their co
...more
Elizabeth Rose
May 10, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the worst book I have ever read. I wish I could get my time and money back.

ITS ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. When the plot slows down, the author just introduces new characters, that do NOTHING for the storyline.

Is it mystery? No.
Thriller? No.
Suspense? No.

ABSOLUTELY BORING? YES
Dianne
Was my book missing pages?

This is a book that I have no clue how to review.


Is it a thriller? Is it a mystery? Is it satire? Is it another #metoo book?

I'm not even sure of the ending. (view spoiler) Did I miss a whole plotline--chapter---what did I miss?

I guess I'm going to have to re-read this before I give a 'real' review. *sigh*

I've decided that I'm not going to re-
...more
Jess
May 16, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great premise and some of the early bits about Silicon Valley, females in tech, the satire about SF and working mothers was really interesting and at times, laugh aloud funny. However, there was 0 character development so you don’t root for anyone and I found it really hard to connect with the storylines.

I also felt there were so many random side stories and overly detailed pieces about Russian intelligence that it lost me a bit after page 100 or so. I wound up skimming a lot of the middle just
...more
Hilary
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book -- the plot of the book, the multiple POVs, and the pacing. It's difficult to characterize where this book "fits" -- it's not a thriller, but it involves spies; it comments on current society in Silicon Valley but isn't too trendy. I always like when something isn't the same song-and-dance of current literature, and I think this book qualifies. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the way Wang weaved the immigrant experience and the ways of America into the book. The only thing I di ...more
Victoria Michel
May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book kept me hooked from the first page until the very last sentence. The dynamic between the Tech World, mega-successful business people, Russian espionage, and the simple struggles of everyday life, were truly engaging and so fun to read!

The chapters rotate between different characters’ perspectives, which allows the reader to empathize with each character. I thought this gave the story a unique and entertaining lens. I found myself cheering for each of the main characters, although ther
...more
BookBagDC
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a really interesting read, a mix of a thriller, an examination of the role of tech companies, and an exploration of the pressures faced by female executives in today's society.  The book focuses on Julia, a foreign intelligence asset who is sent to Silicon Valley to burrow into an American tech company.  Just a little over ten years later, she is the number two at one of the world's top technology firms, Tangerine, running the company and feeding key intelligence back to her home country ...more
Olivia Caridi
May 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Here’s what I’ll say...I don’t really know what genre this book falls into (corporate culture, spy, general character development, who knows), but regardless, I was hooked from the first sentence and practically read the whole thing in a day. Really liked the characters and the pacing regardless of what the heck genre this book is supposed to fit into.
Corrie Campbell
May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: botm, fiction, 2021
So I had read and enjoyed Kathy Wang's first book "Family Trust" last year and was super excited when BOTM picked "Impostor Syndrome" for May! "Impostor Syndrome" tells the story of two women in Silicon Valley, Alice - a Chinese-American low level employee at Tangerine (aka made-up Facebook) and Julia, the COO of Tangerine and also Russian spy. After Alice notices some abnormal server activity and links it to Julia, we get to see the complex relationship between the two take form and it was diff ...more
Anne
May 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book once I got into it. Not sure why it didn't grab me right away as it took a few chapters before I was hooked. The pace is quick, the plot easy to follow and characters are enjoyable and likeable (not all but some). There are several twists and turns that I didn't see coming. It's hard to put a genre on this. While it is about espionage, it is also a look at powerful people and their lifestyles in Silicon Valley and the challenges women go through to succeed. The voi ...more
Travel.with.a.book
Jun 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Kathy's exceptional literature is so outstanding with a remarkable performance of intrigue and satire in IMPOSTOR SYNDROME, this book has it all - Russian espionage, women in large tech world, business people... I loved how the book addresses sexism, it really is a thought-provoking novel and it portrays some powerful topics that Kathy elaborates them in a fascinating manner! The story has captivated my mind within the first chapter, I love the fast paced suspense that immerses throughout the ch ...more
Vanessa
May 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-reads
I loved Family Trust so I was excited to read this. I love a character-driven book where the individual's motives are complex and "right" and "wrong" get blurred as you follow their journey. Kathy Wang has a way of blending tenderness, intrigue and satire (I laughed out loud many times reading this, while also feeling very invested in the characters) that I really admire. This isn't an easy to categorize book, and I like that about it. Will definitely be looking for her next one! ...more
Emily
May 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by the description of the book so I selected it as my Book of the Month pick and I’m glad I did! It’s not so much a thriller as it is a story about corporate America and a woman’s place within it and all that she juggles to succeed in it. The spy pieces definitely kept the story moving as did the shifting character voices. I was pleased with how the ending landed as I felt it was in keeping with the trajectory of the book.
Darcy Maher
I’m not quite sure how to feel about this book. This was my pick for May’s BOTM and it felt a little outside of what I’d usually read, but the plot line of spies and women’s empowerment left me excited to try it. I feel like this book could have done a lot more with the plot line, and I never felt fully invested in any of the characters, even though the book did go into detailed backstories on them. The story overall felt a little all over the place, but it was a quick read and kept my attention ...more
Lauren
Apr 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book had my fingers tingling to turn the pages from start to finish. I loved the alternating perspectives of both major and minor characters, giving us their thoughts and exposing their neuroses as the plot propelled toward inevitable doom (this isn't a spoiler -- it's a spy novel). This would be a great read if you're looking for a mental escape into a mystery/thriller but not something with violence or gore. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance review copy. ...more
Brittany
Apr 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
I read this one in two days, and it definitely got me out of my post-vacation reading slump. The Impostor Syndrome gives an in-depth and captivating look at the CA tech industry and the Russian spy network. Julia grew up in an orphanage in Russia, but now she is COO of Tangerine, the fictional Facebook-like social media giant. She is living the American dream: her Instagram-perfect life is marred only by her husband's infidelity and the spying she is still obligated to do for her Russian handler ...more
Emily Lind
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A interesting mix of Silicon Valley drama and spy thriller. I found myself equally liking and being frustrated by Julia, though that is to some extent the intention, I'm sure. There's times when the plot progression seems too easy and some of the characters feel a little like cardboard cutouts, but there was enough here keep me intrigued and wanting to see how it ended. While there's some good criticism of sexism in corporate culture (and society in general) it sometimes comes across as a little ...more
James
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a traditional thriller but more a character study, or character driven plot. The main character, Julia, has echoes of Amy Dunne. I found it complex and fast moving and finished it in two days. Well written with both funny and tragic moments, there is a scene with the immigrant mother which is gutting.
Bill
May 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kathy Wang's book Impostor Syndrome had a strong start and finished well. I don't know if I liked the ending so much; however, the whole book keeps you engrossed throughout. I would highly recommend this Russian espionage book. ...more
Geraldine
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
BOTM has been hit and miss for me so this was a nice surprise. Less thriller, more character drama. I found the Tom Wolfe description correct in the writing style. If you want a simple thriller though this is definitely not it.
City Girl
May 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Read the early release via Book of the Month club.
Nina
Apr 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very clever book about spies. There are plot twists and amusing cultural references. It is well-written and entertaining. This would be good for book clubs.
Alexandra
May 20, 2021 rated it did not like it
This book is just empty. It left me empty. Would rather read stuff that I find really corny than this. Nothing happens. No one is interesting. Not a page turner. Not even “smart” about its emptiness. If you told me an AI bot wrote this book I would believe it.
Anna (bibliophiles_bookstagram)
This was a struggle for me. I felt little, if any, connection with the characters, and I feel like the plot was far too muddled to even follow at times. I understand slow-burn, but this one read as kind of a structured mess to me. As much as the premise intrigued me, the story didn’t live up at all.
Liz Davidson
May 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! In fact, I think it would make a great movie, and I would 100% go to that movie. Genre-wise, Impostor Syndrome is a bit of a mixed bag, but I kind of like it that way. It's part spy thriller, part meditation on how hard it is to be respected as a powerful woman and to climb the ladder as one. I really liked both of the main characters and identified with a lot of what they thought and were going through, even when they weren't doing the right things. And the ending fe ...more
Kristen Herhold
May 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book! A very intriguing story that’s hard to put down. A great book for any fan of the show “The Americans.”
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Book of The Month: Impostor Syndrome by Kathy Wang 3 30 Jun 11, 2021 06:43AM  

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