Friday, November 5, 2021

Mini Reviews: A Spy in the Struggle and The Nobodies

Yolanda Vance is used to working hard, but she also believes in honesty. When her law firm gets raided by the FBI, she turns over evidence against them and goes to work as an agent instead. The FBI is watching a group of black activists who claim that a local corporation is intentionally hurting their neighborhood, and Yolanda is the perfect person to send undercover. As she discovers what is really going on, she is caught in the impossible position of doing her job and hurting people she has come to care for or breaking the rules and fighting back. 

I really liked the premise of this book--why don't we have more stories about women (particularly women of color) who are detectives and spies and agents? Aya de Leon does a wonderful job of showing through Yolanda's experiences that it is not always easy to know who is good and who is bad. Unfortunately, the character of Yolanda fell flat for me; it seemed that the author hadn't really decided who Yolanda was outside the parameters of this story. 

A Spy in the Struggle
By Aya de Leon
Kensington Books December 2020
352 pages
Read via Netgalley

Joan Dixon doesn't really want to be working at a place where her bosses are a decade younger than she is, but it's hard to be a working journalist and Bloom was hiring copywriters. As she adjusts to working at the tech start-up, she starts to make friends among her coworkers. But the good times don't last--Joan discovers there may be a major problem with her idyllic company. This could be the story of a lifetime, but it could also destroy her only steady job in years and the relationships she has been building.

The Nobodies is unfortunately not my favorite Liza Palmer novel. Joan is a tough character to follow, as she seems to fumble everything in her own life. But Palmer really captures the feeling of failure well. When Joan's latest story is rejected by an editor or an attempt to make a friend goes awry, it's enough to break your heart and bring back every terrible memory of your own rejection. If you love a book set in the world of tech start-ups or a story about a woman determined to make her own way in the world, The Nobodies might be the perfect pick for you. 

The Nobodies
By Liza Palmer
Flatiron Books September 2019
266 pages
Read via Netgalley 

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