“Valley Verified” takes on the complexities of the Silicon Valley

San Jose-based author Kyla Zhao published her second novel, “Valley Verified,” in January 2024, and tells the story of a woman similar to herself, that makes the move from high fashion in New York to high tech in the Silicon Valley.

A collage of two images showing author Kyla Zhao (left) and her novel, "Valley Verified," standing alone on the right.

Author Kyla Zhao also found major success in her first novel, “The Fraud Squad.”

Photo via Kyla Zhao

From haute couture to coding. That’s the journey that San Jose-based author Kyla Zhao took moving from Singapore to Silicon Valley — and a similar path that her main character, Zoe, experiences.

Valley Verified” is a new novel (officially released Jan. 16) that follows a Manhattan-based fashion worker who takes up a new job at a tech startup in Silicon Valley. Not only is Zoe faced with a change in career, but a whole culture shock to the Bay Area.

Because so much of her own story is reflected in Zoe’s, author Zhao wrote this novel in a mere four months.

Being in a cutthroat industry is not new for Zoe, or Zhao, who was a former Vogue Singapore writer. The difference? Being in the male-dominated tech world.

“In industries like the tech industry, where female leaders are so rare, they can create this impression that there’s only room to talk for very few women.” Zhao explained, “And that just feeds into this idea that women have to see one another as competition.”

See familiar mentions of Bay Area hot spots, women empowerment in the workplace, and the exciting journey that Zoe takes in the South Bay to carve out a new identity for herself in “Valley Verified.”

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