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Reviewed by Cal Cleary
Sophie Landgraf is a small-town girl who has hit it big. All she’s ever wanted was respect and responsibility, and now, at only 22 years old, she found both when she got hired on as an analyst at a major Wall Street bank. Or she thought she did, at least. But her new job finds her working impossible hours for no recognition, surrounded by coworkers she can’t trust and a boss who won’t protect her. Sheer luck finds her stumbling onto a financial deal that could make her young career, but can she maintain the cutthroat attitude necessary to hit big on Wall Street?
Author Laura Hemphill, herself a Wall Street pro, does a great job with many of her characters, Sophie in particular. Even the characters who aren’t terribly likable, like Sophie’s boyfriend Will and his fashionably poor friends, are relatable and interesting, while point-of-view characters like cold-hearted boss Ethan and stressed-out supervisor Vasu are utterly fantastic. Hemphill clearly knows the world, and populates it with a wide variety of hyper-successful overachievers – and, more importantly, shows the cost of trying to live that lifestyle on those around you.
That said, the book never quite finds a strong narrative drive. Characters are introduced, built up, and then vanish almost without comment. The book’s finance-heavy storyline is surprisingly straightforward, its reveals and conflicts awkwardly paced. For instance, the big moment you knew was coming all along, where Sophie is forced to choose between what’s right and what’s best for the company, arrives late, passes quickly, and utterly lacks consequence. Indeed, as strong as the characters are, the plotting here is dangerously slight.
Though the book lacks much of a narrative hook, I found that bothering me less and less as the story progressed. Though Buying In took awhile to grab me and did leave me feeling just a little incomplete, I also happily devoured the book in a single day… and would gladly read more. Buying In may have its problems, but Hemphill has a strong point of view, some great characters, and a talent for writing complex financial details in easy-to-follow layman’s terms without coming off as condescending or simplistic. Buying In is an enjoyable read, albeit one with room for improvement.
Cal Cleary is a librarian and critic in rural Ohio. He’s been writing online for over 5 years now, and you can currently find more of his work at read/RANT and Comics Crux.
Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by New Harvest. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.