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Kyla Zhao Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Fraud Squad (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Valley Verified (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Children's Books

May the Best Player Win (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Kyla Zhao
Kyla Zhao was born and raised in Singapore, and she graduated in the year 2021 from Stanford University, with her MA in Communications (Media Studies) and a BA in Psychology.

Besides writing novels, Kyla also has an extensive magazine editorial portfolio. Previously, she was a lifestyle and fashion writer at Vogue Singapore. She’s also written for the Singapore editions of Tatler and Harper’s Bazaar, interviewed personalities like singer Nathan Sykes, and covered the Asian Television Awards. Her first magazine byline was for Harper’s when she was just 16 years old, giving brides to be advice on luxury wedding preparation.

Writing for magazines meant changing your writer’s voice to suit the vibe of the magazine, since at the end of the day, you’re writing for the magazine brand and not just for yourself. It also feels a lot like a sprint compared to the marathon which is writing a novel. She was writing a magazine article each day during her work experiences, yet she’ll spend years writing and editing just one novel.

Above all else, she hopes to champion Asian representation in her work and write the characters of color that she so very rarely got to read about when she was young.

Kyla still wants to try and understand why Californians adore Patagonia fleeces and hiking so much.

For “The Fraud Squad”, it felt like it just flew on by in the blink of an eye, yet it still took 2 and a half years from writing the first word down to her novel actually coming out. In her final year as a university student, she signed with such an amazing agent. And just one day before her 23rd birthday, she sent Kyla’s novel off to publishers, which felt like the start of this new chapter of her life.

She was fortunate that multiple publishers were interested in buying the novel, so her agent set this auction up where everybody could send in their best bid. Ultimately, Kyla went with Berkley (a Penguin Random House imprint) since they have such an excellent track record for novels written by writers of color and that star characters of color. She lucked out with such an incredible publishing team.

Each of her novels are inspired to certain extents by her own experiences at various stages of her life.

“The Fraud Squad” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2023. One working class woman that infiltrates Singapore’s high society in order to fulfill her dreams risks losing everything in the process, including herself, in this propulsive novel.

Samantha Song, for as long as she can recall, has dreamed about writing for a high society magazine, and she would do anything she had to in order to get there. However the constant struggle to help out her mom making ends meet and her low social status cause her dream to feel merely like some distant fantasy.

Now she finds she’s working at some drab PR firm. Living vicariously through Anya Chen (her pretty wealthy friend and coworker), is the closest that she will get to her ideal life. Up until she meets Timothy Kingston, who is the disillusioned son of one of the elite families from Singapore, and Samantha’s only chance at infiltrating the high society world that she desperately wants to belong in.

Anya and Timothy, much to Samantha’s surprise, each agree to help her make a name for herself on Singapore’s socialite scene. However the borrowed designer clothes and plus-ones to every glamorous event are just able to get her so far. The rest is on Samantha’s shoulders, and she is determined to impress the editor-in-chief of the poshest magazine in Singapore. However the deeper that Samantha continues wading into this fraud, the more that she fears getting exposed, especially with this mysterious gossip columnist out on the prowl for dirt, which forces her to reconcile her pretense with who she truly is before she loses all of it.

This is the perfect debut, filled with high society hijinks, high stakes, and all the joys that come with finding yourself. Kyla delivers an immersive, exquisitely fun, and cinematic unputdownable first novel which will transport you right into the lavish world of Singaporean high society. There’s an irresistibly relatable heroine and rather vibrant cast of characters, and introduces a daring and delightful new voice in Kyla Zhao.

“Valley Verified” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2024. A fashion writer dives into the cutthroat Silicon Valley tech world headfirst, her future threatens to unravel in this addictive novel.

Zoe Zeng has made it in New York’s fashion world, at least on paper. After a series of unpaid internships, she is now a fashion columnist at Chic, gets invited to exclusive industry events, and lives in a quaint apartment in Manhattan.

However life in New York City is not nearly as chic as Zoe had imagined. Her editor wants her to censor her opinions in order to please some bigger brands; she shares her “quaint” (more like small) apartment with three roommates that never let her store kimchi in the fridge, and how is she even supposed to afford the designer brands expected for those parties on such a meager salary?

Then this one day, she gets a job offer at FitPick, an app startup that is based in Silicon Valley. The office perks and tech salary are pretty sweet, however moving to the other side of the country and switching to a totally new industry? Not so very much. But with Zoe’s current career hitting a dead end, she accepts this offer and swaps haute couture for HTML and high fashion for high tech.

However she quickly realizes that in an industry that is claiming to change the world for the better, not everybody’s intentions are pure. With an eight-figure investment being on the line, she has to figure out a way to revamp the image of FitPick despite Silicon Valley’s elitism and her icy colleagues. Or the future of the company will go up in smoke, and hers along with it.

Kyla Zhao is a romance fiction novelist who is best known for her debut work of fiction “The Fraud Squad.”

The author was brought up in Singapore and it was in 2017 that she moved to California to attend college. In 2021, she graduated from Stanford University and has since been working in Silicon Valley.

Before all that. she used to work in fashion and was employed in the likes of Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue. Her experiences in the high society world and fashion were a huge inspiration in the writing of “The Fraud Squad” her debut novel.

It was not so surprising that she became an author given that she has loved books for years. Back when she was in elementary school, she used to belong to “The Bookworm Club,” which is an actual national organization in Singapore.

As such, the fact that she read so many books resulted in an itch to become a writer.

Before she published “The Fraud Squad,” she had only penned stories for magazines and as such found novel writing to be a particularly challenging and very different ballgame.

Ultimately, she managed to make a success of her endeavors when she got published in 2023.

The first work Kyla Zhao remembers coming into contact with was “Romance of the Three Kingdoms.”

While she never read the work, her father was a huge lover of Chinese history and used to tell her bits and pieces of the story every day, even if she was too young to appreciate or understand the epic saga.

For this reason, she credits her father with sowing the seed for what would become almost an obsession with Chinese historical fiction.

However, the novel that made her very interested in becoming an author was Kevin Kwan’s “Crazy Rich Asians.” It happened to be the first novel that she read that had a vibrant story and Asians in the lead roles.

As such, when she was struggling with being all alone while the pandemic raged in 2020 at a time when anti-Asian racism was particularly high, these were the types of books that she read.

She wanted to read all manner of escapist and light books similar to “Crazy Rich Asians” but since there was a dearth of such books, she decided to pen her own works.

Aside from Kevin Kwan’s novel, She has also found inspiration in the amazingly crafted worlds of the “Percy Jackson” series.

Kyla Zhao began writing her debut novel “The Fraud Squad” while she was completing her senior year at Stanford.

Zhao was done with her first draft by the summer but it was riddled with plot holes since she was making up the story as she wrote.

Following about half a year of editing, she began looking for an agent and was eventually signed by the Creative Artists Agency.

One day before she turned 23, her agent sent her manuscript to publishers and she prayed fervently, hoping someone would show some interest.

She was fortunate that she got 9 offers which resulted in a book deal, exactly a year after she started writing her novel.

While she has been quite successful, Zhao still works a day job at a tech company in Silicon Valley analyzing data and crunching numbers, which she loves as it provides a nice contrast to being an author.

She now considers writing her five-nine job as she often starts writing as soon as the clock strikes five and does it up to nine on most days.

“The Fraud Squad” by Kyla Zhao tells the story of a working-class woman who manages to insert herself into the high society in Singapore, hoping to attain her dreams.

But in doing this she risks losing herself and everything she had achieved up to that point.

Samantha Song has always dreamed of being a writer for a high-society magazine and was determined to do everything in her power to get there.

However, her low social status and her struggle to earn some money to help out her mother make her dream feel like it is just a distant fantasy.

Samantha is now employed at a drab public relations firm and lives vicariously through Anya Chen her friend and wealthy coworker, who is living her ideal life.

But then she meets Timothy Kingston, who happens to be the disillusioned son of the wealthiest and most influential families in Singapore. He is from a very high society that she desperately wants to infiltrate and belong to.

To her surprise, Anya and Timothy agree to help her make it in the socialite scene in Singapore. But the plus ones and borrowed designer clothes can only get her so far.

But the more she gives in to the fraud, the more her fears of getting exposed begin to come out.

Kyla Zhao’s novel “Valley Verified” tells the story of Zoe Zeng, a fashion writer who dives deep into Silicon Valley with its cutthroat and very tumultuous nature.

On paper, she had been very successful working in fashion in New York. But following a string of unpaid internships, she has landed at “Chic” where she is a fashion columnist.

She makes her home in a small but beautiful apartment in Manhattan and often gets invites to exclusive industry events. However, life in New York is nothing like what she thought it would be.

Her editor forces her to censor herself when it comes to the big brands and she has to share her small apartment with two roommates who hate kimchi and will never let her store it in the fridge.

While she is paid a very meager salary, she is expected to attend exclusive parties in designer clothes.

But then she gets a job offer from an app startup named “FitPick” in Silicon Valley with some sweet office perks and a tech salary, even though she will have to switch to a totally new industry and move across the country.

Since her career is at a standstill, she accepts the offers and swaps haute couture for HTML, and high fashion for tech.

However, she soon discovers that in Silicon Valley not everyone has good intentions.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Kyla Zhao

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