Riding High in April

Inside the rising tech microcosms of Seoul, Singapore, Japan, and India, far from the mendacity of Silicon Valley, a serial tech entrepreneur pursues a last-ditch attempt to build something great: COMPASS, an open-source network platform that Microsoft has labeled “reckless.” At stake are his reputation, his dwindling bank account, and his fifteen-year relationship with the only woman he’s ever loved—a woman in the midst of reckoning with who she is and what really matters to her in the face of the narcissism and destructiveness of the technology world. She shows up in Seoul in a big, bold move to be with him—only to find that living in Asia reshapes her in intangible, unexpected ways.

Taut and richly layered, Riding High in April is a powerful evocation of our contemporary tech moment, a revealing exploration of resilience and the pursuit of something unattainable, and a moving story of love, friendship, and letting go.


“Books to Read Based on Shows You Binge-Watch”―Women.com
“Fifteen New Books to Read on Your Summer Vacation” — Brit & Co. 
“A Running List of the Best Books of 2021” —PopSugar
“Bookclub picks of Fall 2021” —SheReads
“12 New Fiction Must-Reads your Bookclub with Love”—Frolic


“Riding High in April captures the aspirational side of Silicon Valley, with all of its foibles and quirks. Jackie Townsend conveys the hope and spirit of the people who build new technologies. Timely, supremely relevant, and a great read.” ——Dan Lyons, New York Times Bestselling author of Disrupted: My Misadventures in the Start-Up Bubble.
“A tale of global migrants and spanning Silicon Valley, South Korea, Japan, and India, Riding High in April reminds us how international and connected our world of hi-tech is, yet at the heart of technological breakthroughs are the complex human connections that endure. Jackie Townsend skillfully captures the quest for invention and the precision of technology―’Ones and zeros don’t lie. Technology is the essence of truth’―softened by hidden motivations and the journey of the heart.” ―Rajika Bhandari, Ph.D., author of America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility.
“Riding High in April captures that sense of riding the tech razor’s edge, of an aspirational yearning where the constant chase for success never quite satisfies. Point perfect on the tech lingo, the dialog is taut and realistic, while the storytelling, set across Asia, has an almost otherworldly quality to it. Realistic, authentic, and thought-provoking.” ——Lainey Cameron #1 Amazon Best Seller & Award-Winning author of The Exit Strategy. 
“Townsend vividly depicts the singular cultural ethos of the tech world―that peculiar combination of microscopically diligent engineering and dreamy aspiration―and deftly dissects its global variations…”
Kirkus Reviews
“Both a love story and an examination of the tech industry, Riding High in April by Jackie Townsend is a remarkable tale of the cost of innovation. When a man moves to Asia to fulfill his dreams of creating the ultimate open-source network platform, the woman he loves follows him, only to realize her life is entirely different on the other side of the world.” —PopSugar