AD • I received a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and opinions are entirely my own.
Hello! It’s Wednesday and it’s time for a brand new book review! This week I’m talking about an exciting debut that’s both a thriller AND a satire. It’s a book that’s going to get a lot of buzz over the next few months. And I loved it so much. After reading that final page, I was left speechless. It’s so great. So without any further ado, here’s my review of The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris.
Many thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Other Black Girl
by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date of Publication: 1st June 2021
Format: eBook (354 pages)
Get Out meets The Stepford Wives in this electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.
A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.
Racism, abduction, involuntary drug use
This spectacular debut was extremely thrilling. It had me on edge from the first page to the last. I wasn’t sure who or what to trust which is exactly what you want in a thriller. The writing flows seamlessly making it easy to lose yourself within its pages for hours at a time. And while there are a lot of POVs which I normally find jarring, I found that this structure only added to the tension, constantly making you wonder what’s going to happen next, why and to whom.
In addition to being a tense workplace thriller, The Other Black Girl presents an interesting perspective on race and white privilege within publishing and workplaces in general.
The publishing industry perspective is important because the space is still largely dominated by whiteness. Authors of colour have to work harder to prove their worth and that there is both space for and interest in their work. There is still a preference towards publishing “timely” content that centres the pain and hardships of people of colour. And white authors, sadly, continue to get away with perpetuating harmful racist stereotypes which is something that main character, Nella, addresses in her workplace which backfires against her.
Nella is a fantastic character – strong willed and determined, even when her instincts tell her that she’s in danger. I warmed to her quickly and really enjoyed her development over the course of the story.
While I can’t praise this book highly enough, I do have some thoughts as to what would have improved my reading experience. I would have liked to see more of Kendra’s POV and backstory as I was really interested in that storyline. And likewise, there’s this character called Lynn who’s pretty major but spends most of her time off-page which was disappointing. I would have liked to see more from her, both on-page and from her perspective.
Overall, this is a gripping thriller that I suspect will be a huge hit this summer so get your pre-orders in!
Read This If You…
- Enjoy a good thriller novel
- Like genre-blending fiction
- Want to read something that’s more literary and satirical while still being a WILD ride
- Need a new beach read for Summer 2021
Thank you so much to the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this one. The Other Black Girl is one of my favourite reads of the year so far and honestly, it’s just so so good.
Will you be reading The Other Black Girl? Let me know your thoughts below.