Author: Ruth Ware
Publisher: Gallery Books, Gallery/Scout Press
Date Published: July 12, 2022
I jumped over all the other books on my TBR pile to get to review The It Girl. Because…Ruth Ware, ya’ll!!
This is decidedly a departure from her earlier books, which had a more gothic, more locked room, Agatha Christie feel, so I had to check a couple of times that I was actually reading Ruth Ware. But with her skill for encompassing the time and atmosphere of a place, the author takes a sophisticated leap in the genre of psychological suspense. This is the tale of a young woman, Hannah, who feels out of her element but accepted by her peers at Oxford’s Pelham campus, mostly because her roommate April has taken her under her wing. But there’s an ick factor in a porter John Neville, who seems to always be lurking and saying inappropriate things. So, when April is killed, and Hannah is called as a witness, it’s her testimony that sends Neville to jail.
Ten years later, Neville has died in prison. Instead of feeling closure, Hannah is having doubts. And more than halfway through a pregnancy with April’s former boyfriend Will, Hannah decides to investigate, a move that will send her spiraling, placing her unborn baby at risk.
The characters are richly drawn, with all the nuances their personalities are built on. They all come from either a posh background, or from less well-off families, and feel the pressure to succeed. We see April’s vibrancy, and we mourn her loss along with Hannah and Will. We feel the toll her death has had on everyone in her circle of influence long after she’s gone, because she was the “It Girl,” the one who made everyone feel joy in her presence, even if they had been a recipient of one of her infamous pranks. Ware takes us on a wild ride, and masterfully brings us to the startling conclusion.
I am so glad that NetGalley and Gallery Books/Scout Press made my wishes come true with an advanced reader’s copy!
Thanks to @shyshkina on Unsplash for the background photo of Oxford University.