Saturday, July 9, 2022

The It Girl

The It Girl by Ruth Ware
7/12/22; 432 pages
Gallery/Scout Press

The It Girl by Ruth Ware is a very highly recommended, outstanding psychological mystery/thriller that begs you to consider how much can you trust others as well as yourself?

Hannah Jones’s Oxford University roommate, April Clarke-Cliveden, has it all. April is beautiful, wealthy, and sophisticated. She is the ultimate "It" girl, so Hannah is thrilled when the two immediately become best friends. Hannah becomes part of a close group of friends including April, Emily, Ryan, Hugh, and Will. What she could never portend is that April would be dead before the end of the year. This event changed the entire course of Hannah's life.

Ten years later, Hannah and Will are married, living in Edinburgh, and expecting their first child. The man who was convicted of killing April, Oxford Porter John Neville, has just died in prison. His death brings the trauma a decade earlier to the forefront again along with reporters and media contacting Hannah. When one young journalist who is a friend of Ryan presents some new evidence that suggests Neville might have been innocent, Hannah, whose testimony sent Neville to prison, begins to question what she believed to be true about April's murder.

The plot unfolds through Hannah's point-of-view in alternating "before" and "after" chapters. The "before" chapters follow Hannah's arrival at Oxford, her socializing with her friends, and memories of Oxford leading up to April's murder. We meet the group of friends, see their personalities, and observe their interactions with each other through Hannah's eyes. "After" chapters follow Hannah in the present day, her life with Will, her pregnancy, and the growing doubts concerning what she thought was true. She becomes obsessed with trying to uncover what really happened to April.

The It Girl is very well-written, intriguing, captivating, and utterly compelling. I was engaged from beginning to end in this even paced novel. Ware provides details that bring to life the characters and settings. The alternating timelines work remarkably well in the narrative and help to gradually create even more suspense and tension. Every one is a suspect at one time or another as Hannah tries to figure out what happened and if her observations were accurate. I was engrossed right up to the denouement, which was a shocking surprise.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Gallery/Scout Press.

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