The Other Black Girl

A hardback copy of the book "The Other Black Girl" by Zakiya Dalilia Harris lays on a bright yellow crochet shawl next to a black mug of tea resting on a navy blue crochet coaster.

The Other Black Girl

by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Published by: Atria Books
Publish Date: 2021
Genre(s): Fiction, Racism, BIPOC, Horror, Contemporary
HB&W Rating: 3.75
View on Goodreads
Buy on Amazon: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Synopsis

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 Girlwill keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.

Synopsis source: Goodreads

Review

That’s what I’d planned on doing all along. Smooth Kenny’s kinks out for a little, just long enough to make everyone happy so that everything could go back to normal.

This is a tough book for me to review. I am not and never have been a big fan of horror. I don’t watch creepy movies unless I lose a bet with HBW Hubby, and I love my HEAs. In fact, had I known that this book would end up being more horror than mystery/thriller, I don’t know if I would have read it, and I’m still unsure if I’m glad I did, purely for the creepy factor.

What I did like about this book is that it illustrates really well the microaggressions and white fragility people of color have to deal with and just how pervasive racism is. There was a whole scene that perfectly illustrated white fragility when Nella tried to have an honest conversation about a controversial character in a best-selling author’s new novel, like, wow. Just, wow.

I find it very interesting that the author chose to make the setting a publishing house. It’s definitely one area that is grossly underrepresented by people of color and it does a disservice to us all because it is that same myopic viewpoint that chooses what books get published and read by the masses. But I digress, back to the actual story.

I loved Nella for her struggle to both fit in and be authentic to herself, though Malaika was probably my favorite character. Her no-nonsense straight talk was my jam, but as Nella falls farther down the rabbit hole, we see less and less of her.

I wish we’d gotten more of Diana and Kenny’s POV, but as it stands, I felt like there was more of the story there that didn’t get told and I’m left debating what value their POVs added to the story. I thought the author could have given 3rd person background on them and been just as effective.

There are so many twists and turns in this book and they kept me guessing the whole way through, right up until the end. The story was a very original concept and totally gave me the Get Out meets Stepford vibes that it was touted as, but if horror isn’t your thing, you may want to reconsider this one. I just wish that certain storyline threads were tied off better with regards to Diana and Kenny.

Have you read this one? What did you think?

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Happy reading!


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