One of the most popular thriller authors is back. This time with an academia thriller set in Oxford. It’s been a decade since April Coutts-Cliveden’s murder and trial, but it still feels like yesterday to April’s roommate and best friend Hannah. Ten years of people hounding Hannah for more information and ten years since her eye witness testimony sent John Neville to prison. The hype around the murder and trial has only now started to die down, that is until John Neville dies in prison clinging to his innocence. His death sets off a chain reaction that will send Hannah looking for new answers to the same questions she’s been asking for ten years.
We have two timelines in this book but both are told from Hannah’s perspective. We have ‘Before’, which chronicles the events leading up to April’s murder, and ‘After’ which follows Hannah 10 years after the murder. I generally like these split timelines, but I found that as soon as one got moving and interesting, we switched to the other. I personally could have gone for a few less switches between the timelines, the constant switching made the story drag on, which is really my biggest complaint with the book.
Hannah, our main character, seems typical thriller novels. She lacks all confidence and even all these years later doesn’t seem to trust her own memories and while almost 30 in the after timeline, she seems way more naïve than that. The pregnancy pieces hit a bit to close to home for me at the moment, as I had a 3 month old while reading this. While nothing major happens on that front I just found that aspect of the story lackluster. I did enjoy most of the other characters though and found Emily and Ryan to be the best.
This one had some ‘The Maidens’ vibes in terms of the dark academic setting but more gripping and better written. As a note I hated The Maidens so take that as you will. The It Girl is entertaining and keeps you guessing but it’s long and seemed familiar. At around 430 pages, this one was just too long for me. If it would have been 50-100 pages shorter I would have enjoyed it more. 3.5 stars but rounding down to 3 simply for the length.
The It Girl, isn’t my favorite Ruth Ware novel but I did like it more than One by One. I will say that The Lying Game is still my favorite of her books even though most people tend to like that one least.
The It Girl comes out July 12, 2022! Huge thank you to Gallery/Scout Press for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof_books.
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