The It Girl by Ruth Ware Book Review
The It Girl by Ruth Ware
Published July 2022; 420 pages
First Sentence: "Afterwards, it was the door she would remember. It was open, she kept saying to the police. I should have known something was wrong."
Not a particularly unique plot - Hannah, an unsophisticated girl from working class family goes off to college and is roommate to a wealthy, gorgeous, manipulative girl. They become best friends and part of a close knit circle that revolves around April, the "it" girl. You know the character type - she has it all and flaunts it and creates all the push/pull within the group of friends. In their last year of school, April is shockingly murdered, Hannah's testimony puts a man behind bars and the group of friends go about their lives.
However, Hannah can't quite let it all go and is tormented by the memories of finding April dead in their apartment. Events occur that push her to question all the events from years ago and as she reconnects with friends and probes their memories, a different scenario starts to appear. Then, another one. Then......
Typical of this trope, there are plenty of red herrings as discoveries lead Hannah to suspect various people through her 'investigation'. The story alternates between current day when Hannah is trying to figure out the truth of that night and the college days as it explores the dynamics between the friends. There really aren't THAT many suspects, and I had an idea who was likely the culprit. BUT, a few twists at the end and an ending I didn't expect made for a strong wrap up to the story (though a touch improbable :)).
The It Girl is half a dark academia story - the part that takes place at college (Oxford). The current day is where the tension begins to build as Hannah starts doubting her memories. I really enjoyed the characters of Hannah and April. Though their personalities were kind of stereotypical for the genre, they were well defined and believable.
To be honest, I felt like the whole middle part of the current day timeline was too drawn out - too much of Hannah waffling about what she should do and who she should question. At least she was honest with her husband and told him each step (I hate stories where all this drama happens because the couple don't talk to each other!). The story certainly lagged a bit through the middle but then picked up again toward the end.
The only other Ruth Ware I've read is The Death of Mrs. Westaway and I wasn't a fan; it was too full of angst for me. But I wanted to give Ware another chance, and I'm glad I did. This was much more entertaining. I recommend it if you like a split timeline thriller or a good old mystery.
Cloak & Dagger: 5/36+
Mt. TBR (virtual): 2/24
Library Love: 4/70
Storygraph Mysteries: 2/26 prompts
COYER 1st semester: 8 books read