Thank you Atria Books and Net Galley for the digital ARC of The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris, in exchange for an honest review. #partner
The summer of 2021 is starting out with a bang for new releases. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris hits the stands 6/1. I found this one to be a total page turner. I often fell asleep reading my kindle in bed because I didn't want to put it down. The Other Black Girl is a blend of fictional genres with aspects of mystery, thriller, and social commentary. I had to figure out what the F was going on! The Other Black Girl delves into racism, microaggressions and office politics in the white dominated corporate world.
Nella has worked for Wagner Books for years. Slowly making her way up the corporate ladder with dreams to become an editor, yet she is no dummy to the obvious. She is one of the few POC working at Wagner and the only Black girl in the office, that is until Hazel arrives and flips her world on it's axis. Hazel is confident, brazen, the epitome of cool, and instantly befriends everyone in the office, including Wagner's quirky CEO. Within weeks, she is being asked to read manuscripts and work on edits, responsibilities that took Nella years to obtain. Soon after, Nella starts finding mysterious and semi-threatening notes on her desk and is extremely suspicious of Hazel's intentions at Wagner. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris is a novel about how whiteness dominates corporate culture, leaving Black and POC employees to work twice as hard just to get the scraps.
I went into The Other Black Girl thinking it would be a witty workplace novel, similar to The Devil Wears Prada. I didn't realize it is more of a thriller and completely overlooked the comparison to the movie Get Out. I was pleasantly surprised that this book was more of a semi-mystery novel with thriller vibes. I almost want to say this book is more comparable to When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole or the movie Get Out, than The Devil Wears Prada. The only comparison to TDWP in the sense that there is workplace drama/office politics, but focused around racism and microaggressions towards Black employees in the workplace.
This book is spot on with the current racial climate and the reckoning that needs to happen in the corporate world. The Other Black Girl reminded me in some ways of Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour, but with mystery/thriller aspects as opposed to comedic satire. Especially when the reader gets to the point of learning more about what is going on. I found myself quickly turning the pages to try and figure out what was going on at Wagner Books and why Nella was in the crosshairs. This all comes together in the final chapters and I think the author did a great job creating chapter cliffhangers to keep the reader hooked.
I will say, this book left me with many unanswered questions and the ending left me hanging. That is what keeps me in the 3.5 star rating. Don't let that influence you to not read this book, because I thought it was a page turner and loved the concept, just thought there were some plot holes IMO. I would love to chat about the ending with anyone who reads this book, because I am still a bit confused.
"In that moment, it didn't matter that her new coworker had single-handedly discovered how to turn the status quo upside down in just a month. Nor did it matter that Hazel had found a way to open the door for other people of color at Wagner. All Nella could think was that she felt redundant. Utterly, and painfully, redundant."