Title: The It Girl
Author: Ruth Ware
Published: August 3rd 2022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 5 stars
Everyone wanted her life
Someone wanted her dead
It was Hannah who found April’s body ten years ago.
It was Hannah who didn’t question what she saw that day.
Did her testimony put an innocent man in prison?
She needs to know the truth.
Even if it means questioning her own friends.
Even if it means putting her own life at risk.
Because if the killer wasn’t a stranger, it’s someone she knows…
I consider Ruth Ware to be one of my favourite authors in the psychological thriller and mystery genre. Naturally, when an opportunity came my way to review Ware’s latest book, I snapped it up. The It Girl is Ware’s seventh novel and it is an absolutely golden title. I am very happy to declare Ruth’s Ware’s hot new release is a contender for my thriller of the year.
Ruth Ware’s latest release follows Hannah Jones, in the present as a mother-to-be and in the past as a student at Oxford. In the past segment of this tale, we witness Hannah form a close bond with fellow student April Clarke-Cliveden, a rich society girl and an early Instagram influencer. It doesn’t take long for Hannah to fall for April’s tricks and charms, along with most of April’s peers at the college they both attend. Soon Hannah and April are surrounded by a close posse of friends who help both girls to settle into Oxford life. However, a tragic incident occurs in the second term of Hannah’s tenure at the renowned college. April’s death continues to haunt Hannah, a decade after her passing. In the present-day Hannah has tried her best to move on from her traumatic college experience. Now married and expecting her first child, Hannah is once again rocked by events in the past. This is compounded when the convicted perpetrator of April’s murder dies in prison claiming his innocence. When an ambitious journalist gets in touch with Hannah regarding a podcast he hopes to compile on April, Hannah must reconnect with the trauma of her past. Hannah begins to question everything she thought she knew about April’s murder. Will the truth finally be revealed?
British author Ruth Ware has been dazzling me since early 2017 with her stellar murder mystery titles. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed all of Ruth Ware’s previous books. I was beyond excited to get my hands on a copy of The It Girl, the hot new release from this Sussex based author. I am pleased to say that The It Girl delivered in bucketloads, it is now second my favourite Ruth Ware novel, with The Turn of the Key still retaining its spot as my number one Ware title.
Ware draws on an addictive before and after style dual timeline narrative to relay the events of her novel. I know I felt the pages literally melt away thanks to this consuming format. We follow the same core character, Hannah Jones in the present as a soon-to-be mum and in the past as a first-year college student. Hannah was a character that I felt sympathy and understanding for but I was also a little suspicious of her. Hannah is not cast as an unreliable narrator, but there was something just a tad off about her so my guard was raised. Supporting Hannah are a bold bunch of side protagonists, mostly from her time at Oxford in the past. We are also acquainted with the titular character April Clarke-Cliveden, who epitomises the ‘it girl’ status she has been granted with. Ware does an excellent job illuminating April for the reader. Via Hannah’s engrossing viewpoint we witness the lead up to April’s tragic demise and the impact April’s death had on many individuals for years to come. Pulling in perspectives from April’s family members and the dogged journalist re-opening April’s questionable murder plumps up this novel further, making it an utterly bingeworthy read.
Ware is the absolute master of the modern Agatha Christie style whodunnit formula. I could see a big line up of possible suspects in regards to April’s murder, which was fantastic for this amateur sleuth! With plenty of red herrings, plot blocks, narrative deviations, a thick shroud of suspense and a short chapter format, Ware knows how to keep her readers guessing. The pace was the winner for me, as were the plot twists and turns that I didn’t expect. The dialogue and relationships help to expand upon this murder mystery and questionable murder charge case, so that everything becomes a possible clue to the final reveal. And when that final curtain came, I couldn’t believe the outcome – it was right under my nose the whole time!
A story that is built on trust, deception, perception and time, The It Girl is an above five star read for me! You just have to pick this one up – now!
The It Girl by Ruth Ware was published on 3rd August 2022 by Simon & Schuster. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The It Girl, Ruth Ware, here.
*I wish to thank Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.