The It Girl: Book summary and reviews of The It Girl by Ruth Ware

The It Girl

by Ruth Ware

The It Girl by Ruth Ware X
The It Girl by Ruth Ware
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  • Published Jul 2022
    432 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the "claustrophobic spine-tingler" (People) One by One returns with an unputdownable mystery following a woman on the search for answers a decade after her friend's murder.

April Clarke-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.

Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the year, April was dead.

Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah's world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April's death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.

"The Agatha Christie of our generation" (David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author) proves once again that she is "as ingenious and indefatigable as the Queen of Crime" (the Washington Post) with this propulsive murder mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This exceptional psychological thriller from Ware probes how much one can trust others—and one's self...Alternating past and present chapters build toward a gripping denouement as nicely chosen details bring each character vividly to life. This showcases Ware's gifts to the fullest." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Ware develops both the reader's doubts about and concern for Hannah as the suspense builds gradually under a masterful barrage of red herrings...Riveting." - Booklist (starred review)

"[T]his isn't the breathless page-turner one has come to expect from Ware. Delightfully readable fiction, but the mystery disappoints." - Kirkus Reviews

"Every Ruth Ware novel is a unique and unexpected gem and this one is no exception. A heady, tense, slowburn dream of a book, multi-layered and steeped in atmosphere and peril. I loved every page." - Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone

This information about The It Girl was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

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Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

A gripping thriller.
4.5?s
The It Girl is the seventh novel by best-selling British author, Ruth Ware. When Hannah Jones arrives at Pelham College in October 2011 to begin her three years at Oxford, the last thing she expects is to be part of a group of six funny, clever students, but sharing a suite with intimidatingly beautiful and conspicuously wealthy April Clarke-Cliveden turns out to confer automatic acceptance.

“Now, as she stood there, her head spinning a little from the champagne she had drunk, she had the strangest feeling— almost as if she were surveying herself from a distance, marveling at the fact that she— Hannah Jones—had found herself surrounded by these exotic, clever, glamorous creatures.”

About the only fly in the ointment is that the guy who renders her weak at the knees, Will de Chastaigne, hooks up with April. None of them could ever have predicted that, less than a year later, April would be strangled to death. And Hannah would find her body.

Ten years on, Hannah and Will are expecting their first baby. Will is working crazy hours, trying to make full partner: they’re gong to need the income when Hannah has to give up her bookshop job. The nightmares and PTSD have finally decreased to manageable levels. Hannah has always felt guilty, both for surviving when April didn’t, and living the life April should have been living, with the husband she should have had, and now the baby she could have had.

Then, the news that the man convicted of April’s murder on Hannah’s evidence has died in prison. John Neville was absolutely resolute from the trial onward that he had nothing to do with her death and mounted several unsuccessful appeals. Will his death finally put an end to the media circus, the emails and calls that surround every appeal?

It seems that journalist Geraint Williams wants to look further into claims that the police and the court got it wrong, and his words have Hannah wondering, as do remarks made about the whole awful incident by others in that close group who re-establish contact: did she get it wrong? Did she put an innocent man into prison?

Hannah recalls that while brilliant, luminously beautiful April could be charming, beguiling and kind, she also had a malicious streak, revelling in cruel pranks, and what Hannah now learns from those friends has her guessing and second-guessing about who might have had motive and opportunity, other than John Neville.

Ware has crafted a dual-timeline mystery that is hard to put down: plenty of clues and red herrings and a brilliant twist to distract the reader in the lead-up to a nail-biting climax. It does lose half a star for a poorly-researched factual error that is integral to the resolution, but the Oxford scenes cannot fail to strike a chord with anyone who has lived in the residential college of a long-established university. A gripping thriller.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia.

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Author Information

Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language, and a press officer before settling down as a full-time writer. She now lives with her family in Sussex, on the south coast of England. She is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail (Toronto) bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood; The Woman in Cabin 10; The Lying Game; The Death of Mrs. Westaway; The Turn of the Key; One by One; and The It Girl.

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