The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris – Review

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Series: N/A
Publisher: Atria Books
Published June 1st 2021
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Drama
Pages: 357
Format: Hardback
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

Get Out meets The Stepford Wives in this electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.

Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.

It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.

A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.

Nella Rogers is a 26 year-old editorial assistant at Wagner Books, and the only black girl working there. As a beginner she was an eager and bold worker with ideas on how to promote diversity and wanting to do big changes in the publishing world for black authors and readers. Especially when this was the publisher that published her fav book by a black author, so it’s the best place to start change, right? After 10 years and attempts to campaign diversity not being met with kind eyes, she turned into a more subdued person more worried into not losing her job and stepping lightly around microaggressions and other problems. But after a black newcomer named Hazel starts working in the office, things seem to start changing. And after Nella receives a note saying “Leave Wagner. Now” … nothing good can come from that.

This felt very different from all thrillers I’ve read so far, more like a mystery drama really. It’s definitely gripping and for me, on the heavier side. It’s set in a cut-throat or in a way, even toxic job. From the very beginning it’s not an easy read and it feels sadly too much like real life.

It talks about microaggressions at Wagner Books, white privilege, class status and how difficult it can be to navigate the social side of a work place. I could definitely connect with a lot of what was going on. Being an immigrant myself in a job where the majority isn’t feels a lot like being one of the two black girls at her office. The feeling of being overlooked even tho trying to do more than what should be necessary for any other person, or feeling manipulated due to a language barrier, color or different costumes is all too real. I love how much this book addressed the lack of diversity and overall work environment in such a hard-felt way!

I also really like to see how the publishing world works, seems like an interesting job and previously knowing nothing about it it was interesting to read about it.

Although I must say, the note the mc received? I would have told someone like my family or my boss, especially when they continue. It’s bad enough to receive something like that but to be continuous? I would go nuts and obsessive trying to understand, who, why, when, what the hell is going on. It would definitely affect my job preformance especially keeping it pretty much for myself. But seeing the end of the novel – kinda understand her side too… Even tho I wasn’t a big fan of the twist >.< It was definitely a BIG surprise!

I’m starting to love slow burning thrillers/mysteries, they just feel a lot more realistic for me. This was a read I would consider important, one I wish more people would read and I can’t wait to read more from the author!

What did you think of it? Have you read it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!

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