Book Review | The It Girl

This was a book club pick and my first book from this author.

The It Girl
Ruth Ware

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… | Goodreads | Amazon

It has been a while since I have read a crime mystery book and I was looking forward to getting into a proper whodunnit and pretending like I might be able to figure out who the culprit was, The It Girl definitely ticked the box. It is told in two timelines, before, with April, Hannah, and their friends at Oxford University showing us the events leading up to April’s death, and after, with Hannah and Will in Edinburgh expecting their first child and trying to live their lives with this event still hanging over them. 

I loved both the timelines, sometimes I feel like I am drawn more to one and can’t wait to get back to it, but I enjoyed the build-up of both before and after. It was interesting getting to know April as she was, seeing how the group of friends were with each other, and then seeing the aftermath, what Hannah has to go through every time the story becomes newsworthy again and how drastically her life has changed. It added to the sense of unease in the story because you know something bad is going to happen in the before but don’t know when and you can feel that something bad is going to happen in the after as Hannah decides to look deeper into what happened.

Something I really liked about this book was the characters and how realistic they were, the relationships in Oxford that start more as a convenience and how the group has varying degrees of friendship but still stick together. I enjoyed the dual view we got of some of the characters and how they differ from adolescent to adult, how their perspective on life has changed following the event and just from life in general. Of course, this was the most interesting in the case of April, after her death she is treated like everyone’s favourite friend by the media and even to those that don’t know her well she has a persona that she lives up to, but we get to see how brilliant and flawed she actually is.

I would say that this is more of an easy reading mystery, if you are looking for a seat of your pants, one more chapter until the little hours of the morning thriller then this isn’t that book. I was invested in the characters and I wanted to know what happened to April but it wasn’t the kind of consuming thriller I had expected, it was a little more slow burn. I don’t think that’s a bad thing though because I really enjoyed it as it was I just wonder if maybe that expectation would feel disappointing for other readers. 

Another thing that was fantastic in this book is that I was kept guessing the whole time, I had my suspicions about who I thought it might be but they were proved entirely wrong, and this happened more than once. This is down to some fantastic writing, a clever plot, and wonderfully complex characters each with a reasonable motivation.

This is the first book that I have read by this author but I am already excited to read some of her other books.

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