The Other Black Girl

Atria. Jun. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781982160135. $27. F
DEBUT As the only Black assistant editor at a prestigious New York publishing firm, Nella is initially excited when another Black woman, Hazel, is hired. At first, Nella and Hazel commiserate over the challenges of working in a predominately white space: constant microaggressions, misguided and ineffective diversity committees, and the need to placate their white colleagues. Hazel encourages Nella to speak up about a poorly written Black character in a forthcoming book by a blockbuster author, but when Nella begins receiving threatening notes and notices Hazel cozying up to their bosses, she begins to question whether Hazel is an ally. An underground movement—possibly connected to another Black woman editor who left the publishing firm and disappeared decades before—seems to have a part in these events, but it’s not clear how, or who’s on the same side.
VERDICT Part The Devil Wears Prada, part Get Out, Harris’s debut is suspenseful, riveting, and darkly funny, with a chilling ending that speaks a devastating truth. The setup to a surprising twist is introduced so deftly that the revelation comes as a delight, pushing the boundaries of the genre.
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