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All booksContemporary fictionThe Other Black Girl
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Contemporary fiction

The Other Black Girl

Debut
We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Zakiya Dalila Harris, on your first book!

by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Quick take

A whip-smart, entertaining tale of one assistant's dawning realization that her dream job is anything but.

Good to know

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    Puzzle

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    Millennial

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    Book about books

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    Unsettling

Why I love it

Wanda Morris
Author, All Her Little Secrets

I am a sucker for a book with relatable characters, an inside peek into office culture, and a devilish twist, and The Other Black Girl did not disappoint. From Nella Rogers’s first whiff of cocoa butter wafting through the cubicles of Wagner Publishing, you know things are amiss in this whip-smart and stunning debut.

Nella is the only Black woman working in the editorial department of a NYC publishing house. Exhausted by the daily microaggressions and isolation, she is overjoyed when Harlem-born Hazel McCall joins the company. But just as they begin swapping natural hair care tips and boyfriend stories, mysterious and threatening notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk, warning her to leave Wagner Publishing. Is Hazel who she says she is? Who wants Nella to leave Wagner and why?

I devoured this book! I was hooked from the cleverly nuanced depiction of life as a Black woman in the predominantly white world of publishing to its sly social commentaries on racism and the need to be everything to everyone. I was immediately drawn in by Harris’s unsparing voice and her keen observations of what it takes to navigate that new and nebulous space called adulthood. Everything that makes this book so deliciously good are the same things that make it so heartbreakingly authentic—things like the toxicity of office politics and the searing angst of trying to fit in or whether you should make the effort at all.

Zakiya doesn’t miss a beat in this book, right up to the last mind-blowing twist!

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Synopsis

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.

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Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of The Other Black Girl.

Member thoughts

All (2379)
All (2379)
Love (755)
Like (1228)
Dislike (396)
2403 ratings
  • 31% Love
  • 51% Like
  • 16% Dislike
  • Elmhurst, IL

    A gripping, thought-provoking, powerful story about the way racism in the workplace takes advantage of women of color. Beautifully written and sobering. This should be required reading—outstanding!

  • Land O Lakes, FL

    I've heard that the author describes this book as The Devil Wears Prada meets Get Out. It's rare to see racism and white privilege explored in a slow burn literary thriller, but it definitely works.

  • Mount Rainier, MD

    A sobering novel outlining the many ways Black women must contort themselves to fit into white spaces in order to succeed. However, the story and characters fell a bit flat. Still a worthwhile read.

  • Melbourne , FL

    If you're looking for a great summer read, one that is fast-paced with interesting characters and a killer storyline, grab this book! You'll zoom through it while trying to keep up with the twists!

  • Euclid, OH

    Slow burner, but one hell of a clever book! What an interesting concept! Author did such a great job making me feel unsettled, just as the protagonist was throughout the book. And that ending...wow!

  • Oregon, WI

    Although I was thoroughly confused in the beginning of this book, the ending was very redeeming. It ended differently than I wanted it to end, which peaked my interest even more. Would read again.

  • Hudsonville, MI

    I was not ready for this book! Nella carries the weight of a Black woman working in the mostly white publishing industry. The ending takes an unforeseen and tragic twist. Super readable.

  • Durham , ME

    This book was dynamic and complicated in the best ways. I was pulled through the story by the engaging plot, but was confused by a twist in the end used to describe the ongoing mystery.

  • Dayton, OH

    Loved the pace of this story and the characters. It made me uncomfortable in the best way. We need more books like this that explain what it’s like to be Black in a white society.

  • Thomasville , GA

    I’m a sucker for a story that mixes a thriller and suspenseful story with cultural and characters that are not easy to forget or root for (or against). Well done debut!

  • Washington, DC

    The billing of "Get Out" meets the publishing world was such a good way to describe the uncanny in the novel. Tense, illuminating, and written with a twist ending. Loved.

  • Mineola, NY

    This was wild ya’ll! It really is Get out meets Stepford Wives. I love love reading this. The pacing was perfect and the final reveal was such an impact. Props!!!

  • Carrollton, TX

    What a fantastic debut. Hard to put this story in a dork if category, but I didn’t want to put it down. I had to know what was going to happen.

  • Watertown, SD

    The tension & cringe-worthy scenes kept me pulled into the story! The ending wasn't what I expected but could it be any other way?!?

  • Reno, NV

    Incisive, entertaining, powerful, relevant -- brilliant, surgical interrogation and take down of NYC publishing and systemic racism.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    This one will stick with me for a bit. Utterly fascinating, very creative. Eye opening. The ending is shocking and strong. 5 ⭐️

  • Milwaukee , WI

    GET OUT meets THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. Absolutely terrifying and really well done. Can't wait to see what comes next for this author.

  • Saginaw , MI

    Truly unlike anything I have read before, and I recommend it for that reason, but also for the perspective and amazing plot.

  • PITTSBURGH, PA

    This book was incredible! Hands down the best book I’ve read so far this year. Everyone should read this!

  • Paonia, CO

    I’m so happy BOTM picked this. It was a great read and felt subtly like a Jordan Peele movie in book form.

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