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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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    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 (3360)
All (3360)
Love (1018)
Like (1741)
Dislike (601)
3406 ratings
  • 30% Love
  • 51% Like
  • 18% Dislike
  • Bellefonte, PA

    Smart and original, this made me think. I thought the commentary on workplace politics, microaggressions, white fragility, the weight of racial trauma, and white supremacy was so clever and creative.

  • 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.

  • Philadelphia, PA

    2 days later and still the characters are with me. Brought back so many memories of working in an environment where your the only Black person and what happens when another Black person join you.

  • Tampa, FL

    The plot twist at the end of this was so unexpected! I loved reading about the world of race + books being made. A light read, but politically powerful, this one has stayed with me. Recommend!

  • Arlington , TX

    Not the book to read when you're in a gaslighting/backstabbing work situation but I loved it anyway. It was a slow burn though, and it didn't really all come together until the last 1/3 or so.

  • 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.

  • Brooklyn, NY

    It starts off so mysterious and then so everyday you don’t notice at first the tension inching up page by page. Funny and thoughtful and honest, definitely one of my faves this year.

  • 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.

  • San Diego, CA

    I loved this book because it touched on so many socio-political issues. It covered colorism, privilege, assimilation and identity. I really loved all the twists throughout.

  • Cameron , NC

    This was a great read! I enjoyed the characters and trying to figure out what was really going on. I couldn't put this book down! Looking forward to more from this author.

  • 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.

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