You know you’re in for a treat when you open a Ruth Ware thriller and The It Girl did not let me down! Told in two timeframes, when our lead character Hannah Jones was a 19 year old student at the prestigious Oxford University and 10 years later, when she’s forced to really reflect on the horrific event that has shaped her life… the murder of her best friend, April.
Opening sentence: Afterwards, it was the door she would remember.
Who is the It Girl?
Well… April Clarke-Cliveden. She was the ultimate It girl. Beauty, brains, money: she had it all. A charming and kind personality, not so much. Hannah is the opposite, she does not come from money and becomes close to April simply by fortune of them being roommates at (the fictional) Pelham College, Oxford, where they both study.
Why was April always like this? She was the perfect friend – until she wasn’t.
The wrong conclusion?
It was Hannah’s evidence that helped convict the university porter John Neville of April’s murder. He always protested his innocence and now, 10 years later, Hannah has reason to believe her memory of the murder might be false. She has to put the pieces together to find out what really happened.
While at Oxford, Hannah also made friends with Will, Emily, Hugh and Ryan, who all play a key part in the story, both 10 years ago and in the present day. You see, if Hannah is having doubts about John Neville, it points to someone else who was there, including her closest friends…
She has stopped running from the monsters. She has turned to face them. She wants the truth.
Hannah is really risking it all to find out who really murdered April. She is happy now, she’s pregnant, enjoys working at Tall Tales book shop and lives in Edinburgh with her husband, Will. Will who also happens to be April’s ex-boyfriend…
Unravelling the enigma
The It Girl uses its slightly longer page count to really develop the heart of the story and Hannah’s character. April is more of an enigma – she doesn’t have as much depth as Hannah but to me, that’s the point, she literally didn’t as a person, her and Hannah didn’t feel things the same way.
I get how April’s character might divide opinion and if you have no sympathy for the victim, do you care who murdered them? But for me, this story isn’t actually about April, it’s about Hannah and you do care very much about her finding out what really happened, to finally get some peace.
A clever, slow burning psychological thriller with more than a few jaw-dropping moments. I very much devoured The It Girl – a fantastic summer read!
- Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC;
- Get your copy of The It Girl here;
- Published by Simon & Schuster 3rd August 2022;
- 432 pages;
- My rating: