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The Other Black Girl
Cover of The Other Black Girl
The Other Black Girl
A Novel
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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A Good Morning America, Esquire, and Read with Marie Claire Book Club Pick and a People Best Book of Summer Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Time, The...
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A Good Morning America, Esquire, and Read with Marie Claire Book Club Pick and a People Best Book of Summer Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Time, The...
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  • INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    A Good Morning America, Esquire, and Read with Marie Claire Book Club Pick and a People Best Book of Summer

    Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Time, The Washington Post, Harper's Bazaar, Entertainment Weekly, Marie Claire, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Parade, Goodreads, Fortune, and BBC

    ​Urgent, propulsive, and sharp as a knife, The Other Black Girl is an electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.
    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.

About the Author-

  • Zakiya Dalila Harris spent nearly three years in editorial at Knopf/Doubleday before leaving to write her debut novel The Other Black Girl. Prior to working in publishing, Zakiya received her MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in Cosmopolitan, Guernica, and The Rumpus. She lives in Brooklyn.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    January 1, 2021

    Fed up with being the only Black employee at Wagner Books, editorial assistant Nella Rogers is cheered when another young Black woman is finally hired. Soon, though, Hazel is overshadowing Nella, but even worse are the notes on Nella's desk saying "LEAVE WAGNER. NOW." A big-buzzing, thriller-edged literary debut; with a 150,000-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2021
    In Harris' slyly brilliant debut, a young editorial assistant is thrilled when her glaringly White employer hires another Black woman--but it soon becomes clear there's something sinister about the new girl, who isn't what she seems. Young, literary, and ambitious, Nella Rogers has spent the last two years as an editorial assistant at Wagner Books, a premier New York City publishing house, where, for the entirety of her (somewhat stalled) tenure, she's been the only Black person in the room. How she feels about this depends on the day--for all her frustrations, she can't help but be a little proud of her outsider status--but still, she's excited when she detects another Black girl on her floor: finally, someone else who gets it. And she does, at first. Wagner's newest editorial assistant, Hazel-May McCall, cool and self-possessed, is quick to befriend Nella, echoing her frustrations with the never-spoken racial politics of their office, encouraging her to speak up. But it doesn't take long for Nella to realize there's something off about Hazel, even if she can't quite put her finger on it. There's something weird about how easily she fits in among the higher-ups at Wagner, about the way she's instantly and universally beloved by top editors, the way her story--born in Harlem, daughter of civil rights activists, a grandfather who died protesting--exactly matches their ideas about Blackness in a way that Nella's middle-class suburban childhood never will. And then, shortly after Hazel's arrival, the first anonymous note arrives on Nella's desk: "Leave Wagner Now." Hazel? And if not Hazel, then who? Nella begins searching for answers--and in the process, finds herself at the center of a dangerous conspiracy that runs far deeper than she ever could have known. If it sounds like a moralistic sledgehammer of a novel--well, it would be if Harris were any less good. In her hands, though, it's a nuanced page-turner, as sharp as it is fun. A biting social satire-cum-thriller; dark, playful, and brimming with life.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    April 1, 2021
    Nella Rogers lives on high alert as a young Black woman in a very white publishing company, where she is underpaid and desperate to make an impression. All her life she's lived with the reality that "we have to work twice as hard, always," feeling like an outsider in both white and Black worlds. When "the other Black girl," Hazel-May McCall, starts at the company, Nella is relieved to have a co-worker who gets it; she even gains the confidence to confront a white author about the racist portrayal of the only Black character in his book. The aftermath of the confrontation sets Nella wondering whether Hazel really has her back, and anonymous notes telling Nella to leave the company fuel her growing unease. Racist behavior in the workplace, white colleagues' awkward attempts to pretend it doesn't exist, and the exhaustion of being Black in white spaces are all encapsulated in a pitch-perfect way by Harris, whose introspective Nella will stay with readers. The story takes a fantastical turn that doesn't land quite as well as the office-politics aspect of the tale, but, still, this compelling debut thriller will be in demand; a must for public libraries.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2021

    Gr 9 Up-As the only Black employee at Wagner Books, 26-year-old Nella Rogers has always felt alone in her workplace, trying and failing at every attempt to bring greater awareness to the publishing house where she is an editorial assistant. When Hazel, a Black girl from Harlem who initially offers similar thoughts on a troublesome manuscript, appears, it feels to Nella like a leap forward, until Hazel begins following the company line and Nella starts receiving notes threatening her to leave Wagner. The story starts slowly but builds quickly as Nella tries to figure out who is leaving her the notes, while watching Hazel become the office's star. This main story line is interrupted with historical segments that, while occasionally referencing figures who might not be familiar to readers, illustrates an industry where tokenism remains all too common. VERDICT A debut novel that provides a look at what it can be like to face insurmountable obstacles in the workplace and a narrative that continues to build to a satisfactory and surprising conclusion. A good choice for general purchase.-Betsy Fraser, Calgary P.L., Canada

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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