The Other Black Girl

by Harris, Zakiya Dalila

Format: Kindle Book 2021
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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.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "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."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Harris debuts with a dazzling, darkly humorous story about the publishing industry and the challenges faced by a Black employee. Nella Rogers, an overworked editorial assistant, navigates white privilege and microaggressions as the only Black person in her department at New York City trade publisher Wagner Books. That is until the arrival of chic Hazel-May McCall. Nella withstands being mistaken for Hazel, "the Other Black Girl," and reviewing a problematic manuscript written by a bestselling white author with horribly one-dimensional depictions of a Black single mom. Many of the company's higher-ups have the trappings of material success (Ivy League pedigrees, renovated summer homes), and their attempts to cultivate diversity fall flat, notably with the publisher's "Diversity Town Halls" and its sheepish attempts to deal with racism ("the elephant in the room," Harris writes, "No one really knew what the elephant was. Or where the elephant was"). When Nella receives an anonymous note reading "Leave Wagner. Now," her hopes for a career at the company begin to crumble. Meanwhile, Hazel, seemingly undeterred by office politics, is not the ally she appears to be. While the novel overflows with witty dialogue and skillfully drawn characters, its biggest strength lies in its penetrating critique of gatekeeping in the publishing industry and the deleterious effects it can have on Black editors. This insightful, spellbinding book packs a heavy punch. Agent: Stephanie Delman, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (June)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Literature
African American Fiction
Publisher Atria Books2021
Language English
ISBN 9781982160159