The It Girl

The It Girl

by Ruth Ware

Narrated by Imogen Church

Unabridged — 17 hours, 9 minutes

The It Girl

The It Girl

by Ruth Ware

Narrated by Imogen Church

Unabridged — 17 hours, 9 minutes

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

Ruth Ware stopped us in our tracks with her 2015 debut In a Dark, Dark Wood. We’ve followed her step by step as if moving through foggy landscape. And now we’ve arrived at the door to her seventh book, The It Girl. Please knock. She’s expecting us. Dun, dun, duuun!

“The pages turn themselves” (People) in this white-knuckled mystery following a woman on the search for answers a decade after her friend's murder from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ware.

April Clarke-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.

Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends-Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily-during their first term. By the end of the year, April was dead.

Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah's world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April's death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide...including a murder.

“The Agatha Christie of our generation” (David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author) presents a “deliciously dark and utterly addictive” (Lucy Foley, New York Times bestselling author) mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 05/09/2022

This exceptional psychological thriller from Ware (One by One) probes how much one can trust others—and one’s self. Hannah Jones’s Oxford University roommate, April Clarke-Cliveden, is everything Hannah isn’t: wealthy, sophisticated, sexually adventurous, and occasionally cruel. The two become best friends despite their differences and the unspoken attraction between Hannah and April’s boyfriend, Will. Moments after Hannah sees college porter John Neville leaving their residence building, she finds April strangled. Though Neville is later convicted of the murder, the crime, trial, and subsequent media furor upend Hannah’s life. Ten years later, she’s living in Edinburgh, married to Will, and pregnant. Days after Neville dies in prison, a journalist emails her with evidence that calls the porter’s guilt into doubt. Fearing her testimony helped convict an innocent man, Hannah feels compelled to revisit the murder with the three Oxford friends that knew April best. The memories shared by mild-mannered doctor Hugh, mathematician Emily, and Ryan, who has suffered a stroke since their college years, call most of what she’s believed about April and her death into question. Alternating past and present chapters build toward a gripping denouement as nicely chosen details bring each character vividly to life. This showcases Ware’s gifts to the fullest. Agent: Eve White, Eve White Literary (U.K.). (July)

From the Publisher

"So many flawed friendships, so many promising red herrings. . . . The pages just turn themselves." —People Magazine

“Ware once again demonstrates her literary claim as the 21st century’s answer to Agatha Christie with this ingeniously crafted puzzler . . . Fans of Golden Age mysteries like Dorothy Sayers’s Gaudy Night will love the book’s Oxford setting, while readers of trendy dark academia suspense novels, in the manner of Alex Michaelides’s The Maidens, will feel right at home. Top-drawer entertainment from a modern master of mystery.”—Library Journal (Starred Review)

"Ruth Ware’s richly-textured The IT Girl is at once an engrossing murder mystery while also a perfectly crafted and haunting examination of lost youth and the compromises of adulthood, as a woman unpicks the past secrets of her university friends to finally lay to rest her murdered best friend, the dazzling April. Reminiscent of The Secret History, Ware has surpassed herself with this gripping, absorbing whodunnit. I loved it! All hail the Queen." —Sarah Pinborough, New York Times Bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

"Deliciously dark and utterly addictive — my favourite Ruth Ware yet!" —Lucy Foley, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Apartment and The Guest List

“Every Ruth Ware novel is a unique and unexpected gem and this one is no exception. A heady, tense, slowburn dream of a book, multi-layered and steeped in atmosphere and peril. I loved every page." —Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone

“Ware develops both the reader’s doubts about and concern for Hannah as the suspense builds gradually under a masterful barrage of red herrings . . . Riveting.” Booklist (Starred Review)

“This exceptional psychological thriller from Ware probes how much one can trust others—and one’s self . . . . Alternating past and present chapters build toward a gripping denouement as nicely chosen details bring each character vividly to life. This showcases Ware’s gifts to the fullest.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“As usual with Ware, the novel is well crafted—the setting, characters, and dialogue are all engaging . . . Delightfully readable.” —Kirkus Reviews

Library Journal - Audio

09/01/2022

Ware (One by One) has written another Agatha Christie-esque novel with her signature twist ending. Hannah Jones meets popular and carefree It Girl April Clarke-Cliveden on her first day at Oxford. They quickly form a close friend group with Emily, Ryan, Hugh, and Will. By the end of the semester, April is dead. A decade later, the man accused of her murder has died in prison proclaiming his innocence. When a young reporter starts asking questions, Hannah begins investigating what really happened that night. She soon realizes there are some answers she may not want to know. Imogen Church provides a well-done narration of the tense, twist-filled mystery. The It Girl explores the group dynamics and the lengths to which someone will go to protect themselves. The repercussions are explored as well, as listeners are introduced to each of the characters and the effects that April's murder has had on them. VERDICT Ware's newest novel is a must-add for mystery collections that will appeal to her fans and new readers alike.—Elyssa Everling

Library Journal

★ 07/01/2022

Ware (One by One; The Turn of the Key) once again demonstrates her literary claim as the 21st century's answer to Agatha Christie with this ingeniously crafted puzzler in which she deftly shifts suspicion among a closed circle of suspects, while cleverly inserting seemingly innocuous clues to the real killer among a sea of red herrings. When Hannah Jones hears the news that John Neville has died in prison, she thinks it is finally over. Instead, for Hannah, it is just beginning. Ten years ago, Hannah's testimony sent Neville to prison for the murder of Hannah's Oxford roommate and friend April Clarke-Cliveden. Now a reporter wants to meet with Hannah to share with her information he believes may prove Neville's innocence. But if Neville didn't murder April, who did? VERDICT Fans of Golden Age mysteries like Dorothy Sayers's Gaudy Night will love the book's Oxford setting, while readers of trendy dark academia suspense novels, in the manner of Alex Michaelides's The Maidens, will feel right at home. Top-drawer entertainment from a modern master of mystery.—John Charles

AUGUST 2022 - AudioFile

Hannah and April—the “it girl” of the title—were roommates at Oxford. Then April was killed by a creepy porter. Or was she? Narrator Imogen Church adeptly conveys the characters involved—from reckless April to serious Hannah; April’s lovers, Will and Ryan; and others. But halfway into the audiobook, it becomes apparent the story is not going to broaden beyond this single topic. As there are no subplots, the focus is on the murder, along with Hannah’s whiny regrets that she couldn’t prevent them. Though the very end has a good plot twist, it comes too late to save the story. In an afterword, Hannah notes, “I’ve said everything, and now it’s time for me to shut up and move on.” The listener can’t help but agree. L.W.S. © AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

2022-04-22
Ten years after having discovered her Oxford roommate’s dead body in front of the fireplace in their room, a young woman struggles with the realization that she may have helped send the wrong man to prison.

Hannah Jones arrives at Oxford hardly believing that she’s been accepted into this haven of learning and wealth. Sharing a picturesque set of rooms with the flamboyant and beautiful April Clarke-Cliveden, she divides her time between rigorous studying and energetic socializing with Emily Lippmana, Ryan Coates, Hugh Bland, and Will de Chastaigne, with whom she shares an attraction even though he's April’s boyfriend. It’s a good life except for the increasingly creepy interactions she has with John Neville, one of the porters. When Hannah finds April dead one night just after she’s seen Neville coming down the stairs from their rooms, it’s her testimony that puts him in jail. Ware divides the novel into alternating “before” and “after” chapters, with the narrative of Hannah’s college experience unfolding parallel to the events of her life nearly a decade later, when she’s married to Will and pregnant with their first child. Then Neville dies in prison and Hannah hears from a reporter who thinks he might actually have been innocent. Hannah begins to wonder herself, and she plunges back into the past to see if she can figure out what really happened that night. As usual with Ware, the novel is well crafted—the setting, characters, and dialogue are all engaging—but it lacks the author's signature sense of urgent and imminent threat. The novel unfolds smoothly, providing a few twists and turns, as the reader might expect, but not really delivering any true suspense. It also lacks the contrast between a luxurious background and the characters’ fears that Ware has often played to great effect. She does offer a deeper dive into the trauma of the survivors than she usually does, but this isn't the breathless page-turner one has come to expect from Ware.

Delightfully readable fiction, but the mystery disappoints.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176380576
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 07/12/2022
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 357,101

Read an Excerpt

1. Before BEFORE
Afterwards, it was the door she would remember. It was open, she kept saying to the police. I should have known something was wrong.

She could have retraced every step of the walk back from the Hall: the gravel crunching beneath her feet of the path across Old Quad, under the Cherwell Arch, then the illegal shortcut through the darkness of the Fellows’ Garden, her feet light on the dew-soaked forbidden lawn. Oxford didn’t need KEEP OFF THE GRASS signs; that lawn had been the preserve of dons and fellows for more than two hundred years without needing to remind undergraduates of the fact.

Next, past the Master’s lodgings and along the path that skirted round the New Quad (close on four hundred years old, but still a hundred years younger than the Old Quad).

Then up staircase VII, four flights of worn stone steps, right up to the top, where she and April slept, on the left-hand side of the landing, opposite Dr. Myers’s rooms.

Dr. Myers’s door was closed, as it always was. But the other door, her door, was open. That was the last thing she remembered. She should have known something was wrong.

But she suspected nothing at all.

She knew what happened next only from what the others told her. Her screams. Hugh following her up the stairs, two at a time. April’s limp body sprawled across the hearth rug in front of the fire, almost theatrically, in the photos she was shown afterwards.

But she could not remember it herself. It was as if her brain had blocked it out, shut down, like a memory glitch on a computer: file corrupted—and no amount of patient questioning from the police ever brought her closer to that actual moment of recognition.

Only sometimes, in the middle of the night, she wakes up with a picture in front of her eyes, a picture different from the grainy Polaroids of the police photographer, with their careful evidence markers and harsh floodlit lighting. In this picture the lamps are dim, and April’s cheeks are still flushed with the last glimpse of life. And she sees herself running across the room, tripping over the rug to fall on her knees beside April’s body, and then she hears the screams.

She is never sure if that picture is a memory or a nightmare—or perhaps a mix of both.

But whatever the truth, April is gone.

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