April Coutts-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 second, 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.
Another Ruth Ware, so of course I just had to get my hands on it. I heard some mixed reviews on this one, but I personally really enjoyed it! Overall it was quite the thriller, with all the expected literary baubles that I have grown accustomed to from Ruth Ware.
The IT girl revolves around our protagonist, Hannah, who was once friends with Oxford’s IT girl, April. Hannah came from a humble background but unexpectedly gets swept up with Oxford’s elites by virtue of being friends with April. All this comes crashing down when April is found dead and Hannah is never the same. The perpetrator is supposedly now dead, but everything changes when new facts come up suggesting that he may have been innocent. Hannah goes on a quest to discover the truth…which may lead to something she wished she didn’t know.
The characters were all excellent in this book. There were characters of all types among the friend group, and it stays as basically a closed room kind of scenario, so all the suspicious people are in sight (of course, everyone is suspicious). Most of the characters were well developed, and I felt that for the most part any or all of them could have been involved, and the plot was always thickening. I certainly enjoyed the character development and the intrigue surrounding all her friends.
The plot was split into two timelines, before and after April’s death. I think some people found it a bit too long, but I tend to like converging timeline archetypes and I felt that this one was pretty well executed, the present Hannah coming closer to the truth at the same time as more events leading up to April’s death in the past is coming to the exact same truth. I thought this was brilliantly executed and really kept me on the hook the whole way even though the plot line flipped back and forth constantly.
Following up on that, the suspense was certainly really good and I found myself wanting more and more information, which really pushed me through the book quickly. This one wasn’t overly scary or blood-pressure building, but it was certainly one where it felt like the deeper she dug, the less you wanted to dig (almost), and that kind of pressure of wanting to know but not wanting to know was very well executed in my opinion. I have always enjoyed the way Ware writes; it’s always very natural, almost like reading a diary or something with good rhythm and coherence, which makes flipping through the pages too easy. Kudos to her, as usual!
The ending. I don’t know how I wanted it to end but I felt it ended fairly. Not my favourite ending per se, but I also can’t find much to fault with it. I didn’t totally see it coming but neither was I really surprised by it. The whole denouement I feel like could have been a little bit more clean maybe, with the way certain things were convenient, but I think I was satisfied enough with it. But anyway, reading thrillers is mostly for the journey, and I definitely think that part went super well.
The IT girl is about our protagonist, Hannah, finding out what really happened to her friend April all those years ago. As we flip through the past and present timelines all converging on Hannah finding out the truth of April’s death, will she want to continue on, knowing what it might lead to? If you enjoy a fast-paced, dual-timeline story full of twists and intrigue, this may be the one for you!