Now a Hulu Original Series
“Riveting, fearless, and vividly original” (Emily St. John Mandel, New York Times bestselling author), this instant New York Times bestseller explores 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. Having joined Wagner Books to honor the legacy of Burning Heart, a novel written and edited by two Black women, she had thought that this animosity was a relic of the past. Is Nella ready to take on the fight of a new generation?
“Poignant, daring, and darkly funny, The Other Black Girl will have you stressed and exhilarated in equal measure through the very last twist” (Vulture). The perfect read for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Ever get the feeling that the new person in the office is out to get you? In this smart, satirical thriller, a little workplace rivalry turns out to be a lot more complicated. Nella is an editorial assistant at a well-respected publishing house, and one of the only Black people on staff—until Hazel swoops in. While Nella has struggled to climb the corporate ladder, Hazel (who’s super capable and has great hair and even better politics) seems to have no trouble charming her superiors and nabbing plum assignments. The complexities of race, colorism, and office culture add many fascinating layers to Nella’s story…and things get really chilling when she gets pulled into a conspiracy that’s beyond her wildest imagination. Zakiya Dalila Harris’ debut novel is clever and entertaining. And it keeps you guessing about everything—all while speaking some hard truths about society. If you loved the Boots Riley movie Sorry to Bother You, make The Other Black Girl your next read.
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.
Started Slow, Then Got a Bit Better
Took me a while to finish this book because I just couldn’t get into it. It started very slow, but the suspense eventually picked up. But ended sort of quickly when the tables turned.
Had potential, but essentially trash
House negroes versus field negroes. It’s not surprising the house won since the protagonist was in bed with the enemy. Just like the authoress. As another reviewr wrote, the storytelling was very uneven and the book didn’t get even slightly interesting until about 2/3 of the way through. Black people, look elsewhere for entertainment. This wasn’t writen for us.
What on earth was that?
The beginning of the book had so much promise. I’d hoped for insight and entertainment. By the end, I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes and wondering 1) if it would somehow get better and 2) when would I finally be done. Such a disappointment.