The Other Black Girl

Atria. Jun. 2021. 368p. Tr $27. ISBN 9781982160135.
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.

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