Title: The IT Girl
Author: Ruth Ware
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.
I enjoy Ruth Ware’s writing and this was just as engaging as her other books I have read but it just didn’t quite hit the nail on the head for me. I loved the story set in Oxford looking back at Hannah and April’s time there but I found the bits set in Edinburgh focused around Hannah’s pregnancy a bit boring and off putting.
As a resident of Edinburgh, who used to live in Stockbridge, it was hilarious to hear it described as an up and coming affordable area of the city when it is actually one of the most popular and most expensive areas to live. This made it very hard to see Hannah and Will as the struggling young couple that they were painted as. They had a muse house in one of the most expensive areas of the city, on one of the most Instagrammed streets in the city too. It kind of takes you out of the picture that Ware was trying to paint.
I also found the focus on Hannah’s pregnancy a bit much. It didn’t really play into the plot all that much. The book would have worked just as well without Hannah being pregnant so it just seemed to function as to give Hannah something to do. It spent ages going on and on about her blood pressure but again the plot didn’t need it. It is used in a really minor plot point that could have been played off in a different way, I also don’t think it adds very much to Hannah’s character development so it just seemed a bit tedious to read about.
I wish more focus had been put on life in Oxford. The structure of how the collages work are so unusual. Its not something everyone experiences, even though I spend a lot of time in both the UK and US academic systems, they are so distinct from the collage life of Oxford. This was this stories unique elements came from but we didn’t spend enough time getting to know how that life changed the gang and how the pressure played out for each of them. We got hints of it but I really wanted to spend more time with that area of the mystery.
the mystery itself played out really well. There were some interesting reveals that I just didn’t see coming and others I wish had a little more impact when they were relieved. Overall, it was a fun and fast read but I have read better from Ruth Ware.