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  • The It Girl

  • By: Ruth Ware
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 17 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (118 ratings)

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Summary

Everyone wanted her life.

But who took it?

It was Hannah who found April’s body 10 years ago.

It was Hannah who didn’t question what she saw that day.

Did her testimony put an innocent man in prison?

She needs to know the truth.

Even if it means questioning her own friends.

Even if it means putting her own life at risk.

Because if the killer wasn’t a stranger, it's someone she knows....

©2022 Ruth Ware (P)2022 Simon & Schuster, UK

What listeners say about The It Girl

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous thriller despite the annoying narration

I am a huge Ruth Ware fan and have had this wonderful thriller on pre-order for what seems like forever. I have adored all but one of Ruth Ware's thrillers (The Lying Game) but sadly this one - possibly due to the narration - is low on the list.
Having said that low on the list for a Ruth Ware thriller is still excellent in my book and I have few actual grumbles about the book though I did find the narration infuriating at many times.
I loved the setting, Oxford University, adored the way the story was centred around a glamourous, intriguing and often exasperating beautiful IT girl and her mysterious murder and all the well defined characters in her immediate circle.
I did find the character who seemed to be a Hugh Grant clone a little obvious especially as his name was .. Hugh!
Hard to tell about Hannah as I found her narrated voice to be very grating as in cheese grater to the bare skin irritating,
April for me was also ruined by being cartoonishly voiced.
Also there was some strange echo also - very noticeable at times which sounded as is narrated from a cave - cannot believe this one got by the producer as very off putting and super easy to fix before release.
However this was nothing compared to the dodgy sing-song voiced Scottish characters, mainly medical, who had such weird inflection it seemed like they were constantly playing for laughs.
I was not mad also about so much revolving around a pregnancy - and how stressful I found all the details about high blood pressure and hearts thumping and massive heart attacks which all made me panicky when I was expressly listeneing in order to relax.
Plot wise it was all very skilfully crafted with red herrings galore ...... but I guessed the killer from early on, which I think I have never done before with a Ruth Ware. Sadly I do not think this is my increasing detective powers but just less suspense.
I always baulk at reviews which describe books I devoured every moment (and indeed films too) of as being "too long".
How can you have too much of a good thing?
Well this must be the first book which I really enjoyed (despite the overegged narration) which I found myself checking "How much of this is left?".
It just seemed to be a quarter too long and really dragging its heels like a hammy thesp drawing things out to the point of exasperation.
As I often ask "Are there any editors left employed in publishing?"
This went on so long past the finale I was afraid Hannah's bump would be heading for Oxford University themselves by the time it limped to the end.
Narrator Imogen Church is much like the curate's egg - good and bad in parts. A fabulous actress with genuine story telling skills which I have listened to many times successfully at speed 1.25 to just get through a great story which she is just swinging out of every word and phrase on and milking for all it is worth instead of allowing the story to unfold and enchant the listener without such an overbearing and pernicious presence.
This time though I felt she made a pantomime of the whole thing, despite playing her at an increased speed she really tortured the story and the characters. I have never been a fan of her gruff blustering male characters and luckily this time she reigned this in but must even a Scottish coffee shop manager come across as one of the Crankies playing it for stand up laughs?
I know all Ruth Ware's thrillers so far seem to have been narrated by the same person but I really feel it is time for a change as she seems frankly bored at this stage and making it all about her over animated narration rather than the actual story.

I really felt each and every character was voiced in such a way to make them unlikeable and embarrassingly larger than life in the style of a children's TV presenter desperate to capture and hold a very distracted and young audience.

After choosing a handful of stinkers, I was delighted to be back in Ruth Ware's expert hands and indeed this is a 5 star read ... but a rather cringeworthy and pantomimesque listen ........... "Hannah ...... he/she is BEHIND you" lacking any attempt at subtlety in favour of an attempt to grab all the limelight at the expense of an excellent thriller.

So to sum up - a great book but by no means Ruth Ware's best, made excruciating by over the top narration which frivolised and transformed a potentially suspense filled drama into a painful, drawn out vaudeville act full of unlikable and unbelievable cartoon characters.

However compared to recent listens, I would still recommend but maybe played at 1.5 instead of I.25 speed.

Please, please, please either get a more nuanced and suitable narrator for the next one or at least producer who can get a more sympathetic read from the narrator that allows listeners to enjoy the actual story rather than the over the top and often unappealingly and inappropriately comedic performance which simply kills the suspense and enjoyment of a good thriller.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great crime story, awful narration

The crime novel was very enjoyable and full of twists but I very nearly gave up several times because of the irritating narration. As various others have said, Imogen Church narrates everything the same way - her annoying intonation and ERRATIC EMPHASIS doesn’t work with the text content, it is just one size fits all. I’ve listened to many books narrated by her and either I am getting less tolerant or she is becoming more mannered in her reading style. Anyway from now on I will buy the print version and not get anything else narrated by Church - it’s too infuriating.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Avoid the audio version

I’m struggling. Really struggling. Ruth Ware is a favourite author and I’d been looking forward to the publication of her latest. The story sounds intriguing but the narration is truly awful. Like an over enthusiastic amateur hamming it up and drawing out every word for as long as possible and making every sentence sound as if it is a question. I speeded it up to 1.2 and that helped a bit but it’s still not a comfortable listen. I’m preserving because the story has drawn me in. It’s well up to the author’s usual standard but she deserves a much better narrator.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narration ruined it for me

The plot seemed really promising and right up my street, but after about 90 minutes I had to give up and return it due to the narration.

I know a lot of people love Imogen Church - I struggle with her narration, but thought I’d give this a go as loved the story overview. Her voice is sing-songy and almost like a kindergarten teacher at points, and there is SO. MUCH. EMPHASIS on too many words in a sentence (frequently the wrong ones) that it’s simply exhausting to listen to. Sentences tend to go up at the end and it can sound like she’s speaking while laughing to herself which is at odds with the subject matter; super off-putting. Oh, and some mispronunciation of words and names, e.g. Cliveden.

That in itself I probably could have just about coped with, but what finished me off was the echo in the recording. I only listened on headphones so it was more noticeable, but it sounds like it’s being recorded in a cavern with a lot of sound bounce, and I couldn’t cope.

I’m so frustrated as the story sounded great - I’m going to get myself a physical copy. I’d love to listen with a different narrator, and would strongly recommend Imogen reconfigures her audio setup to get rid of that dreadful reverb.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Really bad echo in the recording

I’m enjoying the plot and the narrator. The constant echo in the recording is so bad! It’s very disruptive and takes away from the full enjoyment of it. Shame. Audible or whoever is responsible for the audio quality needs to sort it out asap.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Boring and way too long

I love Ruth Ware’s books and waited for this with great anticipation. However I have never been as disappointed with a book as I have been with this. Absolutely dreadful. Painful to listen to. Longwinded, over described and way way way too long. I listened to five hours of it, and nothing happened. Literally nothing. I am pretty sure I know I can predict the ending, although i just can’t stand waiting another 12 hours to find out. Obviously it is a ‘why use 3 words when 53 will do’ book. Padded out to the nth degree with absolutely irrelevant rubbish. In my view it is not a thriller, as Ruth’s other books have been, but an extremely slow burning domestic drama, sadly annoying and without direction. Couldn’t stand any more of it, so am returning. Sorry Ruth this was a huge raspberry from me.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Evil Under The Sun repackaged….

Slow and slightly cringe making beginning. Gets a bit better but winds up overlong. The identity of the killed became obvious at a certain point. The twist is borrowed directly from Agatha Christie, nothing wrong with that and fairly well handled. The life and death struggle towards the end is a cliche employed in numerous tales. The funeral is just annoying. Overall. Too long.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Audio Effects Irritating but story good

This is a good story and well performed. Really irritating use of a 'phone' effect on the voices when the lead character is taking a phone call. It's distracting and irritating, when there are no other effects. Almost made me return it. A shame as it spoils a good audio book.

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a slog

God that was a trudge to finish. I wanted to give up a few times. A poor story, cliched characters, slow annoying narration. Mostly didn't like it because the main character Hannah was an absolute drip. Avoid.

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Excellent!

I have read/listened to most of Ruth Ware, so eagerly anticipated her latest work.The Death of Mrs.Westaway was my favourite but this one has surpassed that, in my opinion. I loved the setting in Oxford then Edinburgh.I actually found the narration to be good, although when Imogen Church was reciting April's speech ,I did find that far too accentuated and melodramatic but maybe that is how Ruth Ware imagined her.I couldn't stop listening to the story which had plenty of twists and turns throughout.The characters were all so lifelike, as events at University played out and the audible switched to past then present. I would definitely recommend this audible.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-08-22

Returned the book

I’ve always loved Ruth Ware’s books in combination with Imogen Church. Very much so that I bought the audio version of the book Imogen has written. After 2 hours I stopped listening and returned the book. The constant showcasing of her vocal abilities was really getting on my nerves and now with The It Girl I am experiencing the same thing.
I am sorry to say I can’t listen to Imogen Church for the next 17 hours with all of her highs and lows so I am returning this book. I tought it was just me but been reading the reviews of the UK customers and it turns out I’m not the only one.
Update: forgot to mention the echo, it’s awful and it amazes me that this version was approved.

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  • barbara
  • 13-08-22

The It Girl

Have listened to a lot of books by this author and this has got to be her best book, well worth the wait. She has the ability to take you from thinking this is an average book to an intense desire to finding how it is going to end. The twists in the story I rarely guess. Her characters are so well thought up and the narration excellent. Can't wait for her next release.