Book Club Questions for The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

by Heather Caliendo
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Book club questions for The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris will unravel all the key plots and character development in this twisty thriller. There will be spoilers so for more context about the book, check out my spoiler-free review first.

I thought this novel was amazing! By far one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2021. It’s original, complicated, humorous, scary, sad and engaging. One of the most thought-provoking novels I’ve read in quite some time.

This is one of those novels that will stick with me for a long time. And I have so many questions about it as well! If you’ve read it and want to discuss, send me an email so we can chat!

The Synopsis

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.

A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.

Book Club Questions for The Other Black Girl

  1. Why did the book start off with the prologue from Kendra Rae’s perspective as she fled the city? How did it set the stage for what was to come?
  2. Nella is the only black person in an all-white environment. Let’s discuss the micoaggressions she dealt with on a daily basis.
  3. When the company hires another black girl, Nella hopes they’ll be each other’s allies. But she soon starts to suspect that Hazel is competitive with her. When did you suspect that something was ‘off’ with Hazel?
  4. A passage toward the beginning of the book says “diversity becomes an item people start checking off a list and nothing more, a shallow, shadowy thing with but one dimension.” What are your thoughts on this?
  5. Nella’s boss asks for her opinion on the latest book from the bestselling author Colin Franklin. She shares her concerns about how the only black character was written. Both Colin and her boss gets offended and defensive. Why wouldn’t they listen to Nella?
  6. Who did you think were sending those notes to Nella? What would you have done if you were Nella and received those notes?
  7. We finally learn what is behind the curtain of the OGBs (other black girls). Hazel is part of a group distributing hair grease that works as social lubricants. It makes black people “amendable when it comes to working with white people and removes any guilt.” What did you think as you read that reveal? Did you think it was an interesting plot twist or did you not like it?
  8. Why did the author choose hair grease for the social lubricant?
  9. Hazel often distributes the hair grease to women without their consent. Why did Hazel go down this path? Does she actually believe she’s helping other black women with it?
  10. Why did Nella eventually take the social lubricant? Were you surprised she took it? What do you think end up happening to Nella afterward?
  11. Why did Diana work with Imani on distributing the hair grease? What are their goals with it? Why was Richard involved as well?
  12. What are your thoughts about the epilogue? What will happen to Shani?

Additional Recommendations

Hope you enjoyed book club questions for The Other Black Girl! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is such an impactful read.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passingLooking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins. 

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my book club questions here.


Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

For a lighter read, check out Seven Days in June by Tia Williams.

Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award‑winning novelist, who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York.

When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their buried traumas, but the eyebrows of the Black literati. What no one knows is that fifteen years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. While they may be pretending not to know each other, they can’t deny their chemistry—or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books through the years.

Over the next seven days, amidst a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect—but Eva’s wary of the man who broke her heart, and wants him out of the city so her life can return to normal. Before Shane disappears though, she needs a few questions answered…

With its keen observations of creative life in America today, as well as the joys and complications of being a mother and a daughter, Seven Days in June is a hilarious, romantic, and sexy‑as‑hell story of two writers discovering their second chance at love.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my book club questions here.

Happy reading!

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