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Ruth Ware knows how to scare her readers, no matter the locale.

From the claustrophobic confines of a ship to the salty air of a beach, she's spun her psychological crime thrillers in a myriad of settings. Her latest novel, The It Girl, takes the action to the storied halls of Oxford University.

EW can exclusively share the cover for Ware's next novel, as well as a chilling excerpt below.

The It Girl follows Hannah Jones as she tries to unravel the clues a decade after her friend's murder at college. April Coutts-Clivden was the first person Hannah met at Oxford, her vivacity and viciousness pulling her into her inner circle of friends, Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily. But by the end of the second term, April was dead.

A decade passes and Hannah is now married to Will and expecting their first child. The man convicted of killing April, Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. But when a journalist brings Hannah compelling evidence that Neville might have been innocent, she reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April's death. Do the people she thought she knew have something to hide?

Check out the cover and read the excerpt below. The It Girl hits shelves July 12, 2022.

The It Girl By Ruth Ware
Credit: Simon & Schuster

Reprinted from THE IT GIRL by Ruth Ware. Copyright © 2022 by Ruth Ware. Reprinted by permission of Scout Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

BEFORE

Afterwards, it was the door she would remember. It was open, she kept saying to the police. I should have known something was wrong.

She could have retraced every step of the walk back from the hall; the gravel crunching beneath her feet on the path across old Quad, under the Cherwell arch, then the illegal shortcut through the darkness of the Fellows' Garden, her feet light on the dew-soaked, forbidden lawn. Oxford didn't need keep off the grass signs; that lawn had been the preserve of dons and fellows for more than two hundred years without needing to remind undergraduates of the fact.

Next, past the Master's lodgings and along the path that skirted round the New Quad (close on four hundred years old, but still a hundred years younger than the Old Quad).

Then up staircase VII, four flights of worn stone steps, right up to the top where she and April slept, on the left hand side of the landing, opposite Dr Myers' rooms.

Dr Myers' door was closed, as it always was. But the other door, her door, was open. That was the last thing she remembered. She should have known something was wrong.

But she suspected nothing at all.

She knew what happened next only from what the others told her. Her screams. Hugh following her up the stairs, two at a time. April's limp body sprawled across the hearthrug in front of the fire, almost theatrically, in the photos she was shown afterwards.

But she could not remember it herself. It was as if her brain had blocked it out, shut down, like a memory glitch on a computer: file corrupted – and no amount of patient questioning from the police ever brought her closer to that actual moment of recognition.

Only sometimes, in the middle of the night, she wakes up with a picture in front of her eyes, a picture different from the grainy polaroids of the police photographer, with their careful evidence markers and harsh floodlit lighting. In this picture the lamps are dim, and April's cheeks are still flushed with the last glimpse of life. And she sees herself running across the room, tripping over the rug to fall on her knees beside April's body, and then she hears the screams.

She is never sure if that picture is a memory or a nightmare – or perhaps a mix of both.

But whatever the truth, April is gone.

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