336 Pages | Ballantine | Mystery/Thriller | 3/24/2020
I rarely read long-form journalism but I devoured this piece in the New York Times Magazine about the false utopia of the all-female co-working space The Wing, so when I saw this book had a similar premise I had to pick it up.
In this book, the fictional aspirational feminist co-working space is called The Herd and the novel follows the twisty aftermath of disappearance of the founder, Eleanor Walsh.
The Bradley sisters, Katie and Hana, are best friends with the missing Eleanor and as they search for the truth their own dark secrets surface.
The Herd is an engaging thriller with twists and turns right up to the very last page. My favorite type of thrillers are ones like this, where the author takes a deep dive into a unique community and then slowly unravels the darkness underneath. I also liked that there was no rape, sexual abuse or domestic violence– which I’ve seen a lot in the thrillers I’ve read.
I’m still not sure if this book was supposed to be a critique of a certain type of white feminism. If it is, that doesn’t come through. I saw several reviews saying the social commentary wasn’t done well but I’m not sure this was ever supposed to be social commentary or even satire.
I think it’s worth noting that one of our protagonists, Hana, is a person of color. Hana is adopted and is described as having “dark skin” and learned from a DNA test that she had Middle Eastern, South Asian and Eastern European ancestry. We get very little information about her adoption and I feel like the book wanted to include a POC to be “diverse” but didn’t want to do any of the work involved with making her a specific ethnicity. I think that was a real weakness of this book.
I’d never heard of Andrea Bartz before I picked this book up but now I see her everywhere! She was just chosen as the Reese Witherspoon book club book.
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.