New Girl by Paige Harbison Review

New Girl by Paige Harbison
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: HarliquinTeen
Age: Mature Young Adult
Genre: Mystery, Retelling, Contemporary, Disappearance, Drama
Format: e-book
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound
They call me 'New Girl'... Ever since I arrived at exclusive, prestigious Manderly Academy, that’s who I am. New girl. Unknown. But not unnoticed—because of her. Becca Normandy—that’s the name on everyone’s lips. The girl whose picture I see everywhere. The girl I can’t compare to. I mean, her going missing is the only reason a spot opened up for me at the academy. And everyone stares at me like it’s my fault. Except for Max Holloway—the boy whose name shouldn’t be spoken. At least, not by me. Everyone thinks of him as Becca’s boyfriend but she’s gone, and here I am, replacing her. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes, when I think of Max, I can imagine how Becca’s life was so much better than mine could ever be. And maybe she’s still out there, waiting to take it back.
I am no stranger to teenage drama, but the level of drama found in New Girl is pretty extreme and quite juicy. Loosely based on the adult book Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, New Girl is a mysterious and haunting tale set in a New Hampshire Boarding School that is sure to make the reader feel so many emotions from hate to jealousy to hope.

The book switches points of view and switches back and forth in time. Between the past and what Becca's life was like at Manderly, and the present and the various struggles the 'New Girl' is facing there. It's easy to get drawn in and if you're like me, hard to put down (I read it in one sitting, I had to). Becca and the 'New Girl' have personalities that are nothing alike. I liked how there were two narrators, it was interesting to hear things happen from each of their point of views.

While I liked and respected the 'New Girl', I felt, she was (at times) a little inconsistent in her behavior. Yes, mass volumes of alcohol may have been the culprit as there is plenty of it being consumed in the book and I am well aware of the effects alcohol has (like making one act like an entirely different person) she still did and said some things that I felt were out of character. She's definitely a strong voice in this book, and it didn't take anything away from the story, but there were just a few times that I found myself thinking "I don't think she's say/do that". With that said, no one is perfect. Paige Harbison does an amazing job making characters that, wait for it, make mistakes. The 'New Girl' is strong, but she has her moments and I LOVE THAT!

Becca Normandy was and is my least favorite person in the story. She takes flawed and damaged fictional characters to a whole new high. But, I wouldn't have had it any other way. She was the girl she was for a reason and it worked, I almost ALMOST felt bad for her at times ALMOST. What the rest of the school saw of her, and what the reader learns (I loved her chapters), makes the book quite an exciting adventure. She makes me want to say "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, Becca, Becca, Becca" I know, how lame a Brady Bunch reference. But, everything is always about her, or so she thinks it should be. We all know someone like that and it makes her easier to reach and understand.

I really enjoyed this book. Once I started reading I was hooked and had to stick with it until the end, even if the end came at 3 in the morning for me. There's a lot of, was that real?, moments found and it's going to make the reader think a lot. I would definitely recommend it for mature YA audiences as there is a lot of underage drinking, strong issues like rape, sex is a frequent backdrop, and language while not constant does appear.

New Girl is a book that has stuck with me and I frequently find myself thinking about it. Overall, this book is captivating and unlike any drama I've ever experienced. Rich in detail and an interesting mystery that still has me going over everything that happened.

1 comment:

  1. Great Review. I enjoyed this book enough, but I didn't love it. I am glad that you really enjoyed it.