Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
New Girl is a modern retelling of Rebecca. I've never read Rebecca, and I honestly have no clue what it is about so I won't be commenting on how well this book works as a retelling or how effective it is.
New Girl is told from two points of view - New Girl who moves to the boarding school in the present day, and Becca, who was the new girl the previous year and who has now disappeared. The stories tie together in different timelines, but it works very well. For example, New Girl goes to a party, and then we switch to Becca's point of view while she's at a party on the same day a year previously. I hope that makes sense!
We don't find out New Girl's real name until the very end of the novel, which I found both frustrating and intriguing. I feel it added to the character of New Girl, as she was constantly being compared with Becca, and was only referred to as New Girl which suggests that the other characters don't see her for who she really is.
New Girl was a bit of a prat at times. During some scenes I was applauding her for sticking up for herself when someone bullied her, but then in other scenes she failed to do so and as a result she put up with a lot. I kept expecting her to snap, but she didn't. I did like her character, but she was pretty bland in comparison to Becca. I hate saying that, because it makes me feel as though I'm in the same league as the other characters, but that's just how I felt.
Becca, on the other hand, was a character I absolutely loved! I tend to enjoy reading about the bitchy, manipulative characters more than the good, sweet ones, and Becca fits this bill perfectly. I loved her. She was so conniving and manipulative, and you do find out why. There's a reason she's does what she does, and her background really did make me feel for her. She was well developed and felt authentic, much more so than New Girl.
The other characters I really liked were Jonathan, Dana and Blake. At least, I think her name was Blake. Oops.
Max and New Girl's relationship didn't really have any foundations, in my opinion. Max was nice enough, but pretty dull for a love interest. I much preferred Jonathan (mentioned above). There was no chemistry between the two of them to give their relationship that spark.
I really liked the mystery in the novel. I was intrigued by it all, and I found myself anxious to find out what happened to Becca. Was it all one of her games, or had she really been murdered?
Paige Harbison has a gripping writing style, and because of this I will be checking out more of her works. New Girl was just enjoyable enough for me, but the main protagonist wasn't one that will stick with me and be remembered. Becca, on the other hand, just might.