06 February 2012

New Girl by Paige Harbison

New Girl by Paige Harbison
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: NetGalley
Rating: Enjoyable

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. - Goodreads
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.


  1. I hope you will read Rebecca one day. It is an amazing book. The atmosphere of the book has similarities to Jane Eyre. I loved it when I read it recently.

    I did enjoy New Girl too, though I wasn't completely convinced. It's funny that I had the complete opposite reaction to the characters. I didn't like Becca at all, and I felt for "the new girl" although I like her better in Rebecca. Like you, I did not understand the new girl-Max relationship. It didn't make much sense to me.

    1. I'll definitely have to read it at some point. I'm thinking about setting myself the challenge of reading one classic a month, and seeing how that goes.

      Max and New Girl... they were just so bland. She had a lot more chemistry with Jonathan. :D

  2. Hi Amber! I just got approved by NG for this title and now I seem to see reviews everywhere!

    I'm glad you found New Girl enjoyable. I really must recommend Rebecca to you. It's such a good mystery.

    1. I hope you enjoy it! I love books set in boarding schools, so I HAD to try this out.

      I didn't even know Rebecca was a mystery until I read this. I love mysteries so I'll have to check it out. I'll see if I can get it on my Kindle!

  3. THANK YOU! You've summed up New Girl (the character) perfectly: "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."

    Mwaha! Isn't it funny that we we can think NG is boring, but LOVE BEcca, despite the fact she's a TOTAL psychopath? Oh goodness, I she was SO fascinating to read! And Max was... yeah, he did NOTHING for me.

    But I liked the book, too! I LOVED Harbison's writing--she's an incredibly gifted writer.

    LOVE your review! I agree with every word! xx

    1. Haha, I usually always love the maniacs. They're so much more fun to read about.

      Have you read Here Lies Bridget? I'm going to read it soon. I agree, she's definitely talented!

      Thanks! It's always great when people agree with me. It makes me feel slightly more sane. :D

  4. I have this on my kindle and ant wait to read it! Great review!!


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