By Paige Harbison
Publish date: Jan. 31, 2012
Harlequin Teen, 320 pages
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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.
— Goodreads.com description
Full disclosure: This book is based on the popular 1938 book Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I haven’t read Rebecca, which basically means there’s probably a ton of deeper aspects to this book that totally sailed right on over my head.
Then again, most teens probably haven’t read Rebecca, so let’s just go with it!
Remember that movie starring Leighton Meister as a psychotic roommate? Yeah, imagine that times 5 billion. That’s how I’d describe New Girl. Ugh, just shuddering thinking about how this girl (we don’t really know her name) is treated when she arrives at Manderly Academy.
I think the premise of this book is creepy and thrilling — it’s definitely something that would recommend to fans of Pretty Little Liars or The Lying Game. But I spent so much time wanting to jump into the pages of the book and slap every single character that some of it might have been lost on me.
Don’t take that the wrong way: I didn’t dislike it. It just hit a trigger with me. I hate to see girls who don’t stick up for themselves, so I was upset with the main character from the get-go when she agreed to go to boarding school (despite absolutely NOT wanting to go) without a whisper of protest.
And then, once she gets to the school, she’s bombarded with hatred and just kind of…goes with it. Granted, she does fight back eventually, but it was frustrating to see her being walked all over. I wanted to shake her and then offer to beat down everyone on her behalf.
I think New Girl was an interesting, creepy mystery that would probably appeal to many but just sort of made me angry. Then again, maybe that’s what the author was going for! Sometimes I think if an author has evoked an emotional reaction in her reader, whatever it is, she has done her job. What do you think?