Fri, March 2, 2012

New Girl by Paige Harbison Review

New Girl by Paige Harbison

New Girl
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?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: creepy things, mean girls, mystery, paige harbison
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11 Comments

  1. VeganYANerds said:

    Great review, Anna. I bought this book a week or so ago even though I’d read mixed reviews.

    I definitely think that being able to feel strong emotions means the author has done something right, it’s better than not caring so much that you stop reading. And we don’t like everyone in real life so it only makes sense that we don’t like every character we read about.

    I’m definitely looking forward to reading this and seeing how it makes me feel.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, March 2, 2012

  2. Melissa Blau said:

    Another great review! I have read Rebecca, and I can say that the feelings you felt while reading this book are the same exact feelings I had while reading Rebecca, so the author of this book must have hit the right notes in this modern retelling of the Rebecca story. I loved that book, so I want to check this one out. Thanks for a great review that inspired me to discover another new book!

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    Posted on: Fri, March 2, 2012

  3. Heidi said:

    I don’t think I can handle this one. Working in a school may make me especially sensitive to it but I just cannot get through books like this! That’s not to say it’s a bad book…. just not right for me 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, March 2, 2012

  4. FABR Steph said:

    Great review. I loved New Girl. I found it creepy, suspenseful and intriguing. I couldn’t put it down. I have seen some opposing opinions though, and lots of them. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it.
    -FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, March 2, 2012

  5. April said:

    I hate to read about girls who dont stick up for themselves also. I think I will probably pass on this one, I dont think it’s really my cup of tea. One thing I have to say though, she looks pretty darn buff on the cover. those almost look like man arms.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, March 2, 2012

  6. A. Knight said:

    Yeah, I didn’t think I could handle this book so I declined it. It just rubbed me the wrong way for some reason.

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    Posted on: Fri, March 2, 2012

  7. Jasmine Rose said:

    I just checked this one out today so I guess we’ll see how I feel about it soon!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, March 2, 2012

  8. Cynthia said:

    Sounds very frustrating, I read this author’s debut novel and didn’t really like it much, I don’t think I would like this one either. Thanks for the honest review Anna! =)

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, March 2, 2012

  9. Krissten said:

    This book seems very interesting i may go and pick it up and review it myself it seems like a a story i would just read in one day because it is so good thanks for review 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, March 2, 2012

  10. Noemy said:

    I have New Girl on my kindle and the only reason I wanted to read it so bad was because it is a YA version of Rebecca. You should definitely read it this book is one of my all time favorite classics !!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, March 2, 2012

  11. Lisa said:

    I definitely think you should give REBECCA a whirl. You will see a ton of similarities between the characters and confusion at their actions.

    I think what’s most frustrating, however, is that people CAN BE like that and some people DO just take it. BAH.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, March 2, 2012

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