Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

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.
My thoughts:
New Girl is a retelling of the classic Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I have not read Rebecca, so I can't say anything about how it compares, but New Girl felt very much like its own, original story when I read it. I am somewhat split in my opinion of this book. On one side I loved the mystery, the characters and the way the story was told. On the other side, I was a little bugged by how much everyone cared about 'New Girl', and I had some problems with Max.

To start with the good, I loved the way the story was told from both 'New Girl' and Becca's sides. It really made it clear how different the two girls were, and how crazy it was for everyone to think 'New Girl' was trying to take over Becca's place. All through the book I found myself trying to guess what really happened to Becca - was she actually dead, had she run away, or was she just waiting for the perfect time to reclaim her throne as queen of Manderly Academy?

'New Girl' (it takes a while before we learn her name, so I'll let you discover it on your own) is a very strong character, despite all her insecurities, and I loved how she was not afraid to stand up for herself and be her own person. Most of her fellow students only see her as a poor copy of Becca and never gives her a chance to show her own personality, but she handles it all very well.

My problem with New Girl mostly comes down to Max. I don't see why on earth he stayed in a relationship with Becca when he was clearly not happy with her, because let's be honest - most teenage boys don't care that much about hurting a girl's feelings, so if they want to dump a girl that's what they do. Then in comes 'New Girl', and all of a sudden we're supposed to believe that he cares about her, even if he treats her like dirt to start with. It just wasn't a believable relationship for me.

Despite the few issues I had with New Girl I enjoyed it quite a bit, and can recommend it to anyone who likes a little mystery, some good boarding school drama and a strong protagonist.

As much as I like underwater covers, there's something off about this one. I just don't like this girl's facial expression.

My rating of this book:

Want to know more?
Add New Girl to your Goodreads wish list
Visit Paige Harbison's website
Read Paige's blog
Follow Paige on Twitter

Full disclosure:
ARC received from NetGalley

This book can be purchased from a number of local retailers and online book stores like Amazon and The Book Depository (I'm not an affiliate of either). The latter store has free shipping to about 100 countries.


  1. I think I will rather read Rebecca :)

  2. Sounds good! I'll be sure to look for it. Thanks for the review.
    Mary, A Book A Day

  3. I've been reading a lot of mixed reviews on this, I think many people seem to endure a few issues with it, but on the whole it still sounds like an enjoyable read. I can definitely see your point about Max - hard to understand why he would stay with Becca! I am very intrigued by the whole mystery of this (and her name) and WHY exactly everyone is treating the New Girl like crap. I haven't read Rebecca either, but this retelling sounds intriguing on its own! Fantastic review!

  4. I love Rebecca. It's one of my favorite books of all times, very lovely and lyrical. I'm definitely intrigued by this one now.

  5. I have an ARC on my kindle but I still don't know if to read it or not.
    What you said about Max might annoy me a bit, still I am considering giving it a try sometime.. who knows, maybe I'll enjoy it.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)