*REVIEW* New Girl
A contemporary young-adult retelling inspired by the classic 1938 romantic suspense bestseller Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
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.
New Girl by Paige Harbison is a contemporary re-telling of a book by Daphne du Maurier entitled Rebecca. Since that book was printed in 1938, I can say that I have NOT read the original so this story was completely new and fresh for me.
The story begins by introducing us to a girl who is about to enter her senior year of high school. But rather than staying at her public high school in Florida with all of her friends, she is being shipped off to the elite Manderly Academy, a boarding school that she desired going to back before she began high school. A spot has opened up at the pretigious school and the girl's parents think they are doing a wonderful thing for her by secretly signing her up to attend. Even though she has reservations, she decides to attend the school rather than disappoint her parents.
Upon arriving at the school, she meets her roommate who is anything but welcoming and it is there that she learns the truth--she has taken the place of Becca Normandy, a beloved student who disappeared at the end of the previous school year. Many of the students at Manderly view the "new girl" as an imposter, someone trying to fill a spot that is not rightfully theirs.
As the story progresses, readers are granted two perspectives: that of the new girl, and the past perspective of Becca Normandy herself. Will the new girl survive the school year and earn a place among her classmates? What really happened to Becca? Is Becca out there somewhere, waiting to return? And how does the mysterious and gorgeous Max fit into all of this?
I wanted to like this book... it was decent, but nothing mind-blowing and not a book that I would tell someone, "OMG, you have got to read this!" I found it all a little hard to swallow. Firstly, what kind of parents make a decision like that to their child before their SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL?! I found that one ludicrious. Yes, "new girl" wanted to attend Manderly when she was what, 12? 13? I think as a parent, I might have done a more up-to-date check-in with her before signing her up, cutting a check, and shipping her away from everything she knows.
And then there's Becca. Through her past POV, we get to see what happened to her during her time at Manderly. And we ultimately find out what the heck happened to her. But really? She's an AWFUL character. I really disliked her and her POV. I found myself not caring at ALL what happened to her. And she really wasn't the only one. There were some truly dislikeable characters in this book.
Something I found very interesting, and perhaps telling, is that we don't learn the main character's name until the very end of the book. And you know what? I hadn't realized that at all. I'm thinking that's a sign that I wasn't truly invested in the story. I actually found myself flipping back through the pages to make sure I hadn't seen that name before. Perhaps it's just something that slipped my mind, I don't know.
So all in all, I don't know... if you've got some time, maybe pick it up. There are definitely worst books out there and you may find yourself intrigued by the story in a way that I just was not. At the very least, you may find a character to despise as I did. Good luck! :)