Book Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

New Girl
Author: Paige Harbison
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Contemporary/Mystery
Release Date: January 31st 2012
Review Source: NetGalley
Available: Amazon

Summary: (from goodreads) 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.

I was once the new girl, entering high school, where I didn’t know a soul. Thankgoodness my experience wasn’t like the students of Manderley. New Girl by Paige Harbison begins with an introduction of our main character that remains nameless to the very end of the novel. She struggles greatly to fit into her new environment, with making friends, and adjusting to this new way of boarding school life. It becomes very apparent, that she has arrived at a gloomy time, where a popular student named Becca has gone missing. There are many speculations among the students regarding what has happened to their missing friend. Unfortunately, the new girl, that has taken Becca’s vacant spot at Manderley, must prove herself, to this new group of students, that she is who she is, and that she isn’t trying to take the place of the popular and beautiful, yet missing Becca.

The title and cover of this novel truly caught my attention before reading it. Unfortunately, the storyline is not original as it mirrors the 1940 movie Rebbecca and book by Daphne Du Maurier, which by the way is one of my most favorite classics to watch. However, I knew that it would be a novel that I was most interested in reading. The names are extremely close to the character’s names in the movie. Throughout the entire book there are 2 points of views rotating back and forth from chapter to chapter that got very confusing at times. If I stopped reading in the middle of the chapter, there were some times where I had to go back to the beginning of that current chapter to see who was talking. I found that the dialogue was very simplistic and lacked descriptive expression of their conversations. The transition of time throughout the novel was not smooth. It went very quickly through an entire school year, which did not lend to offering the reader more details in regards to the overall plot of the story. Finally, there were many moments that I felt were very unrealistic actions of a very, elite boarding school, which made some scenes in the novel extremely unbelievable. So… it took me longer to read this book than what was needed. When the end finally came, I was a happy reader. However, you must be the judge, if New Girl is for you.

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