21 January 2012

Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

Title: New Girl
Author: Paige Harbison
Published: 31st Jan 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Source: eARC thanks to NetGalley and HarlequinTeen

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. - From Goodreads

This book is a retelling of the story of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. If you have ever read the original book you will know that it is a dark chilling tale about a new wife stepping into the void left by the last Mrs de Winters. Rebecca is set in an old mansion called Manderley which is cared for by Mrs Danvers who was obsessed with the previous Mrs de Winters, Rebecca, and who has little time for the new Mrs de Winters. I love the story of Rebecca and "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" is the famous opening line that always draws me back in to the book every time I pick it up.

I found this book to have the same cold and chilling feel to it, set in a cold old school called Manderly, the New girl comes in to take the place of missing Becca. No one knows where Becca is or why she left but it is clear that the other students will not be quick to forget her. The worst offender for making the new girl feel unwelcome is Dana Veers, her room mate and Becca's old room mate. Switching between the story of the new girl and Becca we see the mystery of what happened to Becca unravel before our eyes.

The interesting thing I found with this book was that as a reader I felt exactly as the new girl did. I felt shut out from what had happened. I did not know why New Girl was being shunned and I did not understand the behaviour of the other characters. As a reader this left me feeling rather isolated. However the character of New Girl and the way the story unfold pulls you along and keeps you wanting to know more. The other characters also help bring life to the story, especially Max.

I loved Max as a character. He seems quite one dimensional to begin with, as the jilted lover left alone after the disappearance of Becca, but the more the story unfolds, the more depth he has. I found some of his actions to be quite interesting and left me wanting to know more about him.

Since I was familiar with the original story, I knew the plot twist and some of the detail of what was going to happen. This in no way reduced my enjoyment of the book as this was a fresh take on a great story. The change in situation from a new wife in a manor house, to the new girl in school gave this an interesting perspective and I enjoyed reading the book from start, almost to the finish. There is one detail of the story that I loved and to me was what put Rebecca on my favourite book list, and unfortunately right at the end this is shattered for me in the book and left me feeling a little annoyed. There is a chance that I am just being picky, but for me it was a deal breaker.

This book is a great read for those familiar with Rebecca, and for those who are new to the story. A chilling high school mystery with some bad girl behaviour and a hot guy, what more can you ask for?

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I enjoyed this book as well, and even though I'd never heard of the original book (I had no idea one existed), it makes me want to read the original now.

    Nerd Girls at Books to the Sky