Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review of New Girl by Paige Harbison

Title/Author: New Girl by Paige Harbison
Publisher/Date published: HarlequinTEEN, January 31st 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "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."

So I absolutely LOVED Rebecca when I read it a year and a half ago. It was amazing and creepy and just wonderfully suspenseful and everything I could want from such a novel. So when I saw that there was a YA retelling of it, of course I clicked that request button!
And while with Rebecca I felt that I was right there with the main character, in New Girl that never really happened for me.

I liked the way Paige Harbison converted the marriage and living in Manderley to a boarding school and a really awkward teenage non-relationship (and let's face it, haven't you ever been in a relationship that wasn't classified as such? Or is that just me?). I also really liked the main character who, like the main character in Rebecca, remains nameless and is just referred to by everyone as 'new girl'. I especially liked that our main character developed a back bone throughout it all and defended herself against her roommate who's extremely nasty to her and all the others in the school who voiced the opinion that she could never live up to the legacy of Becca Normandy. I had infinitely more respect for her after she decided that she didn't have to be like Becca, she was a person worth knowing in her own right and shouldn't be compared to the girl that went missing.

But really, while I liked Maxwell in Rebecca, the Max Holloway in New Girl by no means lived up to him. Seriously, I would have dumped his ass and not accepted his apologies every freaking time. I really, really didn't like him for most of the novel, in the end he redeems himself somewhat, but he was seriously messed up.

The point of view switches between Becca and our nameless main character, which was pretty interesting, but the chapters narrated by Becca were really hard to read for me, cause well, Becca is a bitch. Seriously. I cannot for the live of me find one thing about her character that I liked. She was manipulative and just kind of crazy.

I did enjoy the story and I loved the character growth the main character went through. I also thought this modern adaptation was incredibly fitting and loved recognizing the elements from the original story as they appeared in New Girl. I didn't really care for New Girl's dream towards the end though, but that's something to just forget about quickly. This was an enjoyable read that has all kinds of human craziness in it!

My rating: 3 stars


  1. I had some of the same feelings. I thought it was a worthy modern retelling, but Max was not as appealing as Maxwell. I thought it was very entertaining, though. Great review!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  2. I feel you about Becca!! her chapters were so hard to read because I just didn't care about her since she was so bitchy.

    And yeah, I never got why Max was so great other than because he was handsome.

  3. This book made me think while I read it, for real. There were so many questions, so many interesting moments. I enjoyed it when I read it a while back!