Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: The New Girl by Paige Haribison

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: January 31rst, 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 304 pgs
ISBN: 9780373210428

Rating: 3 stars

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.

My Review: 
I received this copy from NetGalley for an honest review and I have to say I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading it.  I had read and reviewed Harbison's debut novel Here Lies Bridget and I had mixed feelings on that one too.  When I first started reading this novel I had no idea what it was about and as I started reading I realized that there were way too many similarities to the novel Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier for it to be coincidence.

-The novel is set at Manderly
-The missing girl in the book is named Becca, short for Rebecca
-There is a love triangle between two boys, best friends
-The narrator of the novel is never named but always referred to as "New Girl"

I could go on and on but I don't want to ruin too much of the plot.  So, without knowing it I had picked up a re-telling of DuMaurier's Rebecca.  I have to admit that while many people enjoy the classic Rebecca, I have never been a huge fan.  I always found the characters to be infuriating.  Well, not much is different with this book.  I found myself really disliking many of the characters in this book. 

Johnny and Max, for one, could not get their act together.  They claim to be best friends, yet they are both sleeping with the same girl even though they both don't really like her that much.  Why would you waste your friendship on something like that?  It seems like neither one of them can really speak their mind and in the end they string people along.  I found this to be really frustrating in the narration by New Girl.  Clearly, Max liked her but could never bring himself to commit because he felt guilty about his missing ex whom he never seemed to really enjoy anyhow.  

The girls in this book are downright nasty, mean girls.  Harbison is quite good at writing characters like this, as her novel Here Lies Bridget deals with this very thing.  New Girl's roommate borders on psycho and I couldn't imagine having to share a room with someone like that.  

I have to admit that while there were some things that I disliked about the novel, I did enjoy other things.  The writing for one is quite good.  It keeps you engaged until the very last page and I had no trouble reading this in 2 days.  This is saying a lot because I was in the middle of writing report cards this week and things were a bit hectic.  Harbison has a way of evoking your emotions in a way that you may not expect.  

Overall, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.  As I said, while it may not be my favorite book of 2012, it's not going to rank on my most hated books either. 

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