Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

New Girl by Paige Harbison

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (January 31, 2012)

Goodreads Description:

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 is a modern YA version of the classic book Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (which is one of my favorites). I've been hoping for some time now that an author would retell this story and when I came across this book I was excited to read it. My standards were set very high since Rebecca is a story I love and I was worried that I would be overly critical because of that and not enjoy the story. Although I felt the story could use some improvements here and there, overall I was impressed. There were many little details that really tied in to the original story so well. For example, one of the character's names is Dana Veers (a play on the original character's name, Mrs. Danvers). It took me a few chapters to really see a similarity in plot between the stories but it got there eventually and was really a great modernization of it with young adult characters.

There were only two problems I had with the story. The main issue for me was that the main character's name (the "new girl" Callie) is known and used throughout the story. In Rebecca the main character's name is unknown and the reason for that is meaningful. In New Girl I think that this should have been carried over. It could have easily been done. The only other problem I had was that the story skipped ahead so often. Sometimes months would be skipped and it just didn't feel felt more like there were holes in the story.

The location and the characters make up for any faults I found with the story. A boarding school was the ideal location and Manderly Academy has an oppressive and slightly eerie atmosphere that is perfect for this book. Some of the characters were obvious match ups to characters in Rebecca and it was fun figuring out who was who and how their personalities compared. The main character was okay but for me it was all about the supporting characters. Dana was my favorite character in New Girl. She was obsessed, creepy, and crazy which made for some interesting reading. I loved how this story played out and I wish I could read more about the characters and what their lives are like after leaving Manderly Academy.



I received this for review from Netgalley. Any opinions expressed are my own.



Amber at The Musings of ALMYBNENR said...

"The main issue for me was that the main character's name is known and used throughout the story. In Rebecca the main character's name is unknown and the reason for that is meaningful."

I kinda stopped here. I read this a few times and I'm still afraid I'm reading it wrong. I've also never read Rebecca (but hope to now!) for the record. I guess this comment confused me because it depends on who you're considering as the main character. I finished New Girl last night and considered the "new girl" as the main character. Did you consider Becca as the main character?

I've never read Rebecca so I think that's why I'm a bit lost.

throuthehaze said...

I consider the "new girl" the main character as well. I edited the post to clarify this. Thanks for the feedback and I hope you do read Rebecca because it is such an awesome book!

Amber at The Musings of ALMYBNENR said...

Thanks for the clarification! Thanks for the review. I'm hearing from you and another blogger about Rebecca and it's definitely on my list to read. I have to check for it from the library. I was told there is a Hitchcock movie as well! I had no idea about any of this when I read the book, but it's exciting.

I definitely agree with you about Dana. She was all those things but she did make things really interesting.

DMS said...

This sounds like an interesting book. I will have to read it to see how it plays out- but I think your review is honest and helpful. The fact that you want to read more about the characters says a lot! The cover has such pretty colors!


Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

as long as the characters are great, i will probably like it!! great review!

DMS said...

I haven't read Rebecca- but I would love to read it and then read New Girl. Sounds like an interesting book!