Saturday, February 4, 2012

Book Review: New Girl

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.

Goodreads: 3/5 stars

**ARC courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

My review:

First, let me start by saying this: I love Paige Harbison’s work. I enjoyed Here Lies Bridget and I enjoyed New Girl. I think many would disagree with me (judging by the ratings on Goodreads), but Harbison has the ability to create vivid, three-dimensional characters that walk off the page.

With that said, however, I was a little disappointed with New Girl. It’s a story about a “new girl” replacing Becca—the girl who everyone loved, the girl who is now missing and has been for months. Everyone has mixed feelings about the new girl, but there are some who see her as a stand-in until Becca’s return. The new girl (whose name we don’t learn until the end of the book, and whose name I won’t reveal) is constantly set up by Becca’s friends, and she also has a thing for Becca’s ex. To her, it seems Becca is everywhere, even though she’s nothing but a phantom of the past.

While I love Rebecca and I loved the eerie vibe Manderly Academy exuded, I just felt as if much of the same details were repeated—the new girl can’t date Becca’s ex, the new girl can’t be friends with Becca’s friends, the new girl looks too much like Becca, Becca will return, Becca this, Becca that. And I understand it’s about filling a missing person’s shoes, but there were so many times I wanted the new girl to stand up for herself. Too many instances passed where she didn’t give herself enough credit.

All in all, though, it was a pleasant read. I liked the characters and I liked the setting. I’d recommend this for anyone who loves a contemporary mystery.

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