Saturday, February 04, 2012

Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

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New Girl
Paige Harbison
Release date: January 31st, 2012
by Harlequin Teen

Goodreads / Purchase

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.

*A copy was provided by Harlequin for review purposes*

New Girl tells us the story of both Becca and “New Girl” simultaneously. “New Girl” – who I only realized past the half way mark has no name yet – is living in Becca’s shadow. Arriving at boarding school after Becca’s disappearance makes the others feel like she’s replacing their friend; their friend who came in with a bang and completely changed the school’s atmosphere.

Dual POV has become a favorite of mine. I love seeing both sides of the coin, getting to know the characters at a deeper level. In this case, it also helped with the suspense factor. Becca’s story is unveiled to us in small increments which makes it very intriguing. I was always looking forward to more of her chapters. Her character has a terrible personality of someone who is used to getting what she wants. She lies, she cheats, she’s overall a awful person. But god darn it is she ever entertaining! No matter how much I would hate knowing a person like her, she makes a good, fun story that I was overall fascinated with. Happening after Becca disappears, New Girl’s point-of-view gives us the after effects. Her hateful roommate thinks of her as a replacement. The rest of the school is not very welcoming either. This New Girl’s personality couldn’t be more different from Becca’s. She’s considerate, has self-respect (which Becca lacks greatly) and tries hard to fit in, but most of the time I just wish she’d defend herself better. Especially towards Dana -her roommate- who can be considerably cruel. I understand grief, but I couldn’t comprehend why everyone was so upset at New Girl. She barely did anything except get accepted to this school. It felt kind of overly dramatic.

I hardly cared for the romance in this novel. Both love interests were just not that interesting. Max is simply hard to grasp. He lets Becca lead him like a dog on a leash. I did like Johnny though, but I didn’t feel his connection with Becca. The mystery of the disappearance is what kept me glued to the book. I’m a sucker for mysteries and this one had me rushing through it. Becca’s story has such an ominous vibe to it. I was hoping for a shocking ending that unfortunately left me feeling underwhelmed. It wasn’t awful, I was just hoping for a bigger twist to it.

Although it failed to wow me, it was still an entertaining read that I mostly enjoyed. I would even recommend it. Especially to those who like mysteries and – surprisingly – Gossip Girl (Yes, I AM a fan! Don’t judge me. One word: Chuck! Another word: Nate! Ah heck, they’re all freaking awesome! (Well except for the prince *yawns*)). I also want to note that this is a retelling of the book Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, though I’m not able to make comparisons since I haven’t read the original. 

3 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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29 Responses to “Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison”

  1. Sam

    Great review, Giselle! I have read so many mixed reviews for this book now, that I don’t know what to expect any more. I guess I’ll just have to grab a copy myself and find out. 😀 It’s great you were able to like this even though it didn’t wow you.

    (And yay, Gossip Girl! ;))

  2. FABR Steph

    I have seen a lot of mixed reviews for this one. I happened to really enjoy it. I wouldn’t call any of it romance, but the scandal and manipulation of that Becca chick is pure reading drama, which I like on occasion.
    Great review.
    -FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews

  3. Heather@The Flyleaf Review

    I was more than halfway through the original Rebecca before I realized the narrator didn’t give her name too! I thought I had missed it, so I combed through what I had read and even checked online! After finishing the book I understood why she remains nameless:) I’m also hesitant to read this, because I did like the original, and I’m not sure this will hold it’s own against it. BUT, I do think it’s cool that a whole new audience is being introduced to du Maurier’s classic:)

  4. Aimee

    I didn’t realize until the very end that she didn’t have a name! I think the point of the “new girl” was that she didn’t get her own identity, she was the girl that stole the stop of their beloved friend. I didn’t care for either guy either. Great review!

  5. Amy

    I didn’t care for this book too much. I liked it enough, and I can see how other people love it, but it wasn’t really for me. I felt it was really unrealistic how people treated her, and I found a lot of the characters really just annoyed me. Wonderful review. (I never did get into Gossip Girl, but Ed Westwick is nice to look at.)

  6. Megan

    Great review. I think I’ll skip this one, I hate underwhelming endings.

    I used to love Gossip Girl, but then I started to get stressed out watching it. Everyone’s life was so messed up, I couldn’t handle it! It’s the same when I watched Mad Men. Those shows stress me out!

  7. Alexa

    I liked reading this one too, though it wasn’t a “wow” read for me either. It was well-written though, which I can appreciate.

    And Gossip Girl, yay! I’m totally team Chuck. And Nate. And maybe a little Dan.

  8. Audrey (Bibliosaurus Text)

    I think I liked this quite a bit more than you did. I’m hoping to write up my review this weekend, but this was one that made me read it faster than I normally would because I couldn’t put it down. I think it was meant to be overly dramatic because we’re seeing a lot of it from the New Girl’s point of view, which was WTF!? 🙂 Awesome review, and I’m glad to see what other people thought of the book.

  9. Danny

    OoOO I agree with you on the Dual POV which most definitely added to the suspense a lot! And although the romance was weak ( so was the love interest) but I enjoyed it a little more than you did! Great Review :))

  10. Gina @ My Precious

    Just finishing this one up myself. What a wild ride. I don’t think I liked any of the characters. They were all psycho, well with the exception of “The New Girl”, she was fairly level headed.

    The reason they withheld the name ties to the original “Rebecca” Its to signify her insignificance.

  11. KTJ

    ooooh I’m glad you ended up liking it a lot more than you thought you would! I have this sitting on my shelf, I probably would have started already except I’ve been stuck with a massive migraine these past two days, hopefully I’ll be able to read it soon, since I’m a sucker for mysteries also!

    -Kate
    Nomalicious Reads

  12. Maja

    I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy this more, Giselle. I seem to remember your status updates being pretty positive at the beginning, so I expected at least four stars. Sorry it didn’t work out that way.
    Awesome review, however. 🙂

  13. Giselle

    Thanks guys!

    @Maja : Yeah for the most part I was really enjoying this mystery that I thought would end with a bang. But then it just fell flat at the end. I still enjoyed the book (a 3-star for me is not bad), but I wish it would have been more shocking I guess!? I think if I had read Rebecca I would have liked it more too. I’ve been told anyways.

  14. Candace

    This is one I’ve read mostly bad reviews of with a few so-so reviews and one good review. I think I’ll skip it. I think it would annoy me a bit too much. Glad you liked it okay though!

  15. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would! I’d heard a lot of negative things there in the end, but I actually enjoyed it as well. I love just how different it was. Great review! You touch a lot of good points I agree with. 🙂

  16. Sarah (saz101)

    Oh, I agree with you COMPLETELY on this one. You’ve nailed it. I thought the characters interesting and entertaining, even if I didn’t *LIKE* them. And the love interests did NOTHING for me, either. YES! You are so right about the ominous vibe, but the ending… I’m so conflicted about this booK! Seems I’m not alone… but I don’t think it was a BAD book. The writing? Wow. It was So. BEAUTIFUL.

  17. Allison

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one! It was a harder read for me – I couldn’t even finish it. Most of the characters turned me off in a BIG WAY and I had no interest in reading about them.

  18. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    I had SUCH mixed feelings on this one. I think I would have loved it more if it hadn’t had the teens drunk, taking pills, partying on (what felt like) every other page. I think the author tried a little TOO hard to show a teen’s lifestyle. That said, although Becca was clearly loonybins, I did find her morbidly entertaining. And I was like you, expecting more from the ending.

    Agreed that fans of GG would probably like this book!

  19. A Canadian Girl

    “She lies, she cheats, she’s overall a awful person. But god darn it is she ever entertaining!” So very true.

    I pretty much hated this one but the only reason I finished it was because I wanted to know what happened to Becca too. It’s interesting seeing all the different opinions about New Girl.