Friday, 10 February 2012

Book Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

New Girl
Title: New Girl 
Author: Paige Harbison
Series: Standalone
Pages: 304
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Date of Publication: 31st January 2012
Source: netGalley
Synopsis 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 Thoughts:
I'll start by saying I'm kind of breaking my policy just this once, for this review. I HAVE NOT READ ALL OF THIS BOOK. I got to half way and I had to give up. I don't normally review books I have not finished, as I feel it is unfair as they may miraculously become awesome towards the end, but I feel like there are things I would like to say about this, and this is the best way for me to say it without sounding like I'm having a bitchy rant on Twitter, which is not what I want to happen, because I'm not.

I LOVE boarding school stories. Emotions and dramas are often exaggerated and heightened due to friends and frenemies living together 24/7, and if they are well written, they are AWESOME. So understandably, I had high hopes for this one, and I was left extremely disappointed rather quickly. The beginning was OK - it kept me reading for the first quarter, at least, and I was intrigued as to who Becca was and what happened to her and why she suddenly left so quickly at the end of the year. But, unfortunately, the further I got through the book, the more frustrated and quite frankly disgusted at Becca I got.

Everyone at Manderly thinks that Becca is perfect. She's blonde, sexy, and has a way with people that just makes everyone fall in love with her. She truly is one of those people that they describe as, 'all the boys are in love with her, and all the girls want to be her'. Well, sort of. Everyone in the book thinks that. I certainly do not. If I'm being completely honest, I thought she was a slut. She had sex three times with two different guys within the first 30% of the book, even though she wasn't in a relationship with either guy. She then goes on to say how she doesn't want people to think she's a slut and she cares about more than just sex, but really, what else am I meant to think?

And then there's the fact that she's EXTREMELY manipulative and cocky and just generally really annoying. She's stuck up and thinks she's amazing - and she believes she can get other people to do absolutely anything for her. And to an extent, she's right (everyone else in the book is a pushover) and it just really annoyed me that she could get away with everything. It made no sense! I think it was totally unrealistic.

And then there was the new girl (who narrates the story, yet we do not find out her name until the last page, apparently (so I don't know what it is because I haven't read all the book)) so I'm just calling her NG, for New Girl. She was a bit pathetic, if I'm honest. I get that she was new to the school and I understand that she found it hard to make friends, but she just didn't really do anything. However, I did enjoy her point of view a lot more than Becca's (it's alternating dual narrative), I have to say... ;)

And it wasn't just the two main characters who I didn't like. The rest of the characters in the school were also completely unrealistic - I understand that everyone's sad because they're all missing Becca and are worried about her, but they wouldn't have such a huge hatred for a girl who was given Becca's place in a school that she'd been wanting to go to for years and years... Maybe I'm being ignorant but I just can't see that happening in real life...But then again I've never been to boarding school so I don't really know.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend New Girl. I think it had a lot of potential from the premise, and I think it *could* have been good. However, it's badly let down by poor characters and it's laden with cringe-worthy scenes that I won't go into detail of here. Maybe if you're a huge fan of YA contemporary dramas then this would be your thing, but it most definitely wasn't mine. I've linked some reviews of this book below from people who've enjoyed it more than I did, so you can decide for yourself whether or not to read this book.

*Thanks to netGalley and HarlequinTEEN for allowing me access to this galley in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Other reviews of New Girl:
My Keeper Shelf
Books With Bite
Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on NEW GIRL. I'm one of the people who enjoyed the book. I really liked the drama. I agree Becca was more than annoying and disgusting, but I did like the new girl.

  2. This is a YA rewrite of "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier, but judging from your reaction, it sounds like it wasn't done very subtly or successfully. Have you read the original? It's a fantastic, creepy, gothic book - but I just hope that this version won't have ruined it for you if you haven't read it yet.

  3. I didn't like the start either but I persisted with it and thought it ended up being pretty good. (I haven't read Rebecca, but keep meaning to.) if you want to take a look at my thoughts - you never know, you might decide it's worth giving it another go. :)


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