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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

Published: January 31, 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen 
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance

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.

*I received this book as a galley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

When I started reading this I had no idea that it was a retelling of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, but after reading this I have an itching obsession to check it out. I absolutely loved New Girl, the synopsis and the tag line "What if nobody knew your name?" completely drew me in. Though I rarely read contemporary fiction, New Girl sparked my interest for it once more.

I had started it one night and finished it the next day while I was at my mother's house. The captivation and suspense filtered through the novel kept my interest in tact. I needed to know what happened, I needed to know if Becca Normandy was still alive, if they would ever find her, if she would ever come back. The overwhelming inclination to knowing made me fall in love with this book. The emotions that swelled while reading this novel took my breath away.

One thing that I really enjoyed about Ms. Harbison's writing in this novel was that she was able to stray away from revealing New Girl's actual name. In the beginning I thought that I had missed the introduction of herself, or her parents giving away what she was to be called by. As the novel progressed there was a lack of her name and I was finally able to understand that no one knew her name. She was New Girl. That was it. And I loved it. The fact that the characters don't even associate her with a real personal identification but a tag name like New Girl had me dying to know who New Girl actually was, what her actual name is. And luckily by the end the reader learns who she is.

When Becca's point of view becomes clearer with the progression of the novel and when the reader begins to see deeper into her persona, there is a clarification and understanding as to who and what Becca Normandy truly is. The concept of the "bearer of the masks" constitutes to her character fairly well. Playing a role of someone you're not, of dominating and maintaining authority over others, by playing a game with her own rules and always wanting to win; that is Becca Normandy. The quality of perfect that she wished upon herself and had everyone around her lusting over became her tragic fall as a character.

The emotions that I emitted from beginning to end could be made into an entire list. From the warm mushy feeling of New Girl beginning to fit in and find a possible love interest, to livid at the treatment of Dana and the characters that obsessed over Becca. The ending thought was absolutely beautiful and I doubt it could be made better. It was a sweet conclusion of a novel of drama, heartbreak, and delusion. 

I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a spice to their contemporary fiction, because this novel is jam packed with spice. When this hits stores I will definitely be buying myself a copy because I must read this again soon!

First Line: The panoramic view outside the windows of the bus showed a world that wasn't mine.

Story: XS

Cover: S


FABR Steph said...

I am glad to hear that you liked this one. I have seen some real mixed reviews, but enjoyed reading it myself. Great review. There is a linky at the end of my review for New Girl if you want to add a direct link to your review.
-FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews

Rebecca Hipworth said...

This sounds really good! :) I haven't heard too much about this one but I will definitely be checking it out. And that cover, it's gorgeous! I would definitely pick it up in a store. :)

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