Saturday, December 3, 2011

Last Night I Dreamt I Was At Manderley Again......

Expected Publication: January 31st, 2012
New Girl
By: Paige Harbison
ISBN-13: 9780373210428

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.


   When the New Girl gets accepted into Manderley Academy for her Senior year of high school she's less than thrilled.  When she was younger it was all she ever wanted - to go to boarding school.  Now, she has long since lost that dream and become blissfully happy, content in her own skin at last.  But her parents are so excited and they've already paid the tuition, so she goes anyways.  It turns out that a spot opened up at Manderley because Rebecca 'Becca' Normandy disappeared at the end of the previous year - when she was the new girl.  Of course New Girl is the new roommate filling Becca's empty of her room with Dana, who is extremely resentful that Becca's place is being filled.  Also, New Girl attracts the attention of Max Holloway, Becca's former boyfriend.  Their love was supposedley forever.  Johnny, the ex-best friend of Max, also takes an interest.  New Girl has to fight to be accepted as herself and not Becca's second-best replacement.  She doesn't want Becca's life, just her own.  But no one will let her have it that easily.  I really enjoyed Paige Harbison's modernization/retelling of Rebecca  by Daphne Du Maurier in a high school setting.  There was a shift between present events with the New Girl's perspective and the events of the previous year with Becca's.  It turns out that Becca was really unhappy, craved attention and nothing was ever enough.  She had distant parents and was always faking everyone out about the way her life really was.  Becca played a lot of games with Max and his best friend Johnny, when she never even felt anything for Max.  She only used him to gain notoriety and popularity in school.  Becca did really care for Johnny, but neither of the boys truly liked her.  They were really just using her too.  The whole book is spent in a shift between Becca's downward spiral of destruction and New Girl's odyssey for answers  about a girl who disappeared but is managing to make her miserable nonetheless.  It flowed really well and kept to the original premise that you never find out the main characters name, until the end when she was leaving.  In Rebecca you never find out at all, which is kind of the point.  It was really easy to become immersed in the over emotional rollercoaster that was New Girl.  The characters gripped me and the plot was scarily believable in a high school setting.  It sent chills up and down my spine.  That said, quite a bit of the time, New Girl's insecurity and self justification got hard to swallow.  It definitely took away from the overall enjoyment.  I highly recommend reading the original Rebecca first if you never have, otherwise you may be unable to appreciate this book for the truly difficult reshaping task it must have been. 

VERDICT: 3/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money was exchanged for this review. The expected publication of this book is January 31st, 2012.*

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