Author: Paige Harbison
Pub: 2012; Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling
Etc: shout out to my peeps at netgalley!
You wanna know something funny folks? Sometimes I forget about the books that I choose to read. Call this a hazard to book addiction. Mostly I dig the forgetfulness. It's a win of both worlds - knowing that the book interests me AND being able to be surprised by it. New Girl fell into this winning category 'cuz about a third of the way through it I couldn't help but notice the similarity between it and Rebecca. I might as well have hit myself with a tree branch because after reading the synopsis on Net Galley shortly after finishing the book I couldn't help but expect it's nod to Rebecca was the reason why I requested it to begin with.
And man, did the book do it justice and there was truly only one gripe I had with the book. (Well, mostly one gripe. Only one gripe I'm going to gripe about here...) I could not buy in with how our leading lady makes way to the boarding school, Manderly. Cuz this is what you're suppose to buy in - our very own new girl desperately wanted to get into Manderly when she was 13 but didn't/couldn't go. Her parents, being the loving and doting rents that they are, remembers this dream and surprises her senior year with the GREAT NEWS - you're going to Manderly.
Yeah, like that wouldn't suck for anyone, right? But that's okay because it can't be that bad. Except it is because now New Girl has to live in Becca's shadow. Becca, the manipulative girl who disappeared one night after getting into an argument with her boyfriend Max and his best friend, Johnny. I should also mention that Becca disappeared during a party at the boathouse. *nudge* *nudge*
Also, you might wanna know why I continue to refer to the other girl as New Girl? Simply enough her name isn't revealed (another *nudge*) until the very end (which indeed changed this up some from the original Rebecca).
So let me discuss this book briefly under two different microscopes.
As a retelling of Rebecca, with the exception of the hey you're going to Manderly news, Harbison did a magnifique job. There were enough tellings in the novel that pointed in the direction of Rebecca without going completely mirrored copy of. Becca was a spiteful and manipulative little girl and Harbison did an amazing job crafting this villainous character. I don't think that there has ever been a teen character that I've despised as much as Becca. And this is even with knowing her whys and attempts at altruism. And clearly, I mean attempts with a shrug.
Second microscope - New Girl as a novel standing on its own from the point of view of not ever reading Rebecca. It's still well-done. *applause* The pacing is perfect. I mean, like, I woke up at 4am to feed the cats (don't ask) I found myself stealing in a couple of chapters before I feel back asleep. Coming from someone who is NOT a morning person, that within itself speaks volumes. I'd stress that what really intrigued me the most about the book is Becca's character. New Girl held her own, mind you, but I don't know any seventeen year old that strong to go against a whole school who obviously doesn't want you there.
I don't think that this was suppose to be a deep novel though. Instead, it relies on being intense and driven. Which is perfectly fine. Plus, big bonus - there was no love triangle.
[Irrlevant side note - I'm not the least bit impressed with the cover. I don't find it fitting at. all.]
Book will be coming out the end of January. Definitely check it out for a fast-paced Friday night read.