by Paige Harbison
Published May 4th 2012 by Mira
(first published January 31st 2012 by Harlequin Teen)
Firstly, kind thanks to the publishers, Mira, for granting me the permission to review an early release of this book via Netgalley.
This book was read on my computer as the arc was to be downloaded onto abode..
A contemporary young-adult retelling inspired by the classic 1938 romantic suspense bestseller Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
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.
Firstly, many thanks to Mira for granting me the early review of this book for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. The arc was sent as a download version onto my laptop to read via Adobe. The book was published before my Harlequin Teen, but with a different book cover. To quickly discuss the book cover, there is such a difference between this one and the previous one, which i will include below. Initially, i did prefer the current version, but then the older one grew on me because after reading i could see how it connected to the story. However, when first looking at the cover with the title, you wouldn't have any clue what the book was about or what to expect. I know the saying is not to judge a book by it's cover but people do and they have expectations of what the story is about. The current cover does make you think of a schoolgirl with the book and the locker and the pop stripy socks, and with 'New Girl' title..it's bingo.
The storyline is of a girl starting a boarding school, which she has wanted to go to since she was younger. She got turned down at thirteen but her parents kept applying for her and she got a place for her last year at school, it meant she had to move quite far away. The only reason she got the place is because a student 'Becca' had disappeared. This whole storyline didn't fit that comfortably with me or seem that believable, that one, her parent would keep applying without her knowledge because what you want as you go through your teens changes- she got the idea of boarding school from Harry Potter books! Therefore, it could have just being a phase she was going through. Her parents had already paid in advance without her knowledge, which considering what i have just said seems a bit far fetched and a big risk. Plus, in the last year of schooling, the most important year, she would go to a new school, be uprooted, know no-one and risk affecting her grades, surely parents wouldn't do that and also would a teenager in this situation actually go when the idea has phased out. There were other 'situations' that occurred during the story that seemed so far-fetched and so questionable that it wasn't believable. I will mention these later in the review.
Apart from this, i really enjoyed the book. It was given from two points of view- Becca's and also the new girl- Interestingly we don't find out her name until the end! I didn't even realise this till past half way. The different view points made the story far more interesting as you got an all round view of the characters and events. It begins with both Becca and the new girl starting at the school and then alternates with the chapters, but thankfully it states whether it's Becca's chapter or not, so the reader doesn't become confused. It sort of answers questions that the new girl has, by giving Becca's side of the story, which is really from the past (the year before). The storyline is definitely enhanced by doing it this way rather than just a flat storyline from the new girl's view of starting the school.
There is several character's in this book that feature in both points of view-the main ones been; Dana, Max and Johnny. I easily took to the new girl's character, she is just your normal kind hearted teenager who aims to please. Becca was a complex character that i disliked initially, she was rude, arrogant, b*tchy, selfish, and i could go on but as the story goes on, you realise that this is all a front and really she's a lost and lonely person wanting to be loved and she does this by being the centre of attention. Becca's character is pushed by the narrator in my view, it's sort of spoon fed that 'this is how she is', she's not given the chance to develop from the reader's perspective. Now a character that is given this chance is Dana, the room mate to Becca and then the new girl. She is there, in the background and you aren't told about her but she seems sort of dark, miserable, moody and obsessive- you are not told from the narrator that she is x,y,z, if you get what i mean. This is fantastic because you discover it as a reader and you begin to understand and from that you get your answers and her character seems to blossom. Interestingly, part of the storyline is that Becca's belonging are still in the room that the new girl moves into, now i am sure this would not be the case in the school and they would move them! again another unbelievable part of the plot. However, the story wouldn't be the same if this didn't happen. Another character is Max, you see two very different sides of him from each of the girl's views and how he treats them differently. Johnny seems to be the same from both sides and is a kind caring guy with some mystery about him. Funnily enough both the girls fell for the same guy!!
The characters, even though in a boarding school, seem to party a lot (security taking no notice and umm what about the teachers?? so not believable again but hey never mind, the plot would not happen without this) and there is a lot of drinking, some drugs, and sexual encounters. It doesn't go into detail or be descriptive with the sexual encounters but you just know what is happening, and it happens so often and so freely. It didn't bother me too much but it wouldn't sit comfortably with some people, especially as they are teenagers. From the drinking and drugs we learn the effects and there is some horrid explanations and encounters which highlight the effects. There could be some underlining messages in this book for teenagers in relation to the opposite sex, partying, drinking and all that goes with it and what can happen. It feels bizarre reading a book that mentions Harry Potter and Facebook, how times change.
The story is a definite page turner, especially during some parts. It has an eerie and mystery feeling to it, with some creepiness (going to the boathouse!) whilst being completely captivating and intriguing because you want to know what has happened and from Becca's point of view you could find out why and how in more depth. To be honest, I think the ending needed a bit more of a thriller aspect but overall, this book has substance to it and for that i would definitely recommend it.
I have given this book 4 out of 5 stars.
This is the other cover.