Welcome to Manderley AcademyI hadn't wanted to go, but my parents were so excited…. So here I am, the new girl at Manderley, a true fish out of water. But mine's not the name on everyone's lips. Oh, no.It's Becca Normandy they can't stop talking about. Perfect, beautiful Becca. She went missing at the end of last year, leaving a spot open at Manderley—the spot that I got. And everyone acts like it's my fault that infallible, beloved Becca is gone and has been replaced by not perfect, completely fallible, unknown Me.Then, there's the name on my lips—Max Holloway. Becca's ex. The one boy I should avoid, but can't. Thing is, it seems like he wants me, too. But the memory of Becca is always between us. And as much as I'm starting to like it at Manderley, I can't help but think she's out there, somewhere, watching me take her place.Waiting to take it back.
I read Paige Harbison's debut novel last year, and while I didn't completely love it, I still enjoyed it quite a bit and have been eagerly anticipating her future books ever since. Therefor, when I caught wind of New Girl, I knew I had to read it, and luckily enough, it was even better than I expected! Mysterious, fast paced, and deliciously creepy, New Girl by Paige Harbison offers a fantastic new twist to the classic Rebecca while crossing the lines between contemporary and paranormal.
Manderley Academy hasn't been the same since Becca Normandy arrived and then suddenly departed the previous year. Becca was infamous for her bad and mysterious ways that lured boys to her and made girls want to be just like her. Becca was the queen of the school, and ever since she left one night and didn't come back, everything has changed. However, at the start of the new year, New Girl, the first new student since Becca, enters the scene. Unlike Becca, New Girl isn't instantly loved or adored. More accurately, nobody wants anything to do with her... except Max Halloway, a nice and swoon worthy boy as well as Becca's ex-boyfriend. New Girl is instantly charmed by him, even though the Manderley student population has left her know he's "off limits." But what happens when the lies and secrets of Manderley academy start poring out and secrets and lies beyond Becca's disappearance comes out of the woodwork bit by bit? Only more time and pages can tell in this thrilling read perfect for a late, sleepless night!
New Girl has a lot of good things going for it, and one of those things is definitely the premise as well as the plot. When I first sat down to read New Girl, I only planned to read a chapter or two and then go to bed. Instead, I ended up flying right through the whole novel, because I NEEDED to know what was going to happen next. I wanted to know why Becca was the way she was. I wanted to know why Becca suddenly disappeared. Better yet, was she dead or alive? Most importantly, would New Girl ever be given her chance to shine and let her voice be heard? There were seriously so many questions, and the pace at which Paige reveled everything was tantalizing and perfectly done, especially when she added in a little twist or two I never saw coming. Anther of this book that was wickedly awesome was the fact that the main character remained nameless until the very, very end. Until the end when it was finally reveled, I barley even noticed, and that, everyone, is the sign of a greatly plotted tidbit!
The characters in this one were ones I didn't particularly like but still enjoyed reading about. Becca was certainly an interesting girl. I couldn't get over how catty and superficial she was when the story first introduced her point of view. However, as the story progressed and her character was developed further, I began to understand her character a bit more, and even though I still didn't particularly favor the majority of her choices, it gave me a new level of understanding. New Girl, on the other hand, was a character I liked from the start, even though the majority of her school didn't feel the same. New Girl was someone who didn't take other peoples crap, especially when it involved taunting and teasing her because she wasn't Becca. She truly managed to stand up for herself throughout, and while most would sink under her circumstances, she truly managed to grow strong and wiser throughout it. I also enjoyed reading about the secondary characters in this one as well. Max as well as Johnny were interesting additions as well as characters I enjoyed reading about. I even liked seeing Dana evolve as a character throughout, because even though she wasn't the most sane of people, she still played an essential and noteworthy part in the story.
Lastly, I have to say, Paige Harbison has truly grown as a writer in this one! I was blown away by how seamlessly she created the plot in this one as well as how perfectly she ended it. I was looking forward to reading more by her after Here Lies Bridget, but now that I've read this one, she's become a must read author in my eyes!
One of a kind and fully engrossing, New Girl by Paige Harbison is a book I can't suggest highly enough! Trust me me why I say: this is one book you don't want to miss!
Source: Publisher via Netgalley (Thanks Harlequin Teen!)