New Girl by Paige Harbison (Received an advanced copy through NetGalley.)
Ever since she was little she had dreamed of going to Manderly, a private school with ivy covered walls that only a select few are accepted. In her own way she’d be just like Harry Potter. But that was when she was fourteen, just a mere freshman. Now, at seventeen, her dream is coming true, and she isn’t so sure she wants it anymore.
Not wanting to disappoint her parents she packs her up the only comfortable life she’s ever known and loved and moves to Manderly for her senior year. It’s only a year, how bad could it be?
But it isn’t what she expected. It’s isn’t just like the pictures in the brochures. And the students, they aren’t what she expected either. No one’s even trying to be nice to her?! They immediately christened her ‘new girl’. They whisper about her constantly, saying the only reason she’s here is because Rebecca “Becca” Normandy isn’t. No one knows where Becca is, what happened to her, or if she’s even dead or alive. But Becca’s presence still lingers all over Manderly. And now that she’s gone, someone has to pay. Unfortunately, it’s the new girl who will.
She tries her hardest to adjust to life at Manderly. But being the new girl isn’t easy. Especially when her roommate Dana verbally assaults her, accusing her of trying to steal Becca’s life and identity. It seems she’s the new girl that everyone tries to avoid, but seemingly can’t. Especially Max Halloway, Becca’s boyfriend, or now, ex-boyfriend.
What happens if Becca comes back? What happens once she’s not the new girl anymore?
New Girl, a thrilling retelling of Daphne Du Maurier’s classic novel Rebecca*, is author Paige Harbison’s second novel. And boy, is it a doozy.
New Girl is full of mystery and intrigue. The two biggest mysteries between the pages are: what happened to Becca Normandy? And does the new girl have a name? Harbison excels at answering these and any other questions that arise from reading New Girl with clear skill. But not before making readers play a rousing guessing game.
Even though New Girl is a retelling Harbison has managed to, not only reinvent it in a fresh new way, but has put her own stamp upon it. She didn’t just rewrite a classic. It feels like she’s breathed new life into a story that young adults may not know even exists.
Harbison’s characters are realistic, and all play very specific parts in the overall story. There isn’t a character who isn’t a part. If they’re mention, there’s a reason. Both the new girl and Becca get equal stage time. Told from alternating perspectives, readers will gain a well-rounded view, of not only their two very separate, different lives, but also the two sides to this one story.
New Girl is a fun, captivating second novel that will not disappoint Harbison fans.
*I haven’t read the original classic, gothic story of Rebecca. Having not read the original didn’t make a difference when reading. For me, talking New Girl, as is, at face value, I found it to be a story that could stand on its own.