Published by Harlequin Teen on 1/31/2012
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
I 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 And everyone acts like it's my fault that infallible, beloved Becca is gone and has been replaced by not perfect, completely fallible, unknown Me.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 can’t think of a single reason to like this book and I’m surprised I finished it. The characters were flat and vapid; I found myself loathing every single one of them. The most interesting character, Dana, was so incredibly unstable, she was annoying and whiny. The new girl, whose name we don’t learn until the very end of the book, felt so inconsequential that I actually don’t remember her name now. I like strong characters, or at least characters who grow through a novel, but the new girl just complained a lot that people at Manderley didn’t like her. Grow some backbone! The other interesting character, besides Dana, was Becca, whom the new girl replaced because she had gone missing. But she was only interesting because of her circumstance and the horrifying way she conducted herself around others (we do get to find out why later). There is a love triangle in this, so if you hate them, don’t read it. Personally, I don’t mind them at all, but in New Girl, I felt that it was weak, and when there was conflict, it was put there to keep things interesting. The plot point for Rebecca would have been alright, except that it dragged out and if you’ve ever read the book that New Girl is retelling, incidentally titled Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, then you can kind of guess how New Girl is going to end. Ergo, no surprises here, folks. Bummer. No author can really avoid pop-culture references in their books, and I love them when they are done right because it helps the reader identify with the book. But the one big one in New Girl that really stood out to me was “Paint me like one of your French girls” from the movie, Titanic. The line should be “I want you to draw me like one of your French girls.” Yes, it’s a nit-picky detail, but part of a book’s value is in the details, right? In Titanic, Jack was too poor to have any paints, therefore he used charcoal and paper. So this really bothered me. I also had a really big problem with the filler in this story: teens were drinking and carrying on all the time on school property. I mean, ALL. THE. TIME. There was tons of language about sex, blow jobs and getting drunk. I felt like it glorified this lifestyle. Hey, I’m no prude, but come on now. If you are going to include something like this in your story, at least trump it with a message for the kids reading your book. That didn’t happen here. I get it, this isn’t the bible and for god’s sake, it’s just a book, right? But what was the take-away from all that? I couldn’t figure it out. I think if the author had spent time fleshing out the characters and staying true to her genre (this is a young adult, after all), it could have gone a lot differently. I really liked the synopsis, which is why I asked to review the book. But overall, I didn’t like it and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone (I did, however, love the quote below).
If I walked out now, I’d be telling everyone they were right. If I left now, I’d be the coward who runs scared from the ghost of a girl who haunts the halls.
If you liked New Girl, check out: Putting Makeup On Dead People