Release Date: January 31st, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: NetGalley, from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
New Girl by Paige Harbison
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
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.
Oh dear. That was my immediate reaction upon finishing this book. Notice I gave it two stars and not just one, which means there was something positive to be had here. Just not a whole lot. Let me go digging in my notes to find it. Ahhh...there it is. The story. It was a retelling of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I thought the idea of the story was fantastic. If only it had been written by a different author.
Let's discuss that. This is the first book I have read by this particular author. It will also be my last. I do not care for her writing style. And that's putting it nicely. It is littered with adverbs ending in -ly. There are unnecessary dialogue tags. There is a significant amount of telling. Descriptive passages are far and few between. All of this lends itself to a book that doesn't flow particularly well. The writing is, simply put, bad. There's a whole lot more I could say about that, but let's keep it short and sweet. No need to ramble.
Moving on to the characters. They were okay. There wasn't a whole lot of depth there, but I wouldn't say they were exactly flat either. It was somewhere in between. I did feel uncomfortable because of the way some of the students were treating the "new girl." So that was something positive I guess. It did make me feel something. But at the same time, I didn't get why everyone loved Becca. I didn't understand why Max continued to put up with her garbage. I would have dumped her *ss on the pavement in front of the entire school. But that's just me. So, no, I don't understand a lot of the characters' motivations.
Another thing I didn't understand? Why the author held the "new girl's" name until the end of the book. Why? What purpose did that serve? I thought it was quite stupid, to be honest. Also, how the story opens. No sane parent would believe that their teenage daughter would want the same thing she wanted when she was 13. To go to a boarding school because it sounded cool. They never had a discussion about this over the four years in between? Yeah, right, okay, whatever. Not buying this. The author could have gone in a different direction. Any other excuse would have been better. That one didn't work. In the least.
And that is it in a nutshell. The entire book was meh. Just mediocre all-around. Bad writing, decent storyline, but there was a whole lot of corny, and a pretty stinky story arc. I gave it two stars, so I didn't hate it, AND I managed to read it all, so at least it held my attention. But I honestly don't think the bad writing I had to slog through was worth it. Take from this what you will.
If you want to buy this one, you are on your own. I don't endorse it, however, and as such, Google is your friend.