New Girl – Paige Harbison
Publisher: Mira INK
Release Date: 4th May 2012
Other Titles by this Author: Here Lies Bridget
The Queen Bee’s missing. Will you be next?
It’s hard fitting in as the new girl among the rich elite at Manderley Academy, especially when you’re assigned to the room of popular, perfect Becca – who disappeared. What really happened? And what other sinister secrets lurk in the school’s dark hallways?
Learning to survive Manderley’s cut-throat social scene, you can’t help but follow in Becca’s footsteps, even falling for Max, the boy she left behind. Although sometimes it seems that Becca’s still out there, watching you take her place.
Waiting to take it back.
I didn’t love Paige Harbison’s debut, Here Lies Bridget, but I decided to give New Girl a shot. I wasn’t as enamoured with it as I had hoped to be.
I was surprised to find that New Girl was written in split narration – my favourite format – to include chapters from Becca’s point of view. I didn’t expect to get to know the girl who was to inadvertently make the protagonists year at Manderley a living hell. If you’ve read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, unlike me, then you probably won’t be surprised that I can only refer to the main character of this novel as ‘new girl’ or the protagonist, because we don’t find out her name until a page before the end of the novel. I have to admit, this really irritated me. It’s such a crucial piece of information and I really didn’t understand why it wasn’t included – it didn't add another dimension to the story for me at all. Though for some, I’m sure it was barely noticeable.
While Becca’s chapters were interesting, they made me really dislike her at first. She was mean, manipulative and a little psychotic to be honest. But as her story progressed and we got closer and closer to the night she went missing, glimpses of the true girl behind the bitch became apparent. Becca is a vulnerable, broken and desperate little girl who goes about things the wrong way – I ended up feeling very sorry for her, though I still didn't like her. Dana was very similar in this way, for me, but I understood completely what had led her into being such a mess. But the one thing I realised about most of the girls in this book? They have no idea how to be a friend, Blake being one of the few exceptions.
I keep wondering if I would have enjoyed New Girl a little more if I had read Rebecca which this is based on, but I rarely enjoy reading about girls like these and that seems to be Paige Harbison’s trademark. I may give her next book a go, but I won’t be seeking it out. I do know that Paige’s books will be gobbled up in one sitting by readers not as picky as me!