by Paige Harbison
Publication Date: January 31st, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
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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. (Goodreads)
The story starts off with the main character, the New Girl, starting off in a new private school; Manderly Academy. Miles away from her family and friends, but looking forward to a fresh start, the New Girl goes to the school not knowing that she’s falling in the previous New Girl, Becca Normandy’s shadow. Becca’s disappearance is the only reason the New Girl even has a spot at the school, but New Girl is not Becca, and everyone is quick to let her know this.
I found most of the characters of the book to be pretty unlikeable, and I wonder if this is how the author wanted us to feel for them. I really disliked the way they all treated the New Girl. I do like that the New Girl was pretty headstrong, for the most part, and in the end just didn’t care what people thought about her. I always find that admirable in a female character. I found Becca to be just a horrible person all around; I didn’t care for her at all. The love interest in the story, Max, was a bit wishy-washy for me, although I did grow towards him a little more towards the end of the book.
The thing that stood out the most about this book was the mystery that surrounded the storyline. This definitely kept me hooked while reading the book, because I just wanted to know what happened with the mysterious Becca. It was also a little disconcerting to go throughout the whole book not knowing what the main characters name was. We do finally find out at the end of the book what it is, and it’s such a pretty name, that I wish it had been used more in the book. However, I enjoyed the suspense of waiting to see if the name would ever be revealed.
This book also has a lot of sexual related content. Some of it was very disturbing, and some of it I was a bit surprised to see in a YA novel. There were also mentions of drug and alcohol use. I found this to be very realistic, and it’s definitely something I could see happening in a private boarding school. Due to these mentions, I wouldn’t recommend this for the younger YA crowd.
Overall, this was a really different read for me, full of teenage drama and turmoil. Although most of the characters were unlikeable, I liked the main character, and the mysterious storyline kept me intrigued. This book also really makes me want to pick up Rebecca by du Maurier right away!