New Girl by Paige Harbison
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: January 31, 2012
Genre: YA, mystery, romance, coming-of-age
Author Website: http://www.paigeharbison.blogspot.com/
Summary from NetGalley: A contemporary young-adult retelling inspired by the classic 1938 romantic suspense bestseller Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
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.
Review: "New Girl" (who is not named but once near the end of the book) leaves her friends & family in Florida to attend Manderly Academy in the north. She had wanted to go there when she was younger, but grew out of that idea. However, her parents got her in - her senior year - and she did not want to tell them that she changed her mind. So, now she is the new girl.
When New Girl gets to Manderly Academy, she finds out she is filling a slot vacated by a missing girl, Becca Normandy. Becca mysteriously turned up missing at the end of the previous school year. Becca had been the new girl the previous school year. She was popular - very well liked and missed by many students at the Manderly - especially her roommate Dana.
The story is a bit creepy, but very intriguing. You have to keep going back for more. The chapters alternate from being told about Becca, and then being told about New Girl. You are able to pick up on many connections between the two girls - as well as the differences, and the struggles of New Girl to be recognized for herself and not be compared to Becca.
There are elements of coming-of-age as well as mystery. New Girl struggles to find her identity at Manderly, and to build relationships with the other students and the boys at Manderly and keeping friendships going with those she left in Florida. There are many references to theories about Becca's disappearance, as well as possible sightings.
This book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it. There were characters you loved and those you loved to hate. The plot kept me guessing the whole time. It wanted to veer toward being predictable, but ultimately was not. The author's style of writing was very concise & detailed. She really delivered the story.
New Girl is a retelling of a classic novel Rebecca by Daphe Du Maurier. I did not know this when I first started to read New Girl, but found out later as I was blog hopping and reading reviews. I have never read Rebecca, but now really want to so that I can compare the books.
Caution: there are references to sexual content