Monday, 6 February 2012

Review ~ New Girl ~ Paige Harbison

Title: New Girl

Author: Paige Harbison

Published: 31st January 2012

By: Harlequin

Source: netgalley

First line: The panoramic views outside the windows of the bus showed a world that wasn’t mine.

Last line: And as I left for the last time, I could have sworn I saw a tall, thin blonde girl standing at the entrance of Manderley.

Fave line: No, no, say no. “Sure”.

New girl is a re-telling of the Daphne Du Maurier classic Rebecca which I have to confess I haven’t read so I’ve come to this title anew. It tells the story of Callie, whose name incidentally we do not find out until the end of the book and who is for the most part just referred to as new girl. As we begin this tale New Girl finds herself relocating to Manderley, a prestigious boarding school that she aspired to years earlier and where a vacancy has unexpectedly arisen. We soon find out that the reason for the vacancy is the unexplained disappearance of one of its pupils, namely Becca. Becca was by all accounts the life and soul of the party and for some strange reason, New Girl finds that most of the residing pupils seem to begrudge her arrival, assuming that she is in some way trying to take the place of their missing friend, none more so than her new roommate Dana with whom Becca used to reside.

The story is told from two POV, New Girl’s and Becca’s. Over the course of the story we learn more about Becca and the events which lead to her disappearance as well as witnessing the struggle New Girl goes through to forge friendships in an environment which has shown her little more than pure hostility.

From the outset I detested the sociopath that is Becca. She’s promiscuous in order to gain notoriety among her peers, she is a perpetual liar who manipulates everyone around her and she will tread on anyone that threatens to damage the partygirl-loved-by-all image she has so carefully crafted for herself. New Girl on the other hand is honest, trying to live by her principals and you can’t help but pity her as she is so unfairly treated, particularly by Dana whose behaviour made me suspicious of her throughout the book. Her reactions depict something more than grief over the loss of a friend. The two male protagonists, Max and Jonny seem almost spineless at times, as though they are easily manipulated in their grief and perhaps guilt as Dana weaves webs around them. It was a relief to finally see Max begin to find his own strength towards the end of the book.

The story is almost like a puzzle. At the beginning there are a thousand fragmented pieces, coming from different perspectives which we gradually watch being put back together and by the end of the book we are finally able to see the bigger picture. In this respect I guess it fits into the mystery genre very well and I thought Harbison tied things up nicely for all the major players. I thought this was a really enjoyable read!

4/5 New Girl certainly does keep you guessing until the end. Would absolutely recommend!


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