Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review: NEW GIRL by Paige Harbison(to be published January 31, 2012)

Courtesy of NetGalley(Harlequin Teen)

Rebecca "Becca" Normandy has been missing since last year, and left her spot at the prestigious private school, Manderly empty. So, New Girl(NG for short), unnamed, got Becca's spot, only to find that the real Manderly is far different from the one in her imagination. Becca, being the golden girl-popular, beautiful and whom everyone loves, seems to dominate Manderly still even when she's disappeard. NG is accused of trying to steal Becca's place by her roomie, Dana, and is warned not to go for Becca's ex-boyfriend and ex-fling. Everyone seems to despise her, except for Max and Johnny. The only problem is, the two guys who are not repulsed by NG are Becca's ex. Ah well, NG might just have to suck it up and stick to her senior year, no matter how hard it is, because, she is not a coward, and she will never live in Becca's shadow.

Beautiful and haunting, Harbison brings us a retelling of the well-known gothic novel, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, set in the technology-filled 21st century.

I like strong, independent leads, and the NG is one of them. Even when she's come to Manderly with hopes, only to be crushed by the people there, she stays strong despite the constant emotional abuse from her peers. It's beautiful that she doesn't realize how exceptional and capable she is. Becca, the new girl before NG, albeit pretty, is mean, selfish, and manipulative. She loses her virginity to a guy and threatens him to be with her, even when he doesn't love her, all the while lusting for the guy's best friend, and throwing herself all around. She's just that popular girl you love to hate, and in this case, compelled to hate. And the two guys, Max and Johnny, are just redundant and conflicting, though they tend to fall flat. Some of their actions-and fights- made no sense, though their loyalty towards each other as best friends is kinda sweet. And crazy roomie Dana is just too crazy for me to start with.

The voice of the narrator, a.k.a. NG, is clear and relatable, while Becca's chapters are demanding equal attention as well. The story is another like of mine. I like the how NG is dumped into a new school, with shoes too big for her to fill. I like the twisted way Becca manipulates people into doing what she wants. I like the mystery in between the romance.  Plus the fact that we didn't know what's the NG's name until the last page. Really, it's on the the last page.

However, there are still some flaws in this novel. Harbison's attempt to explain Becca's irrational actions are well thought but not thorough enough. Romance: not convincing enough. And Max and Johnny are annoying, even if they're hot. The ghost scenes(yes, ghost scenes) are a little out of place, and unnecessary.

The other thing that's not contributing is the sex and party the kids indulge in. I just don't think dorm kids could, or would party that hard. There's one scene near the ending, where Becca's talking to NG about the truth, is preachy, and again, unnecessary, as it's just a retelling of the events earlier. Maybe the author didn't think us readers could figure out the truth.

Flaws aside, New Girl actually made me think about bullying, partying and sexual harassment. New Girl deals with those, and a few more. It explores how peer pressure and the need for attention could affect someone's life. In this novel, you see how one tiny action changes a person's life into a road down hill. Harbison is sending heavy messages to readers by her novel.

New Girl is a special kind of story, though not without flaws, it will grab you with it's intense atmosphere, startling romance and nutsy teen hormones.

The cover is at the same time suiting and unsuiting. I get the water idea, but the girl is not the NG, or Becca, so...

Ratings: 4 stars

For more info about the book or author, please click here

1 comment:

Hi! Welcome to my sweet heaven of words. Please, feel free to say anything, and leave a link if you want me to visit your blog. Have a nice a day, and keep reading written words! And do remember to leave me a message if you're following me!

Related Posts with Thumbnails