New Girl by Paige Harbison
Welcome to Manderley Academy
I hadn’t wanted to go, but my parents were so excited… So here I am, the new girl at Manderley, a true fish out of water. But mine’s not the name on everyone’s lips. Oh, no.
It’s Becca Normandy they can’t stop talking about. Perfect, beautiful Becca. She went missing at the end of last year, leaving a spot open at Manderley— the spot that I got. And everyone acts like it’s my fault that infallible, beloved Becca is gone and has been replaced by not perfect, completely fallible, unknown Me.
Then, there’s the name on my lips— Max Holloway. Becca’s ex. The one boy I should avoid, but can’t. Thing is, it seems like he wants me, too. But the memory of Becca is always between us. And as much as I’m starting to like it at Manderley, I can’t help but think she’s out there, somewhere, watching me take her place.
Waiting to take it back.
This book is a retelling of Rebecca, which was my first favorite book. I read it when I was 13; it was my first foray into an “adult romance,” and the dark, gothic feel of it set the standards, as well as opened up a whole genre of literature my young teenaged self had never experienced. The rest, you could say, is history.
Therefore, you can understand why Rebecca holds a most dear spot in my heart. I’ve read the “sequels,” I’ve read the rewritings, and honestly, retellings don’t even have to be that good, because I’m hungry for anything remotely close toRebecca. This book started off so promisingly, but it failed in one way: “Becca” is a bitch.
I should clarify. I liked the writing. I liked the main character, who had more personality in her than “I” in the original Rebecca ever did. But the book fucked up the character of Rebecca, and that I cannot forgive.
Rebecca is a woman of mystery. In the original book, she was never present, but she was so present. Her ghost, her memory, all of it was pervasive, because her character was so strong, so utterly fascinating. So memorable, so remarkable, she evoked the strongest of emotions, good and bad, within everyone whose life she touched. She is a whisper in the night, a shadow in the hall, there, but never there. Rebecca’s air of mystery, her seductiveness – to both men and women, her elegance, her beauty, and the memory of such made her a character immemorial.
The “Becca” in this book is a huge bitch. A huge – dare I say it – slut. The author wrote her to be a promiscuous character for the sake of slut-shaming her and making her despicable, and I can’t forgive that. She is a Mean Girl. She is a jerk. She’s the equivalent of Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian – and with all due respect, those women hold no fascination for me.
I don’t hate this book. I am disappointed by it.