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.
Harlequin Teen has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel prior to its release today, and I must say I am extremely grateful as this is such a great read!!! I love the story Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier, so when I heard Harbison was writing a YA version of the classic, I knew I had to read it stat!! And, let me tell you, Harbison did an amazing job keeping close with the classic and, though there are some holes within the story itself, I still really enjoyed it. The part I liked the most about this retelling is that we actually get to see Becca’s side of the story. New Girl and Becca intertwine the pages, both past and present being revealed as the story progresses. I thought it was a really great writing technique to hit upon something happening in the present to New Girl, and then re-direct to the past when it was happening to Becca. And, although I really hated Becca, it gave me so much insight into her personality, aside from Max’s and the other characters’ versions of her, that I was able to draw my own conclusions about her. I really liked this addition to the classic retelling.
While I really did enjoy Max as a character, he is much more of a playboy than I would have liked him to be. Yes, he’s kind, gentle, and sexy, but he’s also a “bad boy.” However, as much of a playboy as he turns out to be, I must commend Harbison on how she deals with all the sex within the novel. I’ve been noticing that more and more YA books are delving into explicit sex scenes, leaving nothing to the imagination, and I was very thankful that Harbison doesn’t follow this tactic. Instead, she alludes to it without making a huge deal of it, and I think that is much more appropriate in a YA novel than the explicitness that has been creeping up in many books of this genre. Now, you may ask if any sex is needed in the novel at all, and my belief is that, yes, it is, because it needs to stay in character with the classic Rebecca, so I am very thankful for Harbison’s ability to let us know what is happening while also keeping it clean.
Now, the ending… that wasn’t the same. I know it’s pretty much impossible for it to be the same seeing as this is the YA version and the ending of Rebecca wouldn’t have fit quite right, but I still would have liked it to be a bit closer to the classic. However, I believe Harbison did a phenomenal job, regardless, and I really enjoyed this story. I recommend it to all! Three and a half stars.