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Saturday, March 3, 2012

New Girl, by Paige Harbison

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.

Ever read Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca? This is an updated, YA retelling of it.
It's a good one, too. The modernizing of the characters is incredibly well-done (Dana is Mrs. Danvers, who never really lets go of Becca). It's a sort of romantic, definitely suspenseful, escapist story. It's page-turning, in that you want to get to the end to make sure everyone's okay, but an adult does a fair amount of eye-rolling at the overly typical teenage behavior. BUT, it's a Harlequin title, sooo...I guess that's to be expected.

The story flashes between "New Girl's" story, post-disappearance of the beloved Becca the school year before, and Becca's story, from the time she arrived at Manderly Academy to the night she disappeared. Becca is, well, crazy. There's clearly something going on under that blonde hair, and it's not good. She is manipulative and vindictive. A perfect romance novel anti-heroine. Her roommate Dana has even left everything exactly as it was the last time Becca was in the room. Never mind that a new student has been assigned that bed.

New Girl is just trying to get along. She never expected her parents to somehow get her in to the private school she said she wanted to attend when she was 13. But now that she's a high school senior, she's away from home  and making new friends. She isn't trying to replace anyone, she's just trying to make it through the year. Then she meets Max.

It's teen romance/suspense novel. What I'd call "fluff"  reading. You don't have to get emotionally involved with anyone or become too invested. It is what it is.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from HarlequinTEEN through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

High School isn't supposed to be so...frightening. Rory is spending her senior year in a new school in a new country. Adjusting isn't so bad, really, even if there is a serial killer on the loose in London.

It's the other stuff. The nearly dying the first evening at dinner. Then seeing people that no one else does. Nothing quite prepares you for being the only witness to a murder.

This is NOT your typical Maureen Johnson (think, Suite Scarlett), but remember, authors, much like books, cannot be judged by covers--or previous works. It's not humorous, but it, despite revolving around serial murders, isn't dark, either. The serial killer and murders are almost secondary, beyond all the usual boarding school drama filled with romance, roommates, and just stuff. Oh, and Jack the Ripper-like murders. But the story is definitely paranormal and mysterious. And she threw a plot twist in there, too.

There's enough of the known history of Jack the Ripper to make the story interesting to those who like that sort of thing. The fact that it's Maureen Johnson who wrote it makes it approachable to those who just want a good story to read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book is part of the library collection for the school library I work in. I was not solicited to write a review, nor am I receiving any compensation. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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