It’s hard fitting in as the new girl among the rich elite at Manderley Academy especially when you’re assigned to the old room of the perfect, popular Becca – who’s disappeared. Everyone acts like it’s your fault – and you can’t leave the mystery alone. What really happened to Becca? And what other sinister secrets have been kept hidden in the school’s dark hallways?
Learning to survive Manderley’s cut-throat social scene, you can’t help but follow in Becca’s footsteps, even falling for Max, the boy she left behind. Although sometimes it seems that Becca’s still out there, watching you take her place. Waiting to take it back…
Told from dual perspective, past and present, we see the school's new girl unconsciously mirroring hot shot and mean girl Becca's school life from the year before. You might expect some typical mean girl backstabbing and spreading lies, but it was actually a great story, primarily about discovering yourself.
One big thing about this was that New Girl wasn't named. At first it was a bit weird, not knowing her name, but as we were inside her head, after a while I forgot I didn't know it! As we got to know the new girl and her new home and friends, we had the backdrop of boarding school life with the added pressure of a possible murder mystery. I have to say, I didn't really expect much from this book, but it shocked me how much I loved it.
Becca was a weird one. She took attention seeking to the extreme and right at the beginning, I worried how far she would take it. Seeing her time at Manderley's was a very interesting mirror to the present, as we pieced together the lies that the group still believed from Becca's time, and the influence she had over all of them. As for New Girl, she had a lot of live up to, even if she didn't want to. I immediately felt sorry for her but quickly grew to like and respect her; she was strong and fairly tough, but not completely thick-skinned; you could tell all this being compared to Becca malarkey was getting to her. Not only was it unfair, it was also completely pointless, as she had no interest in replacing Becca.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. It was atmospheric and a little chilling, with unforgettable characters and an insight into the psychological drama that is often ignored.
Published 1st January 2012 by Mira Ink.