Lia Setiawan has never really fit in. When she wins a full ride to the prestigious Draycott Academy on a track scholarship, she’s determined to make it work even though she’s never felt more out of place. But on her first day there she witnesses a girl being forcefully carried away by campus security. Her new schoolmates and teachers seem unfazed, but it leaves her unsure of what she’s gotten herself into. As she uncovers the secrets of Draycott, complete with a corrupt teacher, a golden boy who isn’t what he seems, and a blackmailer determined to get her thrown out, she’s not sure if she can trust anyone–especially when the threats against her take a deadly turn.
I was ready to pass on this one, but that tagline made me change my mind. “She’s a liar. A cheater. A murderer. And it’s only her first semester.” It made me wonder what kind of person this girl was and what she’d gotten herself into.
The first few chapters spawned plenty of eyerolls with its tropes and drama. Mean girls – check. Hot guy/instalove – check. Rich kids bullying a poor kid – check. I kept hoping something else would happen that wouldn’t make me regret requesting this book. It was Lia that kept me reading. She’s been raised by a single mom after her dad’s death and doesn’t have any extended family close by. She has dreams for her future, but her only hope of attending college is a track scholarship. The only way to attain that is to graduate from Draycott Academy, but with everything that happens she’s seconds away from being expelled.
Lia’s internal monologue is another reason I kept reading. Witty and sarcastic, she also tends to speak before she thinks, which puts her in some awkward situations. She’s a victim of both in-person bullying and cyber-bullying, but also gets in some quips of her own, and I liked that she didn’t cower in a corner. I did get frustrated with her a few times when she’d be on the verge of discovering a key to the mystery and then back off and let it drop. Her character is smarter than that.
As far as the secrets of Draycott, they don’t spark electrifying moments during the reveals, but there are a couple surprises. Although it comes with tropes, teens with private jets (seriously?), and some eye-rolling moments, The New Girl is a quick and entertaining read. Other reviewers mentioned this book would appeal to fans of Gossip Girl.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.