Title: The New Girl
Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto
Publication: February 1, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
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.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
I love a good boarding school mystery. I find the life of boarding schools fascinating and there is always some good mischief, secrets, and debauchery going on that make for a great story. I was very much looking forward to reading The New Girl and getting my boarding school book fix. I only wish it had lived up to my full expectations.
I want to start by saying the overall story was okay. New girl at a new boarding school filled with the children of the one percent and queue drama. It had all the points of a good story. I loved the cultural aspects a lot and learned quite a bit about Indonesian culture. I also really want to try some of the food. Sounds delicious. With that said, I was disappointed with the execution of the story. This book was jam packed with cliches. I am okay with a cliché here or there, but this was full of them. To name a few, all the kids were spoiled rich kids. There was a posse of extreme mean girls who ruled the school and everyone was scared of them. Teachers showed preferential treatment to the rich and everyone else didn’t matter. When the children told the administration about things they found, they were never believed. The cops investigation was questionable at best. The list goes on. Just a lit of things that, of course, bring angst and suspense, but too much of it in one story. It definitely allowed an intense feeling throughout the book because I was always wondering when the next shoe would drop, not if it would drop. I knew something else terrible would happen because the story just stayed on that extreme level, making it highly unrealistic. And then for things to just wrap up in this cute little bow at the end… I just was not loving it. It was okay. Even good at certain moments. I just like a bit more reality to my stories.
With all that said, I think the plot line was good and some of the characters were interesting. Beth was cool and I really enjoyed Stacey. I almost wish there was a sequel focusing on her. She was an interesting person and would make a fantastic story. Maybe her in college? I almost wish we would have gotten more of her throughout the book. The relationship between Stacey and Lia was a fun one to read.
I wanted to love this story, It just didn’t click with me like I had hoped. I do, however, plan to give another story by Jesse Q. Sutanto a try because it was a decent story and I always like to see how author’s grow over time with their writing. I also encourage everyone else to pick it up and check it out. Just because I did love, love, love it, doesn’t mean you won’t.