REVIEW: THE NEW GIRL, BY HARRIET WALKER

Glamorous Margot Jones is the fashion editor at glossy magazine Haute. Pregnant with her first child, Margot’s carefully curated life is the object of other women’s envy—who wouldn’t want her successful career, loving husband, beautiful house, and stylish wardrobe?

Maggie, a freelance journalist, certainly knows she doesn’t measure up. But when she gets the temp job covering Margot’s maternity leave, Maggie seizes the chance to live a flashier life—even if it’s only for a few months.

But the simultaneous arrival of Margot’s baby and a brutal end to her oldest friendship sends Margot into a spiral of insecurity and suspicion; normal preoccupations of new motherhood turn into dark and frightening paranoia. Who is the vicious online troll mocking Margot’s facade of perfection and threatening to expose a dark secret she’s spent years concealing? Are Maggie’s newfound ambitions and plucky enthusiasm as innocent as they seem? And what happens when Margot is ready to return to her old life—especially if Maggie doesn’t want to leave?

The themes in The New Girl take us on several different journeys. We first see, from Margot’s point of view, how Maggie, “the new girl” who is filling her position as fashion editor while she is on maternity leave, seems to be taking over her life completely. How does Maggie insert herself into Margot’s personal as well as her professional life, including taking over Margot’s past connections?

Winnie’s narrative takes us back to the past, to the beginning of her friendship with Margot, interrupted by another “new girl” when Helen appears and succeeds in sidelining Margot in the friendship. Then we watch as Winnie begins to view herself as a “new girl” when her relationship with Helen changes her into a different person. But then it takes a dangerous turn.

What secrets are holding Winnie and Margot together? How does Maggie’s intrusion change everything for them all? Is Margot paranoid about what is happening, or is something completely different afoot?

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the conclusion brought stunning and unexpected revelations. An unputdownable book that earned 4.5 stars.

My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

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