Book Reviews

The New Girl by Jesse Q. Sutanto – Book Review

A book cover of The New Girl by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))

The New Girl by Jesse Q. Sutanto – Book Details

TITLE – The New Girl

AUTHOR – Jesse Q. Sutanto

GENREyoung adult, thriller, mystery, dark academia



MY RATING – 3 of 5


A huge thank you to RB Media and NetGalley for providing me with an audiobook ARC of The New Girl by Jesse Q. Sutanto in exchange for an honest review.

What It Is About

“This isn’t your world, child. Give any of these kids here a chance and they’ll throw you under the bus, just to make sure this place keeps going.”

Lia Setiawan has just won a track scholarship to the Draycott Academy, a prestigious private boarding school on the West Coast. The place is full of rich kids used to feeling entitled, which can be unpleasant to say the least. Even without the Draycott Dirt, a gossiping app that everyone uses to bully each other.

But then, Lia starts to uncover Draycott’s real secrets, and soon she is in over her head. The golden children that are anything but, the biased school system, the English Lit cheating ring, the drugs, the venom…

And then, just when she thinks things couldn’t possibly get any worse, they do. A murder occurs. And everything spirals out of control.

The New Girl by Jesse Q. Sutanto – My Review

I started to feel a bit overwhelmed by fantasy books lately. I am way more in the mood for contemporary romances and mysteries, both adult and YA. My 2022 reading wish list heavily reflects that.

Of course, Jesse Q. Sutanto was very close to the top of the new authors to me that I wanted to check out. Her YA thriller The Obsession and the Aunties series seem so fun and lighthearted and thrilling, just what I need right now.

But then I got the opportunity to listen to Sutanto’s newest release, The New Girl, that is coming out in only a few days. Well, I certainly couldn’t say no to that.

I’m going to be honest – The New Girl didn’t go as great for me as I expected. Which is such a shame, because it had quite a few things going for it.

The fact that it is set at a prestigious boarding school, which is one of my favorite settings. The story being a YA mystery/thriller, which is currently one of my favorite genres. Characters being often compared to Crazy Rich Asians. A bit of the ‘rich people problems’ vibes, which I usually enjoy.

None of that changed one simple fact – for the most part, this book was boring to me.

Until almost half of the book, most of the ‘drama’ evolved around the MC failing subjects, cheating on tests and a gossip girl style app that posted rumors that were bad, but not bad enough to truly make an exciting read.

Around 40 percent we finally got our body. One thing led to another. The problems Lia was going through at the Academy also intensify. And things did get more interesting.

I guess by that point I didn’t care much, though. I couldn’t relate to Lia or any other character. (Well, maybe to one.)

However, the book did make me root for Lia even in her craziest moments. Like – even in her dumbest, most ridiculous, idiotic moments. So kudos for that.

Even with that, for me this book was average at best. And most of the time – it wasn’t at its best.

Like I already mentioned, I listened to this book as an audiobook, and I liked the narrator for the most part. Honestly, if I’ve read it physically, I would’ve probably DNFed it.

But also – maybe I’m being too harsh. There were actually a couple of things I liked very much in this book. A lot of deliciously messed up, ambition-driven bursts.  But they are all spoilers so I won’t be talking about them here.

I will say, though, that the narration wasn’t bad at all, and this book was really quick and easy to read.

So, you know. I do understand why some people enjoyed The New Girl way more than I did. And if the blurb sounds interesting to you or if you are a Jesse Q. Sutanto’s fan, don’t let my review stop you from picking it up.

In fact, even though my experience with this one book wasn’t the best, I definitely want to give Sutanto’s other books a try. I will probably do that in the next couple of months, and I’m actually quite excited about it…

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