#aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · contemporary fiction · crime · mystery

Book Review: The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra

Title: The New Girl

Author: Ingrid Alexandra

Published: October 3rd 2018

Publisher: Avon GB -HarperCollins Books Australia

Pages: 352

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery

RRP: $24.99

Rating: 4 stars

You’ve only just met.
But she already knows you so well.When Rachel moves into the spare room in Mary’s flat in Sydney, everyone is quick to jump to the conclusion that there’s something strange about her. Everyone apart from Mary.

And when Rachel starts sleepwalking, the flatmates’ fears grow. But there’s something about the new girl that Mary can’t help but trust, and having recently escaped a toxic relationship, she needs the support.

Rachel becomes a friend and an ally, and Mary soon discovers that they have more in common than she ever could have imagined.

In fact, Rachel seems to know more about Mary than she knows about herself…

A twisty and unnerving psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Erin Kelly’s He Said, She Said and Laura Marshall’s Friend Request.

Review:

The New Girl is the debut novel from Sydney based author Ingrid Alexandra and the second novel I have enjoyed by this writer. The New Girl is a book filled with conjecture, trust issues, unpredictability and overwhelming tension. I consumed this one in just a few hours, as I was eager to reach the climax of this compelling psychological thriller.

The characters of The New Girl are deliciously complex with troubled backgrounds. When Rachel moves into Mary’s flat she is considered rather odd and hard to understand. Rachel’s shady background is further compounded by her sleeping episodes. Mary, her flat mate, is less judgmental of Rachel as she knows how it feels to be misunderstood. Despite the fear and anxiety that plagues her following an abusive relationship, Mary decides to place her trust in Rachel. As the support and friendship from Rachel flourishes, Mary realises that she has a natural connection to Rachel. Despite their initial differences Mary is nervous and apprehensive about the common ground they share. Why is this new girl so very similar to Mary?

For those who enjoy psychological thrillers The New Girl will appeal. This is my second outing with author Ingrid Alexandra, which directly followed Across the Water, Alexandra’s latest release. With a great deal of praise attached to the debut novel by this Sydney based author, I was keen to delve into the pages of The New Girl. It definitely delivered in the twist department.

The New Girl is formatted via a first person perspective and the narrative flips between the past and the present. We are also based in two of Australia’s key locations, Sydney and Melbourne. I enjoyed the fact that this psychological thriller was set on home soil. The form of narration adopted by Alexandra is layered, complex and unreliable. We know from the trauma which is gradually revealed as this story progresses that the central character has been plagued by issues of abuse and mental illness. It is clear that the lead has experienced a great deal of setbacks and pain. As a result we witness memory blocks, flashbacks and murky images from the past. It is hard to determine what is the truth and the reader is able to play an active role in deciphering these mixed signals.

Alexandra’s characters are carefully realised and well imagined. With the focus being on Mary’s narration, the reader soon is suspicious of this unreliable narrator. Themes of abuse, domestic issues, loss, difficult relationships, family strains, anxiety, confusion, truth, lies, stress, tension and paranoia surround the characters of The New Girl. The New Girl is a book that really makes you guess, second guess and even triple guess the characters of this tale. I appreciated the rich focus on the psychology of the mind in regards to the impact of traumatic events dictating personal responses. Alexandra presents some well masked characters, with plenty of secrets and interesting aspects of their lives to unpick. It was a fantastic journey to the end of The New Girl and I do admit to re-reading the finale, as I was completely taken aback!

A novel that you can consume in one swift gulp, The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra offers up plenty of tension, suspense, drama, dubious events, untrustworthy characters and a solid interrogation of the reliability of the human mind when placed under duress. Boost your thriller pile with this debut from Ingrid Alexandra.

The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra was published on 3rd October 2018 by Avon – GB. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The New Girl, Ingrid Alexandra visit here.

The New Girl is book #133 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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