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The New Girls Paperback – Bargain Price, May 10, 1996

3.2 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, May 10, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A gifted storyteller...her characters are intelligent, brave, and witty...human and real.” (Susan Isaacs, New York Times Book Review )

“It’s funny without sacrificing intelligence, intelligent without being pretentious. It’s all-around good reading.” (Boston Globe )

“Gutcheon has an impeccable fix on time, place, and native customs — and…pathos of a vanished youth.” (Kirkus Reviews )

“This is the story of those crucial relationships and of a harrowing loss of innocence.” (Library Journal )

“The author moves in and knows the world about which she writes. Good entertaining reading.” (Pensacola News )

About the Author

Beth Gutcheon is the critically acclaimed author of eight previous novels: The New Girls, Still Missing, Domestic Pleasures, Saying Grace, Five Fortunes, More Than You Know, Leeway Cottage, and Good-bye and Amen. She is the writer of several film scripts, including the Academy Award nominee The Children of Theatre Street. She lives in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (May 10, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060977027
  • ASIN: B000C4SNDU
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,380,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a "twenty-something", it's hard to find books that appeal to my age group. I'm too old for the "Sweet Valley High" books, yet too young to be interested in tales of marriage/divorce, children, and mid-life crises. Even though Beth Gutcheon's "The New Girls" centers around teenagers at a prep school, this book is intelligent, deep, and interesting enough for women ages twenty to perhaps eighty. This tale of five friends--Jenny, Ann, Sally, Lisa, and Muffin--will captivate the minds of many personalities. There's a poet, a tomboy, a socialite, a conservative, and even a "nice-to-everyone" in this book. Yet, these five basic personalities evolve into so much more throughout the interesting framework of these chapters. You'll feel like a (lucky) fly on the wall as you mentally join these ladies. You'll get to experience the late night talks in the dorm, the vacations abroad and to Sea Island, first loves, and the occasional naughty smoke in the woods. Beth Gutcheon succeeds with the incredible task of completely developing FIVE characters, and she even reveals the background that each of these girls come from. Another satisfying aspect of the book is the class reunion. When the friends meet up years later (they made a promise while at Miss Pratt's that they would come), the reader finds out just how each girl turned out. So many times, books leave us asking, "What then?" This book won't leave you hanging. You'll know what happened to the New Girls, and you'll be so glad you have the memories....of the girls AND of this captivating novel!!!
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Format: Paperback
Having read most of Beth Gutcheon's books, I sat down with this one with high expectations. The book failed to live up to them, but I will say this--it's a page-turner, because you do want to find out what happened to these women.
The book opens with four of the five girls back at their boarding school for a reunion. IN the opening chapter, it is revealed that one of the five has committed suicide. For the rest of the novel, you search for clues on why it happened--what drove her to it? YOu also search for clues on what will become of these young women. Unfortunately, the drama doesn't really pay off--you see the girls as adults again the in the final chapter, but it doesn't tell you much about either of these questions.
Having followed these girls throughout the book, it would be more interesting to see what became of them than to detail each and every last exploit of their boarding school years. Perhaps the book should have been longer and done that.
This is a good book, but unlike "Saying Grace," "Five Fortunes," and "Still Missing," it isn't a great one.
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Format: Paperback
It was really interesting to read this book about a culture so far from my own, yet the characters so like myself. The author captures what it is like to be a teenage girl perfectly, all the while painting a picture of wealthy America. I would reccommend this book to anyone who has ever been to Summer Camp, College, or anywhere else where friendships are molded through being roommates. This book would speak to you!
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Format: Paperback
Entertaining read if flawed. It's chief problem is that it throws it's net too wide - by attempting to cover the formative years of 5 girls in only 347 pages, I finished the novel feeling as though I really didn't know any of them too well. One example: One of the girls, Lisa, suffers from anorexia during her first year at the school. The author goes into adequate detail explaining how Lisa suffered from the disease, but little else. By the Lisa's second year, she has recovered and is no longer anorexic. But the author never tells us how Lisa is able to recover.
Some storylines are quite lovely; I am particularly fond of one involving one of the girls, Jenny, who has a brief affair with her teacher. In describing Jenny's feelings, and the teacher's subsequent restraint, the passages are wistful, painful, and wildly romantic. I also enjoyed the descriptions of beach vacations, social dances, and stealing into the woods for cigarettes that are woven through the book. On those occasions, it's a lovely portrayal into the upper-class life of boarding school girls during the sixties. However, if you're looking for a book describing the interplay of the lives of these girls with the outside world at the time (such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War) you won't get much of it here.
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Format: Paperback
While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't a must-read, impossible-to-put-down kinda story. This is the second novel of Ms. Gutcheon's I've read, (the first being More Than You Know, which is GREAT) and you can tell it's an early effort.

The story focuses on 5 'New Girls' as they're called, who all went to the very prestigious Mrs. Pratt's School for Girls (a prep school) in the early 60's. The first chapter starts with their 15 year reunion, where we learn one of the girls has killed herself...the rest of the book tells us about each one's experience during their three years as a Pratt Girl, and their path to finding friendships with one another.

I thought the storyline jumped around a little too much. I felt like each girl was a bit incomplete, and wanted more information at a time, instead of the scattered pieces we're given. And there were so many secondary characters that I couldn't keep up. I'd come to a name and have to stop and think about whether or not I was already introduced to this person, or if it's another new character. In my opinion, it probably would have been easier to follow if their had been one less main character, 4 'New Girls' as a opposed to 5. Also, we never find out why the one girl ended up killing herself years later. That was quite a disappointment.

Overall, it was a decent book. I don't think it's for everyone, there's really no climatic point in the story. It's pretty much just an account of the day-to-day life of prep school girls, and their wealthy upbringings. Though it wasn't my favorite, I'll definitely read more from this author, I've read her later stuff and it's much improved.
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