The New Girl by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Photo Credit: Amazon

Bibliographic Information:

Title: The New Girl

Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto

ISBN: 978-1728215198

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Publishing Date: 2022

Genre/Format of the Item: Book



Buzzfeed Highly Anticipated Thriller of 2022

PopSugar Best YA Book 2022

Netgalley Most Anticipated Novel of 2022

Reading Level/Interest Level:

Grades 9-12 (NoveList)

Plot Summary: Lia Setiawan was accepted to Draycott Academy on a track and field scholarship. Once she arrives though, she quickly realizes that she will have to fight for her right to stay on campus. When it feels as though everyone is determined to see her fail, Lia finds herself in situations that she never thought possible. After a student is found dead on campus, Lia questions the integrity of her classmates and teachers. She finds herself falling for one of the cutest guys on campus, Danny Wijaya, and they begin to date, although his parents don’t approve of their relationship. Lia must also contend with the near daily negative posts about her on the school’s anonymous underground messaging app, Draycott Dirt. Lia confronts Mr. Werner about his attempts to purposefully fail her which result in an accidental death. As the world around Lia begins to spiral down, she finally realizes who her true friends are and what she must do to save them and herself from the foul play that lurks around every corner at Draycott.

Photo Credit: Jesse Q. Sutanto

Author Background: Jesse Q. Sutanto grew up traveling between Oxford, Singapore, and Indonesia. She currently lives in Indonesia with her husband and her two daughters. She graduated from Oxford University with a Masters Degree in Creative Writing. She has published eight books and Netflix recently gained the rights to her book Dial A for Aunties (Sutanto, n.d.)

Critical Evaluations: The New Girl has all the ingredients for a prime YA thriller: romance, deceit, murder, friends that may be enemies, and mystery. The storyline was not always realistic, in my opinion, but that did not stop it from completely captivating my attention. I really liked that Sutanto intertwined a lot of Indonesian culture and language into the book. She also addressed the racism that some people of Asian descent experience. I thought that this added a level of humanity and depth to the characters and made them more relatable and likable. I think that teenagers will appreciate the complex emotions and social structures that are present in the book. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book even though I don’t usually choose to read books from this genre!

(Timken, 2022)

Creative Use for a Library Program: This book could be used as a storyline for a murder mystery teen night. Teens must register in advance and they will receive a script and information on their character. They arrive at the library on the evening of the event in the community room. The teens will “play” the part of their character while interacting with each other. There will be an added mystery that the teens must solve. The book can be available to check out ahead of time for the teens and will be on display. By the end of the evening, the teens will hopefully have solved the mystery and had a lot of fun!

(Belle’s Library, 2022)

Speedround/Book Trailer: In The New Girl by Jesse Q. Sutanto, Lia Setiawan is in over her head navigating the world of ultra-rich teens at her prestigious new high school when a classmate is found dead on campus. Lia decides to dig deeper into the mysterious death when she slowly begins to realize that this school is not the perfect place that it pretends to be. Is there anyone Lia can trust? Find out if she can solve the mystery before she becomes the next casualty.

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: There are violent scenes in the book which some parents or teachers may feel are inappropriate for teens. There are also frequent scenes with teenagers drinking and the mention of using illegal drugs. I would defend this book by stating that teenagers face peer pressure to do drugs and drink alcohol and the book does not glorify these actions. Sutanto provides a storyline that many teens can relate to and her main characters view the use of drugs in a negative light. The violence falls in line with the genre and I would say that the violience is not gory or explicit.

Reason for Inclusion: I wanted to include at least one thriller title in my blog. The New Girl is a great example of a suspenseful yet relatable book that teens will find engaging and hard to put down. The author addresses subjects such as racism and classism, and has diverse characters. I wanted to include diverse authors and Sutanto was a perfect choice!


Belle’s Library. (2022, February 1). The New Girl/Book Review/2022 New Release/Thriller/Jesse. Q. Sutanto [Video]. YouTube.

Sutanto, J. Q. (n.d.) About. Jesse Q. Sutanto.

Timken, J. [@jeannietimken]. (2022, June 20). Interesting characters, surprising friendships-and villians-alongwith unexpected twists mean you need to #ReadThisNow: The New Girl by Jesse Q Sutanto. #BCSEdChat #SoraSweetReads [Image attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.


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