The New Girl

Perkins brings her sharp wit and compassionate gaze to small-town life. It is the beginning of the summer holidays in a town in the middle of nowhere. Julia and her best friends Chicky and Rachel are school leavers emerging from their girlhood and waiting for the future.

They — and their parents — are excited when Miranda, a charismatic and exotically beautiful woman from the city, arrives to teach a summer class. Miranda encourages curiosity and independence among her charges, but she also casts a shadow: the lifelong bonds between the girls begin to dissipate; confidences are broken; Julia yearns for the city, for an escape from boys who drink beer and race stolen cars across the gravel down by the bridge. But Miranda has her own doubts and betrayals. She too is asking: when will I be found out?

The New Girl is a novel about girls and the women who shape them; about influence, identity, individual freedom and group responsibility.

Prizes and Reviews for The New Girl



Shortlisted, 2001 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize



‘Perkins has a wonderfully light touch; she is a master of dialogue and plain speech, a casual Carver for our times.’ Gaby Wood, The Observer

‘Perkins’s restrained, uninflected prose is ideally suited to this quietly powerful tale of growing up… the strength of the characters still there, marooned by their own fears and haunted memories, ensures that their possible fates remain in our imagination long after the last page is turned.’ Alex Clark, The Guardian

‘In a style that crackles with the hormonal electricity of youth, Perkins has captured exactly the aching expectation of young women on the brink of adulthood.’ Rachel Holmes,