Title: The Headmaster’s List
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Publication: February 28, 2023
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Genre: YA Fiction, Teens, Mystery, Thriller
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
One of them was driving.
One of them was high.
One of them screamed.
And one of them died.
When fifteen-year-old Chris Moore is tragically killed in a car crash, Argyle Prep is full of questions. Who was at the wheel? And more importantly, who was at fault?
Eighteen-year-old Spencer Sandoval wishes she knew. As rumors swirl that her ex, Ethan, was the driver that fateful night, she can’t bring herself to defend him. And their messy breakup has nothing to do with it – she can’t remember anything from that night, not even what put her in that car with Ethan, Chris, and Tabby Hill, the new loner in school. Was it just a night out that went very wrong? And is it just a coincidence they were all part of Argyle’s esteemed honor roll, the Headmaster’s List? In a place ruled by pedigree and privilege, the answers can only come at a deadly price.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
As you probably know if you have read any reviews by me in the past, I am a big fan of stories involving private schools or posh schools in affluent neighborhoods. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the idea that there is usually some really juicy drama that draws me in. This book was definitely no different.
The Headmaster’s List by Melissa de la Cruz follows a group of kids, mostly Spencer, after a terrible accident takes the life of one of their own and incurs the others; also leaving one awaiting their fate on trial. So much drama right off the bat. Spencer is a bit type-A, but I really enjoyed the story from her point of view. Also, I really, really want a glimpse of this elusive planner she always talks about. Maybe she can make me more organized! While I can’t relate to Spencer directly, I did relate to the need to have to find her missing time in her mind. I felt I would need to do the same thing and it was like others in the story didn’t understand her need to know what happen.
Jackson was also a character I really liked. He seemed to have a lot of layers as we learned about his back story and issues with his family. Ethan was an interesting character too because everyone spoke about him as if he was a bad guy, but he was a good guy in my perspective. De la Cruz did a great job of developing these multi-layered characters that had a lot of good traits, but also negative traits and issues that real life people struggle with, which I think will help readers connect to the book.
My one issue with this novel was that the title is The Headmaster’s List, which is a real life list at the school, but honestly has nothing to do with the story for the most part. It’s catchy and it got me in because I was expecting some giant drama surrounding the school, but that’s not what it ended up being. I still really enjoyed the story as is and would absolutely read more of her books, but felt the name was a little deceiving.
Young adults and teens will definitely gravitate to this book. It gave me Good Girl’s Guide to Murder vibes and if you are a fan of Holly Jackson then you will like this book. Same teenage investigator vibes and they even twist in a fun podcast! Definitely pick up a copy!