The Headmaster’s List, Melissa de la Cruz

A black cover with shattered glass exploding out. The title is in white.

About the Book

Friday night. The party of the summer. Four teens ride home together. Only one never makes it.

When high school sophomore Chris Moore is tragically killed in a car crash, Armstrong 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 reckless driver, 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.

The hunt for answers intensifies when a local true crime podcast takes an interest in the case, pushing Spencer further into the depths of this sinister mystery. Was it all just a night out that went very wrong? And is it a coincidence that all but Chris is on Armstrong’s esteemed honor roll, the Headmaster’s List? In a place ruled by pedigree and privilege, the truth can only come at a deadly price.

Book Links
Releasing February 28th


My Thoughts

Having just read Going Dark and loving it, I was excited to be approved for The Headmaster’s List. But this one started with some stumbles that made it hard to focus on the story. I’ll get to those in a minute. Spencer was just in a horrific car crash and can’t remember the details. She learned that someone died and the driver might face consequences for the accident. In her desperation to learn what happened, she isn’t taking the best care of herself. Especially because she’s recovering from some serious injuries from the crash, including post-traumatic stress (*not PTSD, a diagnosis cannot be made right off, that’s not how it works). And I loved how that was included in the book.

What I didn’t love:
This could be because I have an advanced copy, but this one needed some editing. Ethan’s car is called vintage; it’s a 2019. Post traumatic stress doesn’t have to turn into PTSD, especially with therapy as soon as possible. Therapy is mentioned offhandedly once. It would have been nice for that to be addressed a bit more. With her injuries, in one paragraph, Spencer broke her arm and wrist, but then it was she broke her arm and shoulder. Now, let me tell you, you’re not getting your cast off in 4 weeks, and your arm will be absolutely useless when the cast finally comes off. You won’t be able to write with it as Spencer does. Further, what doctor’s office schedules an appointment on a Sunday to remove a cast? And what court system is open on the weekend, to a trial no less? No doctor will keep prescribing someone painkillers long after the cast comes off. But that part is central to the story, so I can look past that. But overall, there are a lot of stumbles that, with luck, will get fixed before release day, though we’re getting rather close.

Back to what I enjoyed:
This is a fun story. Even though Spencer is spoiled, I liked that she got extremely lucky and got a fully trained therapy dog, and that dog was central to the story because who doesn’t love a hero dog? (although another reviewer pointed out how labs aren’t really known for constant slobber, and I laughed so hard because… truth.) Also, I liked Spencer’s persistence. She didn’t want to accept that she might never remember the details of the accident.

This one had some ups and downs. It would be nice if some fixes were made to make the book more enjoyable. But if you can look past them, this is a fun, spoiled, rich kid mystery with many real-world elements that will resonate with a lot of readers—my thanks to Macmillan for the ARC.

Read this review on Goodreads and Bookbub.

One thought on “The Headmaster’s List, Melissa de la Cruz

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s