Review of The Headmaster's List by Melissa de la Cruz


The Headmaster's List by Melissa de la Cruz

Published on February 28, 2023 by Roaring Brook Press

Thanks to Roaring Brook for the Advance Reader Copy

Plot Summary for The Headmaster's List

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.

Review of The Headmaster's List by Melissa de la Cruz

The Headmaster's List was a perfectly enjoyable YA thriller, complete with many of the hallmarks found in the genre: a main character with amnesia, a main character with absent parents, and an intrepid podcaster determined to get to the truth about (in this cast) a deadly accident. 

Spencer was a likable character and I couldn't help picturing Spencer from Pretty Little Liars the entire time I was reading the book.

An aspiring astrophysicist, Spencer was badly injured in a car accident that killed a fellow student.  Now she has a therapy dog, some bad PTSD about riding in cars (understandable) and a desire to remember what happened the night of the accident. 

The Headmaster's List did have a bit of a Good Girls Guide to Murder feel, as Spencer and her new friend Jackson, whose family is in disgrace after his father's financial misdeeds, try to get to the truth. 

Just as in GGG to M, there are threatening letters sent to them warning them to "stop investigating or else." But the book does have a sense of humor about the whole thing, even having the police officer assigned to the case complain about meddling kids and their dog.

The ending was a tiny bit of a letdown. I understood the who, but the why was a bit of a stretch to me. Still, I enjoyed reading The Headmaster's List.