Review of the Legacies by Jessica Goodman


Cover of The Legacies by Jessica Goodman on a pale pink background

The Legacies by Jessica Goodman

Published on July 25, 2023 by Razorbill. Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review.

Plot Summary for the Legacies by Jessica Goodman

Cover of The Legacies by Jessica Goodman shows a black and gold invitation, a gold key, and some blood spatter.

Scoring an invitation for membership to the exclusive Legacy Club in New York City is more than an honor. It gives you a lifetime of access to power and wealth beyond any prep school doors and guaranteed safety and security as Legacy Club members always look out for their own. That is, after you make it through a rigorous week of events and the extravagant gala, the Legacy Ball.

So it’s not surprising when Excelsior Prep seniors Bernie Kaplan, Isobel Rothcroft, and Skyler Hawkins are nominated as Legacies; their family pedigrees have assured their membership since birth—even if they're all keeping secrets that could destroy their reputations. 

But a scholarship kid from Queens, Tori Tasso, is a surprise nominee, someone no one saw coming. Tori’s never fit in this world of designer bags, penthouse apartments, and million-dollar donations. So what did she do to secure her place?

The night of the Legacy Ball is supposed to be the best night of these seniors’ lives, a night of haute couture, endless champagne, and plenty of hushed gossip.

Everyone expects a night of luxury and excess. No one expects their secrets to come out. Or for someone to die trying to keep them hidden.

Review of the Legacies by Jessica Goodman

Reading The Legacies definitely brought me back to those days of Gossip Girl and all the related "rich kids behaving badly" books that were so popular in the 2010s, like The Clique and Private.

Then We Were Liars sparked a "rich kids behaving REALLY badly," like in a homicidal sort of way, and we got books like Liar's Beach, which I recently reviewed.

But to me, The Legacies is a HUGE throwback to Gossip Girl, with Bernie, a character a lot like Blair, and Sklyer, a character a lot like Nate, and Tori, a girl from Queens who is a bit more Vanessa than Jenny.

Then you have a very exclusive invitation-only club (which feels very Secret Society Girl) and the Legacy Ball, which seems like a cross between a debutante ball and every glam Gossip Girl party (Kiss on the Lips/Masqureade/Snowflake Ball).

I did enjoy reading The Legacies, which kept me guessing with its flash-forward opening to a terrible tragedy at the Legacy Ball, and then a flash-backward to reveal what happened and why.

The throwback feel of this one may bother some modern readers. There is a queer major character, some body positivity, and one remark questioning of the heteronormative feel of the ball, but besides that you could be back in 2008!

A graphic showing the 2000s influences on The Legacy and how it is modern in 2023.