Disappointing take on One of Us Is Lying meets Pretty Little Liars

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I swear Melissa de la Cruz has written a million books, and I’ve read probably a few dozen throughout my life. I requested this ARC because I’ve found most of them to be engaging and fun. Even when they’ve been predictable or “beach read” vibes they’ve still been enjoyable. Unfortunately “The Headmaster’s List” did not scratch that itch for me. The blurb describes it as “Gossip Girl” meets “One of Us is Lying”, so I was intrigued. I admittedly had not read “One of Us is Lying” when I picked this up, but I am 10% in as of the time I’m writing this review and already having way more fun.

“The Headmaster’s List” is about Spencer, a girl who survives a car crash that one of her classmates died in. Spencer has a head injury and can’t remember what led up to the crash, but she’s not convinced the story adds up, despite her ex (the confessed driver) cooperating with police.

I predicted every twist in this book within the first several chapters, and they were all things I’ve read before. If they were done well here that wouldn’t have been the end of the world, but I just did not feel invested in the lead-up to any of them. I was meh on the characters, they all did what I expected of them but I didn’t really connect with any.

There were some editing errors that I could have overlooked if the book had been great, but just added to my struggle to finish since it wasn’t. There were missing/dropped quotation marks and inconsistent details (the victim was referred to as a sophomore in some chapters, a freshman in others). Also, the main character said all labradors are slobbery and this is 1. patently untrue 2. slander.

The idea of this book was interesting, but it ended up reading more like an outline waiting for the stuff that makes a book different and worth reading to be added. I probably would have liked it more had I read it as a teen and before the ones with similar plots that made these twists so obvious to me, but I don’t think it would’ve ever been a favorite. Sorry, Melissa. I’m still dying to read the new “Blue Bloods” book when it comes out, though, no one’s perfect all the time.