The Legacies by Jessica Goodman is about a group of young socialites who pine to join an exclusive social club. People who have membership to the exclusive Legacy Club in New York City know that it is more than just an honor to be a member. Being a member gives you unfettered access to power and wealth beyond what they can get from attending a prestigious prep school. They are also guaranteed safety and security because members always look out for each other.
For high school seniors to be invited into the club, they will need to be nominated by a committee member and then make it through a week of events and the lavish Legacy Ball at the end. It is not surprising when Excelsior Prep seniors Bernie Kaplan, Skyler Hawkins, and Isobel Rothcroft are nominated into the club. Their families are well connected to each other and the club. The club is not only their safe haven but it also protects the families and their secrets and reputations.
However, things become interesting when Tori Tasso is nominated. She is nothing like other nominees. She received a scholarship to the school and she lives in Queens unlike most of the other students who come from a wealthy background. Everyone is surprised when she is nominated because her family doesn’t have any affiliation in the club.
Tori has a hard time fitting in with her other classmates. Unlike her, they never had to work hard to ensure food was on the table. They have their names on buildings, while doing nothing noteworthy to deserve it, and spend more money on material things than Tori could ever hope to have.
As the night of the Legacy Ball approaches, even Tori is wrapped up in the festive atmosphere she knows her connection to the Legacy Cub is her and her family’s ticket out of poverty. However, a betrayal occurs that changes the lives of everyone involved. The night was supposed to be the best night of their lives until one of them ends up dead. Who ends up dead? And why?
The novel is told from three alternating points of views: Bernie, Tori, and Isobel. Early on in the book, we learn that Bernie is Queen Bee at the school but she suffers from self confidence issues. She is afraid that people are only her friends because of her status and not because of who she really is. Her best friend, Isobel, seems to have a secret that she is keeping with Bernie’s boyfriend, Skyler. Isobel is afraid of telling Bernie because she feels that it will alter their friendship forever. As we try to piece together what causes the two women to drift apart, we learn about other secrets that could have led to the death on that fateful night.
While I enjoyed reading how their friendship fractured and their journey through initiation went, I didn’t connect with any of the characters. The characters felt bland and stereotypical. I wish we got a glimpse into Bernie’s mother’s past and her motivation between disappearing and where she went. Bernie’s mother was an interesting character but we barely got to know her origins.
The book goes back and forth between the past and the present when the murder occurred. I believe it was to keep the reader guessing on who died and the events that lead up to it. However, I felt the dialogue and the story dragged on for chapters with no real progress. The book was a quick read and plot twists felt predictable and boring. I would recommend reading if you like young adult high school dramas.