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Start reading Jessica Goodman’s newest thriller THE LEGACIES

Jessica Goodman has a new thriller, and you need it on your TBR ASAP. This a glitzy murder mystery set in New York City elite social circles is filled with backstabbing, blackmail, twisty secrets, and a dead body. Get ready for The Legacies!

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 scholarship kid from Queens Tori Tasso? She’s 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.

Scroll down to start reading, and remember to preorder your copy.

after the ball

The Legacy Ball had never ended in a murder-obviously. Usually, the seniors from New York’s elite institutions capped off the night by watching the sunrise at some elaborate after-party. An all-nighter at a mansion in Bronxville. A beach bonfire at a sprawling estate in Southampton. A strobe-lit rave in a Ridgewood loft. This year, the nominees were supposed to be whisked away in a fleet of Suburbans heading to someone’s country manor in the Hudson Valley.

But that’s out of the question now, with the body and all.

Bernie Kaplan stands on the corner of Sixty-First Street in glittering four-inch stilettos and a silk pleated gown, Skyler Hawkins’s tuxedo jacket hanging off her shoulders, even though it’s warm for September. If you look closely enough, you can see she’s trying not to shiver. A light breeze whips at the diamond drops dangling from her ears. The sirens from the cop cars wail, and Bernie glances down at her pale pink manicured fingers, now flecked with blood and dirt. Her bright red hair is messy, out of place. Her mother usually whispers for her to tuck back the flyaways before onlookers can snap photos, but Esther Kaplan is nowhere to be found, so Bernie lets them go free.

Bernie’s eyes move to the curb as the rest of the attendees of the Legacy Ball spill onto the street to see the commotion. She wishes Tori were by her side. A week ago, that girl was no one. A scholarship senior from Queens who had stayed in the background for three whole years. Now, it’s obvious that all of the Legacies underestimated her.

Bernie opens her mouth as if to say something but snaps it shut when the whispers around her erupt in to frantic, excited chatter. The wondering, the gasps, as police roll a stretcher away from the side entrance of the Legacy Club, away from the Ball. The body’s on it, covered by a white sheet. An outline of lifeless fingers, legs, arms. The medics push the corpse in to an ambulance and shut the door. It speeds north.

The commotion gets louder. People are screaming and sobbing, drowning out the crackling voices coming in over walkie-talkies. Bernie longs for Isobel, what they had lost. For Skyler, too. For what he represented.

But she can’t think about them right now. Because in this moment, there are questions. So many questions. And no one seems to have the answers.

All anyone knows for certain is that as the clock strikes midnight, a member of one of New York City’s oldest, most exclusive institutions is dead, and that Bernie Kaplan is the one with blood on her hands.

Four Days
Before the Ball


“Isn’t it weird?” Isobel asks, her voice lilting. “To see all these strangers here, at our school? At Excelsior Prep?”

We’re standing together at the entrance of our high school’s cafeteria, though cafeteria isn’t really the right word to describe this room, with its sky-high marble entryway and custom round oak tables that seat twelve. Dining room is more apt, though Architectural Digest once called it “the prettiest place to eat in all of the five boroughs.” Across the atrium, floor-to-ceiling picture windows overlook the lacrosse fields down below, freshly mowed to a uniform length.

On the western side, you can see the turrets of the lower school peeking through the orchard across campus, the weeping willows and tall apple trees swaying through the glass. Headmaster Helfrich likes to say that Excelsior’s campus is a fifth the size of Central Park and just as beautiful, a massive sprawl north of Manhattan, over the Bronx border.

If I close my eyes, I could walk right out that door and all over Excelsior’s grounds without tripping or falling or bumping in to anything. We’re only a few weeks away from the start of senior year, and coming here, even today before classes begin, feels like coming home.

Except I can’t help but feel a wave of anxiety building in my stomach. Isobel and I inch forward in line, and I look behind me at the other nominated seniors from different schools in the Intercollegiate League. They’re dressed in their most appropriate luncheon attire, standing up straight, smiles perky. Skyler’s at the back of the line with Lee, Isobel’s boyfriend, since they were late and I refused to wait for them. I spot the other Excelsior nominee we know about, Kendall Kirk, in a heated conversation with the debate champion from the Quaker school, Manhattan Friends, over by the drinks table. There should be six of us from Excelsior, but no one’s figured out who the last nominee is. Not yet. I crack my knuckles, tuck a stray lock of hair behind my ear. I remind myself that I’m wearing what I’m supposed to wear, acting how I’m supposed to act. Everything will go exceedingly well this week. It must. But my sense of unease won’t go away.

“They’re not strangers,” I whisper, leaning close to Isobel so none of the students behind or in front of us hear. “At least they won’t be by the end of the week.”

Isobel nods, considering this assessment. If I were feeling a little less on edge, I might take the time to remind her to not be so snippy, which has been her default defense mechanism since I met her in fifth grade. After all, first impressions start now, as my mom told me, and can last until the final donation is made during the Legacy Ball in only four days. If you want to win-and we all do-you have to start on a good note, even with your peers. You never know whose parents or aunts or family friends are already in the Club or how deep their pockets are.

Plus, most of the other nominees are people we’ve seen around our whole lives-other seniors at schools in the Intercollegiate League we’ve played in field hockey or competed against in Model UN. There are only thirty-six of us here-six chosen from each of the six sister schools-and half of these kids summer out east with me, and the other half I recognize from Skyler’s party scene.

The ones we don’t know, we sure as hell will soon. And if we’re smart, we’ll keep them close for the rest of our lives. That’s what Mom says, at least. Those chosen for the Legacy Club will be our college roommates, spouses, business partners, and investors. They’ll be our allies in not only New York society, but in our long, storied futures that are only just beginning.

Penguin Teen