Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Headlong” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.21  ·  Rating Details ·  145 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
What sets Vaughn apart is the quality of our girls. We do draw from all over, girls from every kind of background, girls for whom Vaughn is a major life experience. And not every girl is the right girl for Vaughn. You can often tell, early on, who these girls are.

The Vaughn School. Home of domed ceilings, gleaming checkerboard floors, and the Vaughn Virgins: the upper str
Hardcover, 195 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Headlong, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Headlong

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 09, 2011 Kayla_greeley rated it liked it
Headlong by Kathe Koja is a very interesting novel that takes the reader through the mesmerizing story of Lily Noble. Although many times it is hard to relate to Lily I found some small details that apply to myself. The novel itself has some dense writing that is difficult to understand but is more lucid throughout the story. This novel should only be recommended to someone who really enjoys reading and will take the time to figure out all the intricate findings of Lily Noble. I enjoyed readin ...more
Lily Noble is a sophomore at the exclusive Vaughn school; she has the right parents, the right friends, fits in all the right circles, does all the right things. But she doesn't feel like she quite belongs. She befriends Hazel Tobias, new girl, punk attitude, lots of previous schools, misses her last one, Bertram, much more brown. (I couldn't figure out whether Koja meant Hazel to be black or not; I think not, but I decided to read her as black anyway, why not.--Okay, having read other reviews, ...more
Aug 22, 2016 Liralen rated it liked it
Me, upon finishing Headlong: I'm not really sure what the point of that book was.
My mother: Well, what was it about?
Me: Girl at boarding school makes friends with quirky outsider. The end.
My mother: I see.

This is a gross oversimplification (of the plot, not of the conversation), but I remain uncertain about what I was supposed to get out of it. Lily's as Vaughn as a Vaughn student can get—her mother went to Vaughn and her father to a similar prep school; they have oodles of money; Lily's been at
Jun 13, 2013 Andy rated it it was amazing
I don't know if I am not reading the right "adult" novels, but the YA novels I have been reading are more wrought with emotion, realistic story telling, and coming of age greatness, I'm beginning to think that if any reader wants to be emotionally moved by story, characterization, or theme, then YA is the way to go, and Headlong is no exception. Yea, the book is a little short, a little cheesy, here and there, but overall, the characters are solid, and the discovery of oneself is so much at the ...more
Dec 23, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Seminary students
Shelves: young-adult
There are a lot of teen books with the character of the eccentric girl who is friends with the narrator (e.g., Patron Saint of Butterflies, Stargirl). This follows the formula with Hazel being the outsider at the boarding school where Lily attends. This is a great book about the pressures of perfection and how to find your own path. Read this if you've ever had trouble fitting in, tried to please your parents, failed to please your parents, hated or loved your school, and so on. A lot of YA book ...more
Nov 16, 2008 Suzanne rated it it was ok
Um, I guess this book was ok, although I am not quite sure what it was about. It seemed like a lot was missing, like I was reading a 200 page summary of a book. There was no meat, just "this happened then this happened then this happened and the end." I almost threw in the towel around page 60 but figured "What's another 140 pages?" Parts were interesting but overall it was lacking.
Feb 12, 2009 Cera rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

Lily Noble has been attending the Vaughn School since pre-K as a day student. She has been discontent with her life there. To try to appease her, Lily's parents decide to let Lily be a boarder at school sophomore year. Thinking the change will help Lily's restlessness, Lily moves into the dorm. She is stuck with a roommate that has severe allergies and is overwhelmed with the pressures of life at Vaughn.

Lily notices the new girl, Hazel Tobias, in her Lit c
Jul 09, 2010 Monica rated it it was amazing
The prestigious Vaughn school houses the best of the best...the wealthy, the intelligent, the elite. Lily Noble, a "lifer" (she's attended Vaughn all her life, should be satisfied with her position. She knows the rules and she's followed them all her life. Until this year.

Formerly a day student, Lily decides she wants to be a resident student. She meets Hazel, a new sophomore scholarship student who just doesn't fit the mold. She's got an unusual family, comes from an inner city high school, an
Dec 04, 2008 Becky rated it did not like it
I wanted a record somewhere that I'd read this book, but I didn't want to blog about this one. For obvious reasons. This book felt disjointed and off. I don't think the author could have made this book any more confusing if she tried. After 195 pages all I know for sure is that it is a story of a teen girl, Lily, who fails at love and friendship. Okay, her failed love relationship wasn't really love. Just lust. And it is her choice completely to give up on this guy--Kells. So she's not unhappy a ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 01, 2013 Owen rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Despite the fact that this is one of Koja's lowest rated books on Goodreads (and I know that doesn't really mean anything but I still take it into account), I do think it is one of her best. If I'm not mistaken, it is her most recent YA book and you can definitely feel how modern it is.

Ok, I'm looking now and it was released in 2008, which was 5 years ago (holy crap) and actually not that long after her other books. But still, it feels different. And I think that is because she was sort of going
T.V and Book Addict
Feb 20, 2009 T.V and Book Addict rated it really liked it
Aww, this book was very ...nice/different/special/touching/sweet. I have never read a book in this kind of writing style, I loved it! I miss it :(
This is a wonderful story about friendship that will stay in your mind for a long time, long after you've read it.
I loved the way the author, Koja, wrote this book. She did it in such a creative way, that it made the whole book even better, I have never read another book written in this way which makes this book stand out-something I really like. (read
Dec 28, 2008 Donalyn rated it liked it
Lily Noble has attended the exclusive Vaughn Prep School for eleven years, but the school does not seem like home to her anymore. When a new girl, Hazel, who is not "Vaughn material" arrives, Lily starts to question her identity and her relationships with her boyfriend, classmates, and parents.

Most of the characters fell into stereotypes-- Hazel's hip photographer brother and his understanding life partner, the jock boyfriend, the snobby mom, etc. The only character I felt was complicated was Li
Mar 21, 2009 Kelly rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
Summary: Lily Noble has always gone to private school. In her sophomore year, a misfit named Hazel shows up and makes Lily rethink the way she’s been doing things her whole life.

Review: The back-and-forth nature of this book took a little time for me to get used to. The chapters alternate between snippets from the beginning of the school year and the end of the year. A few times, I got confused about whether it was a “later” chapter or a “before” chapter, but I chalk that up to my own work-induc
Shelby Finger
Jan 11, 2012 Shelby Finger rated it did not like it
One star, because 0/5 stars isn't allowed. This book was terribad. I actually got into a high speed internet arguement (that's right, I'm a bad ass with a key board) with some chick on a book club website over this. She said that this particular book wasn't the best portrayal for this author, who is apparently capable of so much more. I SAY, if she was willing to write and publish this, I want nothing to do with her (but in all seriousness, I respect all author's who follow their dreams, yadda, ...more
E. Anderson
Aug 31, 2009 E. Anderson rated it it was amazing
Not your typical boarding school tale of hook-ups and hijinx, Headlong is the story of Lily Noble, a lifer at Vaughn - a school known for its “Vaughn Virgin” social elite. Lily has always fit in with the girls at school - the pretty ones with perfect grades and wealthy families. But then Hazel comes to Vaughn on scholarship, bringing her alternative family, her hot cherry licorice, and punk-rock style. Soon Lily is drifting away from her old friends, and as she spends more time with Hazel, she c ...more
Jan 18, 2016 Lindy rated it really liked it
Lily has attended posh Vaughn school since pre-kindergarten. In her sophomore year, Lily's rebellion against being a perfect student and perfect daughter coincides with meeting Hazel, a new student at the school. The two girls plunge headlong into friendship as they test the limits of their emerging selves.

Lily's first person narration is occasionally interspersed with the perspective of various adults from her world, effecting a more balanced view for the reader. The boarding school setting wit
Mar 09, 2009 Ricki rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 10, 2009 Emily rated it it was ok
Shelves: review-books
This book is a tough call for me. I liked it, but I found it annoying too. Lily is a cardboard character in many ways - she is just too similar to the protagonists in other books I have read lately. Hazel is problematic too. Instead of being different, she translates to stereotyped for me. And neither one of them went anywhere. They started to, but then both ended up the same. That is realistic in many ways, but doesn't make for good reading.
Aug 06, 2010 Alison rated it it was ok
First off, the way this story is told confused me for a while. Flashing back to the past and then to the present messed up the story's chain of events. The plot is boring most of the time and only vaguely interesting at others. We've seen all these characters before in some form or another. The ending was pointless, with a bunch of buildup to a disappointing conclusion.
Kali Keish
Mar 03, 2011 Kali Keish rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
The book seemed confusing at some times. I didn't really understand why some of the parts were included in the book. It was interesting following through seeing where Lily's life was during certain months then going back to the summer, yet when it first started doing that I had no idea what was going on. But all in all, I actually did enjoy the book.
Apr 29, 2009 Alexa rated it liked it
Shelves: teenbooks
I thought the way the timeline worked in this book was interesting. There's one chapter from June (end of the school year), one from September (beginning). The chapters move through the school year forwards and we continue to hear about June. Except that I thought there would be a bigger reveal somewhere in the middle. That would have made it a better book.
Jan 11, 2013 7709julia rated it it was ok
Headlong was an uninteresting read. The whole story just felt a bit off. For example, it is supposed to be a coming of age story, and is ablout lily noble realizing who she truly is, but iut just came across like the author was trying too hard. If you want a coming of age novel, search further.

I reccommend this book to any readers of The Clique, or Pretty Little Liars.
Laura Gardner
Dec 14, 2008 Laura Gardner rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, drama
The situations at the private school didn't seem completely authentic to me... I did like the structure of the book, though, and the relationship between Hazel and Lily; this is a great book about friendship.
Feb 02, 2009 Melody rated it liked it
I'm not usually much for boarding school books, but I couldn't resist the jacket copy on this. And I'm glad I didn't. It's written with a breathless immediacy that rings true and overcomes some odd plot holes. I liked it. A lot.
Isabela Oliveira
Jun 24, 2009 Isabela Oliveira rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
Just like every Kathe Koja book I've read, the ending got to me. I wasn't expecting it. Bittersweet, but only because it was as real and visceral to me as a book can be.
Jul 04, 2010 Cher rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
This author is very talented at creating mood and believable, interesting characters but there just wasn't anything truly interesting about this particular story.
Amber Oliphant
Aug 15, 2012 Amber Oliphant rated it did not like it
The audience for this book is high schoolers. Not appropriate content (drugs, sex, homosexuality). Poorly written.
Lauren Silver
Dec 21, 2011 Lauren Silver rated it liked it
While I enjoyed the way this book was written... It was rather confusing. Is it bad that I can't even really remember the ending?
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Powder Necklace: A Novel
  • The Underwood See (Withern Rise, #3)
  • Almost Forever
  • Season of Ice
  • If You're Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand: Poems About School
  • Cheated
  • Wild Magic
  • Pucker
  • Picture Perfect
  • Dirty Laundry
  • Dreams of Significant Girls
  • What I Wore to Save the World (Morgan Rawlinson, #3)
  • The Jade Notebook (Notebook, #3)
  • Watch for Me by Moonlight (The Midnight Twins, #3)
  • A Pearl Among Princes
  • The Possibility of Fireflies
  • Oblivion Road
  • Three Bird Summer
Kathe Koja (born 1960) is an American writer. She was initially known for her intense speculative fiction for adults, but over the past few years has turned to writing young adult novels.

Koja is also a prolific author of short stories, including many in collaboration with Barry N. Malzberg. Most of her short fiction remains uncollected. Koja's novels and short stories frequently concern characters
More about Kathe Koja...

Share This Book