Cover Image: Reputation

Reputation

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Member Reviews

So I started reading this one on my Kindle and I just couldn't get into it. I think what saved it for me was the audio. It's basically a Regency Mean Girls, and after I got past the first few parts it was really good and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
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Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

I was really excited to jump into the story after reading a description that this story was "Bridgerton meets Gossip Girl with a dash of Jane Austen" but found the pacing at the beginning of the story a bit slow for my taste. Once I was in the thick of the story, I found myself enjoying Georgiana's adventures in finding her place in society slowly, even if I found her a bit tiresome at times. The characters in this story are much more morally-grey than I'm typically used to in a Regency-era story but it was refreshing to read such a different sort of historical fiction book.  I am a big fan of how diverse (in so many ways) this story is. The representation was *chef's kiss*!

I'm a sucker for anything Regency and I'm glad I stuck it out even with the slow-paced beginning! Excited to see what Lex Croucher comes out with next!
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This book was a ton of fun to read! It definitely felt like I was reading Gossip Girl but set in the Regency period. I’m a huge fan. I also loved the representation included in the book and the fact that Georgiana had flaws, which weren’t glossed over. I also appreciated how sensitive topics were addressed head on. This is a fantastic book!
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Think mean girls in the regency era. If you are loving #Bridgerton especially the drama this book is for you. 
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Georgiana is new to town staying with her aunt and uncle when she meets Francine. Francine is the head of her social circle and her rules are nothing like Georgiana has experienced before. 
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This would make a fun tv show with the gossip, drama and time period.
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Thank you @smpromance for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I unfortunately didn't love this title. I honestly struggled to get through it and almost DNF'd multiple times. The biggest problem for me is the marketing of this story as a romance. I did enjoy the banter and chemistry between Thomas and Georgiana, but it took a back burner to the main "Mean Girls"-esque story line. About halfway through reading this book, I found a post on Croucher's Instagram stating that this doesn't completely fit into the romance category, and frankly, I wish I had seen it sooner. I appreciate Croucher adding different types of representation into Regency Britain, but I just didn't connect with or like most of the characters and found the plot falling flat.
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I think I’ve settled on a 3.5 star rating.

This really wasn’t a book I actively disliked, but it also wasn’t a book I was loving and sitting on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was next. The tag line is sort of ‘Mean Girls’ meets Jane Austen, and it’s kind of that and kind of not? Georgiana is new to town and lived a sort of sheltered life. Her parents don’t really care about her and her aunt is fixated on her having a good reputation. She meets Frances Campbell, the scandalous “it girl” of the ton, at a party and her life changes from there. From heavy drinking to drug use to attending scandalous parties, the book has it all. But there is a deeper undercurrent that sort of is discussed in some ways and other times is not. Things such as racism, classism, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault, are discussed in varying degrees. The first three being brought up but never really dealt with much and the last two having a much more prominent discussion. The beginning of the book is more fun but just doesn’t have the zest of humor that it’s contemporary movie comp does. The middle to end of the book plunged into darker territory with sexual assault and harassment and how characters dealt with these events being large parts of the story.

I think, for me, the comparison of ‘Mean Girls’ meets Jane Austen created an expectation in me that this book was just not able to meet. For me, comparing it to ‘Mean Girls’ gave me the expectation that it would be really humorous, but most of what I found funny were probably not intended to be jokes. There was also a continuity error that I found really funny but I hope was fixed in the final copy. I can see where Reputation is Jane Austen-esque, but it feels more like a cautionary tale a la Vanity Fair and many gothic novels of the era. In my opinion, the comp titles impacted my expectations. It was much more serious than I had anticipated so I wasn’t quite prepared for it. It was also labeled as a rom-com but the romance is not really the focus at all. The focus is Georgiana’s coming of age story, which is totally fine but it would have made more sense to market it that way. 

This is not a bad book by any means! It was well crafted, had some character growth and dimension for certain characters, and I felt the ending made sense. I would definitely say to go into it thinking it will be more serious than you think. I would recommend this book to people who are looking for more new adult coming of age stories. 

**CONTENT WARNINGS: alcohol and drug use (including a scene of alcohol poisoning), bullying, racism, classism, domestic violence (an on page scene), sexual harassment, sexual assault.**
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I was hooked on reading Reputation by the blurb. When I read the first paragraph and saw that it was a romantic comedy set in Regency England but compared to Mean Girls, I knew I needed to read it. First of all, I love romances, with historical romances being one of my all-time favorite genres. It was touted as a comedy and set in Regency England, and I was almost sold. The final selling point was that it was compared to Mean Girls. That is one of my favorite movies (even though I haven’t watched it in a while). So, I accepted the invitation to review from STP. I am glad I did because I loved this book!!

What I liked the most about Reputation was that it made me laugh. I had read this book on my drive home from MA the week of Easter. I distinctly remember that we were stuck in traffic leading up to the George Washington Bridge in New York. I laughed hysterically at some of the antics/situations that George found herself in. My poor husband had to listen to me explain was I was laughing without getting too into it (I kept it G-rated for the kids sitting in the backseat). Any book that makes me laugh like that and makes me share it with my husband is fantastic.

I LOVED George. She was such a breath of fresh air. She was a nerdy (being raised by scholars), socially awkward (from being kept isolated because of her scholarly parents), and amazingly open-minded for the book’s era. Oh, and let’s not forget clumsy. She was constantly tripping over something or spilling something. I think that she got in over her head when she started hanging out with Frances, and I disagreed with the steps she took to hang out with them. But then again, she was a teenager (18), and teenagers aren’t the most rational people (I have 2, so I know).

The romance angle of Reputation was wonderfully written. I liked that it seemed one-sided for most of the book. I also liked that George made a fool out of herself almost every time she saw Hawksley. Or that she was almost always drunk or high too. It wasn’t until the middle of the book, after she sent him the 1816 equivalent of a drunken text (a drunken note), that I saw that he liked and cared about her.

I loved that the author had LGBTQ characters and kept them in line with what the atmosphere would have been like in 1816. There was an openly gay man, a lesbian, and I believe two bisexual people portrayed in the book. I will give you some background on being gay in 1816. People had to hide, have secret societies, and if they got caught, they could have been sent to jail or worse. The author did bring that up when George mentioned to Jonathan how romantic sneaking around was, and his response was very spot on.

Race was also another thing touched upon in Reputation. Frances and Hawksely were biracial. Frances had a white father and a black mother, and Hawksley had an Indian mother and a white father. The author did have a couple of scenes where Frances’s mother was treated poorly because she was black. But, more importantly, the author didn’t portray the aristocrats of England as just purely white. Because they weren’t. The note at the end of the book explained that perfectly.

The author touched on several minor things, the most major being domestic abuse, sexual assault, and child abandonment. Frances’s mother was beaten by her father at one point in the book. George and Frances overheard, and Frances locked George in her bedroom for what I assumed was her safety. The villain sexually assaulted Frances in the middle of the book, George had an attempted sexual assault by a different character, AND she was physically attacked in a public place by the villain. As with most domestic violence and sexual/physical assault in that time (and honestly, in this time too), people swept it under the rug. But the author did a great job of showing the after-effects of it. Frances’s and her mother’s demeanor the morning after their respective assaults were dead on, as was Frances talking Jonathan from going after her attacker. I wasn’t a big fan of how the author handled the rest of it, but it was true to form again.

I am also going to mention the child abandonment angle of the book. I felt for George, and I was so mad at her parents. They left without telling her, and she was shipped out to her aunt and uncle’s that day. After that, the only contact they had with George was a letter written to her by her father, asking for his book back. I didn’t blame George one bit for what she did after. I would have had the same reaction. It took George getting into trouble for them to come to the house, and even then, their knee-jerk reaction was to put George into a convent. I cheered (yes, literally cheered) when George’s aunt and uncle finally said, “That’s enough.” During Mrs. Burton’s speech, I cried where she reamed them out and claimed George as her own.

The end of Reputation was exciting. The author was able to wrap up all of the storylines in a way that made me very happy. George got her HEA on all ends. Several people got their HEAs too. It was the perfect ending for this book.

I would recommend Reputation for anyone over 16. Drug and alcohol use, sexual situations, mild language, rape (not graphic), and mild violence.
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Bridgerton is 100% to blame for my regency era reads and my high expectations for this book. 

TW-SA, Drug use

we follow Georgiana as she basically tries to navigate a friendship with your typical 'mean girl' Frances. Frances is a high society party girl, surrounded by her "inner circle". When Georgiana meets Francis, she is thrown headfirst into a different world of parties. 

The most interesting thing about this book, were the side characters that we barely got to explore. even the romance with the brooding Thomas, wasn't as explored as I hoped it would be. throughout the first half of the book, we basically focused on Frances and Georgiana who possibly had a romantic thing going on...? but then it was just left alone and never talked about again. 

overall, this had so many plot lines, and very little resolution or explanation for them..... it just wasn't for me.
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This book was genuinely a laugh out loud read. The characters were fun and the reader has no choice but to root for them the entire time.
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I would describe this book as Jane Austen meets Mean Girls meets Bridgerton.  You have the regency era and setting, but with diverse characters with naughty back stories.  The fun of this book is that it lets you peek behind the stiff, formality of Jane Austen's world to the hedonistic pleasures that are secretly indulged in by every member of society.  Definitely not your mother's Jane Austen.  A fun, light read.
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Creative, fun, whimsical premise with a very modern lens on a vintage era. I did have a tough time making my way through, though, and I'm not 100% sure I can articulate why. I do think a lot of editing could still be done on the version I read. I found the reading experience as more of a chore, and that may have been helped by cutting out repetitive scenes/themes and editing down some of the "extras". 

Overall, it was a fun escape with a lot of potential. It's just too bad that it felt like it needed some more love.

Thank you to St Martin's Press and Netgalley for providing me with the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Reputation in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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Lex Croucher's Reputation takes Mean Girls and places it in the Regency Era, complete with balls, gowns and lots of gossip. It's a charming read, but far darker than I expected based on the cover, description and reviews. Readers expecting a fun, light book should be ready for some angst.
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If you’re looking for Mean Girls set in the Regency this book is for you. I didn’t really find much to like about any of the main characters or the supporting ones. I thought the author did a good job of describing what exactly was happening with each character. I thought the love story between Georgianna and Thomas a bit contrived but I don’t want to actually give anything away. 
Overall it is a decent story and I’m glad to have been given the opportunity to read and review the book. 
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martins press.
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Georgiana is sent to live with her aunt and uncle with the hope that she will fall in with the right crowd and find a marriage match.  But when Georgiana meets Frances at one of the boring parties her aunt drags her to, she falls in with a much rougher crowd than anticipated.  Frances and her friends are the life of every party, high energy, and incredibly mischievous.  Drugs, alcohol, wild parties with outrageous costumes… Georgiana finds herself doing things she never thought she would to keep up with the group. 

The story was really great and the characters were larger than life, but the endless partying in the middle did become a little redundant and made the mid-section drag a bit.  No real progress was made between Georgiana and Thomas (the mysterious, brooding love interest) until the last 1/3 of the book, but once Thomas started to open up, I did enjoy his character.  He has a complicated backstory and I was glad we got to explore it more.  

There are a lot of complexities to each of the characters in the story.  Though they appear to have the very best of everything there is to offer, each character has a reason for behaving the way they do, and I think Croucher did a grerat job of giving them depth.  The shining star of the story was, of course, Betty.  Anyone would be lucky to have a friend like her.  And Mr. and Mrs. Burton surprised me as well.  

Overall an enjoyable read, and the perfect remedy for the post-Bridgerton blues.  I look forward to seeing what Croucher releases in the future.
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I love the idea of this novel, but I got too stuck on the similarities (and even direct references from) Mean Girls. I did, however, love that it was a diverse cast of characters & stories being told.
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Absolutely delightful from end to end. I don’t think I’ve devoured a book so fast in years. Reputation was compelling, funny, and somehow terrifying all at once, and I could not put it down. I counted two direct Mean Girls quotes but I’m sure I missed some, and each had me giggling like crazy. This book felt like Emma meets Mean Girls with a dash of Heathers, and was everything I could have asked for. 

Heavy content warnings for alcohol and drug abuse, attempted and actual but off screen sexual assault, and people being absolutely horrid bullies to each other.

I highly recommend giving this book a shot. It made me laugh, gasp, cringe, and cry. What a gauntlet of emotions I’ve been through today! 

Thanks netgalley for the review copy!
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**ARC provided by the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

Reputation chronicles her experience with new friend groups, a chance at love, and lots of spirits. Following Georgiana Ellers, a young lady sent to her aunt and uncle's home while her somewhat apathetic parents are off to the seaside for new job opportunities and the advantages of the ocean air.

Though the wit is incredibly sharp and deeply funny, the Mean Girls-inspired aspects of Reputation by Lex Croucher didn't really call to me how you would expect a person who overuses those memes to be.

That's not to say there aren't any entertaining aspects to this story. I appreciated the small references (purposeful or otherwise) to some of Jane Austen's upbringing. The boarding school George's father ran out of their home, the modest life they led. There's also the sharp wit of the quick-fire responses in conversation, the adorable correspondence between Thomas and George, and the hilarious affinity Cecily has for weapons training. Thomas' father's small part in his and George's initial meeting and discussion about reading preferences immediately endeared me to him.

But one of the significant issues the book has is the protagonist, Georgiana. The first half of the book has Georgiana leaning too into the passive follower aspect of her character and when she doesn't fall into that, she depends on the "being mean to be funny" thing that really turned me off. I appreciate the small moments of growth at the end. I was ambivalent about her character (save for *a harrowing* moment outside the church). I really liked the Hawksley men and Betty Walter and, at specific points, felt so sorry for the latter. I honestly enjoyed seeing Georgiana when she was around those three during the story's latter half.

I'm not sure what it says about your protagonist when you're *rooting* for another character when they (rightfully) berate them for the way they've behaved since falling into the crowd of seemingly vapid, reckless rich kids. Nonetheless, that's where I was about 65-70 percent of the way through.

Overall, it flowed well, and the wit and comedy are there, but I don't think this historical romance is one I will be putting on my re-read list.
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Reputation features an interesting power dynamic between a young impressionable Georgina yearning for adventure and the seasoned Frances- who lures her into a world of excitement, intrigue, and debauchery. Georgina learns the hard way that appearances aren’t always what they seem and the life of privilege she yearns for is just a mask for the dark expectations placed on young men and women of the era.⁣
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The juxtaposition between Regency-era drama and modern-day comedy was delightfully refreshing! I think it’s safe to say- this ain’t yo mamas regency romance ⁣
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Reputation is quite simply everything I wanted regency romance to be a hot mess of the main character, bumbling through life uncertain about her place in society. I liked that the characters are messy and flawed and irresistibly relatable. Everyone is a villain but as with everything in life- it’s not all black and white but shades of grey. ⁣
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Thank you to the author and St. Martins Press and Netgalley for providing me with an arc.
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Reputation is less a historical romance novel and more a book version of a late 90's/eary 2000s teen movie with elements of the regency era. 

Georgina meets popular girl Frances Campbell at a party while staying with her Aunt and Uncle for the summer. George quickly falls in with Frances' group of mean girls. She also finds herself attracted to Thomas Hawksley, a sober friend of one of the popular boys. It's implied that Frances has a drinking problem and when Frances is sexually assaulted by her beau, that's when the book takes a dark turn and starts to incorporate more Regency-era elements of courtship and societal rules. 

First off, this dialogue was not historically accurate. Honestly, if you were ever a fan of teen movies, you can probably pick out the scenes that were influenced by different movies. I feel like this should have just been a contemporary novel but the publisher thought the author should try to jump on the Bridgerton bandwagon. The thing is Bridgerton is just an ok series. It's not even that great and copying it doesn't serve authors like Croucher who want to do something different. I didn't love how this book resolved the sexual assault storyline, I feel like this is where it felt less like a regency romance. In either timeline, it doesn't feel that realistic. I did however love the last chapter and the romance between George and Thomas.  But reading 400+ pages for those tiny nuggets which probably totaled less than 25 pages is not worth it. 

If you love historical/regency romance, this book is not for you. If you love YA and strong themes of alcoholism, morally grey characters, and don't mind sexual assault, this is for you.
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3.5 stars! 

CW: sexual violence, alcoholism

For fans of Bridgerton and Mean Girls. This rom com was raunchy and witty, showcasing the rampant debauchery amongst polite society's youth. I enjoyed the voice of the main character, Georgiana, and her antics as she navigated to world she was thrust into when her parents sent her to live with her aunt and uncle. I thought the side characters and the nature of friendship dynamics were explored well.  

Lex Croucher deftly tackles topics of overconsumption of alcohol and sexual assault, it was a refreshing change to see sexual assault called out instead of normalized in regency romance. 

Thank you St. Martin's Press & #NetGalley for the arc in exchange for my review!!
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