Cover Image: Reputation

Reputation

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Reputation felt like a love letter to not only romance novels, but rom-com movies and those that enjoy them. So many scenes were reminiscent of Austen's novels and there were even direct lines from the movie Mean Girls woven in that made me laugh out loud. But the book is not all frills and frocks either. The story delves into some very real, and at times heavy storylines such as parental neglect, domestic abuse, sexual assault, and rape, as well as heavy drinking and drug use. I thought that the author handled these issues well, but this book might not be for everyone.
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Thanks so much to the author, St. Martin's Griffin, and NetGalley for the gifted, advanced e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts. All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } All of my reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on my blog at tacklingtbr.home.blog 

TW: sexual assault/rape, loss of family members, alcohol related death, underage drinking/drug use, drinking to excess 

When I read the description of this book and saw that it was being billed as Jane Austen and Mean Girls, I was already sold on it. Truthfully, I was so excited to read this book that I was a little bit worried that it would disappoint me, especially after seeing some of my friends posting kind of a mixed bag of reviews about it. But it really lived up to that for me, and I found that I really, thoroughly enjoyed the read. It was Emma and Mean Girls and Bridgerton all kind of rolled into one, and I really loved it! 

I will say that you have to enjoy flawed characters for this particular read, because there are really only the smallest handful of characters that I would classify as innocent in this story it's basically Betty and a few (but not all) of the adults, and that's about it. But all of the characters truly believe that they are in the right and that they are faultless, which made it very believable for me and gave the characters room to reflect and grow. Everyone thinks they're the hero in the story, at least on some level, right? 

Also I was swooning over Thomas a few times. Quiet and brooding but really in touch with and open about his feelings, and ready to shout his love from the rooftops? Yes please. 

The story starts off a bit slow - a fairly normal pace for a regency, with a ball here and there but not much else happening, but definitely taking the pace more from the Jane Austen-side versus the Mean Girls-side - but it really picked up by the halfway point. This didn't bother me because I do tend to read my fair share of regency, so I'm used to a bit slower pace especially before the scandals of the stories really get going, but be prepared for it if you aren't. 

I would say that this book definitely wouldn't be for everyone, but it was absolutely for me. I would recommend it to my friends who enjoy regency and want a fun twist on a familiar type of story. I would also recommend it to friends who enjoy more contemporary stories that are wanting to dip their toes into regency, because with the ties to Mean Girls (there's literally a take on the classic "Get in, loser, we're going shopping" line) would make it a pretty accessible introduction to the genre. I think that the best way to read this book would be lounging in the comfort and safety of your bed with a rather large glass of wine.
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I enjoyed Bridgerton series and was excited to get approved for another regency novel. Georgiana our main heroine is a fun wild witty girl who along with Frances gets sucked into the glittery life of richness. 
This was a fun fast paced read for me to read how Georgiana finds true meaning of life and friendships.
Thank you St Martins Press and NetGalley for the gifted galley that hit the shelves on April 5, 2022
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This was not what I thought I was getting into when I picked up this book. The characters are so vapid that I just wanted to stop reading. The main character Georgianna was just as bad as her new friends. They were all self centered, mean and callous.
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The perfect book for Bridgerton fans who love the scandal and Gossip Girl vibes. It was a little difficult to get into at first, but once I was there, it felt just like I was in Regency times.
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Review ⭐⭐ Reputation by Lex Croucher

I'll begin my review by explaining why misinformed and dishonest marketing is bad. My disappointment right now is why.

This book was marketed as a Jane Austen-esque Bridgerton. I was expecting a fun, slightly dramatic romcom featuring a goofy family with a feminist undertone à la Evie Dunmore with a strong heroine trying to defy the rules she is confined too by her era. The Jane Austen comparison was quite fair, I would say the connection with Emma is somewhat accurate. (Little fact about me: Emma is my least favourite Jane Austen unfortunately).

There's no denying the author has a lot of talent, the writing was delightful, the beginning scene with Georgiana hiding in a corner of a party thinking about Viking funeral was highly relatable and being saved by confident and exuberant Frances Campbell was a quirky and perfect beginning.

But soon after, I got bored, out of my mind bored by the characters' lack of appartenance to their surrounding, by the omnipresence of drunkenness, sex, violence and complete disregard for the period they are in. To be perfectly candid, this book was a mess, and maybe it was the whole point? Coming of age is a mess, and it feels like your inside are being ripped apart and rearranged in a more palatable version of yourself so you won't be rejected by the rest of society. Maybe this book was trying to make the reader feel that discomfort and pain at watching characters' self-destructing behaviours? But to be honest to me it felt more like they couldn't decided what they wanted out of this book, the goal. It certainly wasn't to give us a funny regency romance, that's for sure.

Repeat after me, Regency does not mean Bridgerton. Comparing a book just because of its era is so disappointing, it just feels out of touch with the genre and it reeks of greed.

After reading this, I feel tricked.

CW: Rape, alcohol and drug abuse, death of family members, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, racism, toxic relationships (family and friends), general violence.
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This is the sort of book that I did relatively enjoy while reading it, but when I think back to it, it really doesn't hold up. This book tries to cover a lot, and I think it doing so it falls short on covering big plot points meaningfully. It is advertised as being a queer and diverse regency era rom-com, however the diversity in the story really felt quite surface level. It doesn't feel like the author really looked into the experiences of BIPOC people in regency era to be able to write their experiences meaningfully in this book. The queer representation was better but still falls short in my opinion (one of the queer characters is probably the least developed in the whole friend group). 

Not being an expert in the time period, this still really felt like there was no desire to make the world historically accurate at all. It just doesn't seem believable that there would be no consequences to the main characters' actions, especially regarding the amount of drug use and unsupervised outings. It felt like modern times basically just set in the English countryside wearing regency dresses and where the characters are on a social media break. 

I don't want to get into spoilers, but I don't feel like the sexual assault plot was handled very well either. Again, it is very surface level and doesn't do justice to the severity of the topic. 

I would not recommend this, there must be other fun historical romances that would be better.
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*ARC kindly provided by St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book immediately caught my attention when it was described as a Bridgerton meets Gossip Girl mixed with a touch of Jane Austen, but what I found was actually darker than I anticipated since I was expecting the standard historical romance story.

This book is centered around Georgiana Ellers, the protagonist of the story who is sent to stay with her aunt and uncle while her parents are away. Her stay has been quite monotonous until meeting party girl Frances Campbell, an irresistible rich companion that will open her inner circle to Georgiana.

Part of my problem with this book was how hard it was for me to warm up to the protagonist of the story since she acted questionably all the time, making her character come as morally grey. Usually I enjoy morally grey characters and don’t have a problem with their actions, but Georgiana was just mean without reason when it came to people that didn’t really deserve it.

Another aspect that bothered me was the fact that this book was categorized in the romance genre when in reality there’s not too much romance and I can count with one hand the number of times that Georgiana and her love interest interacted. I would have liked to see their relationship develop and not to deduct what happened from glimpses of them.

Finally, what I would have liked to see is a list of trigger warnings before going into the story, so here’s one for future readers because I think it’s important. Trigger warnings: mention of sexual assault, description of drug and alcohol abuse, mention of implied rape and attempted rape.
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Have you hopped on the Bridgerton train? And of course like all millennials are, you obsessed with Mean Girls right? Obvs.
Ok, now imagine Mean Girls within the Bridgerton world.. yup, that’s REPUTATION! It’s good, you’ll definitely need to pour yourself some tea, to get the tea☕️
A novel that will definitely surprise you, with relatable content of peer pressure, and the results that come from wanting to fit it. As well as the importance of friendship.
An overall fun read, filled with friendship, gossip, romance, gossip, parties, gossip.. and a ton of laughs! What more could you ask for :)

Perfect read after you’ve binge watched Bridgerton and needing some more regency drama!
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Read if you like: Jane Austen/Bridgerton with a Mean Girls Spin.
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This book was so fun and I loved its concept for it. Thought it was cool that the author had a Mean Girls spin to it.
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Georgiana goes to stay with her Aunt and Uncle and there she meets Frances and her friends From there Georgiana participates in a number of inappropriate parties/unchaperoned events, and Georgiana learns that maybe Frances isn't a great friend, but a notorious mean girl.
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I really loved the characters and all the Drama! Lots happened in the book to keep the reader engaged.
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CW: drug and alcohol abuse, partying, sexual harassment and assault, bullying.
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Reputation, by Lex Croucher, follows Georgiana, who has just been sent to live with her aunt and uncle after her parents sell their house to move to the seaside for her mother's health. She resigns herself to spending a summer alone with her aunt, but soon finds herself drawn into a group of much richer friends, which she soon finds to be leading her to become somebody that she isn't sure she wants to be. 

Georgiana is an extremely likeable protagonist who makes a plethora of mistakes throughout the book. She is naive and sheltered and, like many people her age, willing to do whatever it takes to fit in. I really enjoyed reading her character development and how her relationships with various people in her life grow and morph as she goes through several stages of figuring out who she wants to be.

The absolute highlight of the book for me is the relationship between Georgiana and her love interest, Thomas Hawksley. There's so much banter and flirting and it is so cute and shippable; I would honestly reread the book just for their romance.

The rest of the book left something to be desired. There are a lot of side characters, particularly in the group that Georgiana becomes part of, but none of them are as developed as they ought to be. Even Frances, the leader of the group and easily the most developed of them, could have used a little more backstory. It's a pretty lengthy book for the scope of the story, so I definitely would have expected a little more work on these side characters; when I still can't really tell the difference between several of the friends towards the end of the book, then there's a definite problem there. 

However, there were also some really enjoyable side characters. My favorite (other than Thomas Hawksley) was Betty Walters, a girl who Georgiana's aunt wants her to be friends with that she originally resists. Other characters of note are Georgiana's aunt and uncle, as well as Thomas' father.

Another thing that I wish this book had done was devote a little more space to the diversity that it has in terms of race and sexual orientation. It has a few small excahnges on those topics, but I think that it would have been a more interesting book for devoting more page time to those aspects of some of its characters' identities. 

I will say that anybody considering this book should be aware of the trigger warnings, particularly related to alcoholism and sexual assault, since those are discussed in relatively large amounts of detail (most of the sexual assault isn't explicit, but it is discussed often for the latter half of the book). 

Overall, I did really enjoy Reputation. It's lighthearted and fun while still dealing with some pretty heavy topics. The people describing it as "Regency-era Mean Girls" are absolutely correct in tone, though I think this story does have more nuance than Mean Girls does. It's perfect for fans of Bridgerton, but also just for anybody who loves that sort of coming-of-age Mean Girls-esque vibe. Reputation is extremely fun, has an adorable romance, and nuanaced relationships that will make you feel invested in the characters and their struggles and lives. I'm giving Reputation 4.5/5 stars.
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Regency-era Mean Girls! A great YA novel for those looking to break into historical fiction, though I thought it was somewhat anachronistic. 

This  is more a story about friendship than it is a romance, just as a heads up.
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Watch out lovers of Regency Romance there is a new author on the scene and she has arrived with a bang! 

“Cheers—to our monstrous families, and to the infinite number of far better parties we’re missing this very instant! May our friends wreak sensational havoc in our stead.”


Thus begins an intriguing story full of captivating characters and provocative encounters.

Reputation by Lex Croucher is a Regency Romantic Comedy story that is full of witty dialogue between characters who are often not all they first appear. When the main character, Georgiana Ellers, a woman normally of modest means is left to the care of her aunt and uncle finds herself bored and lonely “amidst a backdrop of wealthy aristocracy, she comes face to face with the reality of privilege and excess. This story is set against a backdrop of lavish parties, handsome men on horseback––and in a time when one’s reputation was everything––this edgy, hilarious romantic comedy explores sex, consent, belonging, and status through the eyes of an unforgettable heroine that Austen herself would have cheered for.”  When Georgiana meets Frances Campbell during a dinner party she immediately is enthralled by Frances’ persona and her ability to liven up even the most loathsome dinner on earth. After their initial meeting Georgiana is certain she and Frances will be best of friends and she was eagerly awaiting their next meeting. 

“The truth of the matter was that she would have swapped all the tea in England for another moment in Frances’s company. Georgiana had already replayed the events of their meeting over and over again in quiet moments, had even started inventing further conversations they might have, future meetings in which Georgiana impressed Frances with her wit and charm, confirming a lifelong friendship and setting in motion the many adventures they would undertake together. Frances would likely open the door to all manner of glamorous parties and enchanting outings, but more important, she would be Georgiana’s partner in crime. Her confidante. Her captain.”

As Georgiana and Frances become close friends, The curtain obscuring the reality of polite society is abruptly opened, revealing an entire new world to Georgiana who in turn is left pondering what sacrifices are worth being considered a member of the upper echelons. 

Georgiana goes through a huge amount of growth throughout this story which highlights Lex Crouchers skill as an author. There is a lot of underlying themes and sometimes subtle explorations of decisions a person makes and the ripple of impact certain behaviors will have on each person involved. I found this book to be entertaining and appreciate how the author explores and reveals the mostly hidden realities of the upper crust or the so called “polite society”. 

So because everyone knows “In all the books in which a heroine started over in a new town or village or castle, she had immediately stumbled upon a series of daring adventures, or got dramatically lost on the moors, or swooned into the arms of a passing (and very handsome) gentleman. We get to meet Thomas Hawksley, who has a tendency to cross paths with Georgiana in her most embarrassing moments. Sparks fly, but Thomas seems unimpressed with the company she is keeping. And soon, Georgiana begins to wonder whether she’ll ever feel like she fits in––or if the price of entry into Frances’s gilded world will ultimately be higher than she is willing to pay.”

I enjoyed this story and recommend to anyone who enjoys Regency stories with a flair! I will be looking for more Lex Croucher books in the future. 

4 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📚I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press. This is my unbiased honest review.📚
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This sadly wasn’t for me. I just didnt resallu enjoy it. But i want to thank the publishers for giving me the chance to review it.
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Oh this was such a unique read! I loved it! It was filled with great characters and I enjoyed the humor as well as the drama. It was very entertaining.  I loved the Jane Austen Mean Girls mix in this and how it all tied together.  In addition, I liked the dash of historical fiction in it too.
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This was an interesting take on a Regency romance, with people of color, illicit drugs, and general debauchery. One thing that pulled me out of the story was some of the modern language that was used. For example, a man who was sterile was said to be "shooting blanks". 
Regency is not my favorite genre.. I do appreciate the effort to make it more diverse. 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read a digital ARC in return for an honest review.
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Sadly although the synopsis of this novel sounded fun and timely (hello Bridgerton) it really wasn’t able to capture my attention over the first few chapters, although I wanted to push through, I found the writing to be a bit weak and really wasn’t able to connect to the overall premise. 
This was sadly a pass for me, but hopefully others will enjoy it! 

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the chance to read/review this ARC!
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I really enjoyed this book. It was definitely giving a Bridgerton vibe. More of a exaggerated and glamorous alternate universe regency era. I loved the inclusivity of the story and characters. Highly recommend this one!
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Reputation follows Georgiana, a young woman who has just moved into her aunt and uncles house and is going to be spending the upcoming season with them. At the first party she meets that exuberant, Frances, who Georgiana because immediately fascinated by. France is everything Georgiana has never seen in a woman. She is loud, raunchy, fun, and absolutely inappropriate to those who view her in society, but she comes from a well off family and holds respect from her peers. Georgiana is swooped on Frances’ circle of boisterous friends and beings to party her way through the season. Along the way she meets the Thomas, an man who seems to be a bit of an outsider, but has the looks and the charms that Georgiana desires. 

Many people say read this or that, but THIS is the book to read if you need a Bridgerton hangover remedy. Reputation is very much a regency era Mean Girls. The humor and the scandals are what this book is all about in a true Bridgerton fashion, I mean Lady Whistledown would simply pass away if she ever met Frances and her friend group. 

While reading Reputation, I really didn’t know where the plot was going, but I sure did have a hell of a fun time reading this book. It was very quick witted and the humor was basically jumping off the page. Typically when a book identifies itself as humorous I  will not go for it, but Reputation was the best possible exception. The writing was phenomenal and I cannot wait for the next book to come out!
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First off, a Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin press for an e-copy of this book for and honest review. 

now....let me tell you - I couldn’t put it down and absolutely enjoyed every moment of this book. The perfect mesh of both Bridgerton and Gossip Girl vibes for sure!. The character development was amazing! And nothing is better than a woman who learns to stand up for themself!I
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