top of page

Reputation by Lex Croucher


So, I was a little bit nervous starting this book, because I had heard it was like Mean Girls and though I love that movie, women being snippy at each other is not really my jam. But then I felt like I had to read it, because Mean Girls plus Regency romance seemed like an interesting twist. The gist of the book is that this fairly sheltered woman, who grew up with strongly academic and emotionally cold parents, ends up staying with her aunt for an undetermined amount of time. (Read: emotionally cold parents dumped her with her aunt so they can be rid of her.) She meets this group of girls who really are the Mean Girls stereotype: rich, catty, selfish. She start hanging out with them more, mostly for lack of anything else to do out in the countryside, and meets a number of other people through their crazy parties. The rest of this review may include spoilers, FYI.

Honestly, I was not expecting the turn that this book took from there. The characters that are meant to be the “bad characters,” both male and female, were truly awful. I was surprised at the level of awful. It wasn't just mean-spirited or gossipy, there was literally assault, physical violence, and neglect. I was not entirely prepared for that, and I wish that the book had had a trigger warning. I cannot have been the only one that was caught off guard by the content. That said, it was certainly effective story-telling, because I was completely wrapped up in the characters and the plot.

I was impressed by how the characters evolved through the course of the book. Often, authors are not willing to have characters do something mean-spirited and not really redeem themselves but instead show another side, because no one is all one side or another. This is true for the main characters in this book; some of the characters remain truly awful. (Additionally, there is not much in the form of redemption for those awful characters, which almost feels a little too monstrous.) However, the main characters are allowed to show multiple sides of themselves which shows not only the complexity of being human but also how challenging living that complexity becomes for a woman at that time in society when you are expected to be a perpetual paragon of virtue. I took the message to be that the sheltered characters learn and thereby evolve, whereas the “bad” characters do not learn and change. Which I can get on board with, honestly.

I really appreciated the way that the book wrapped up. The hero comes off as a stick in the mud for a lot of the book, but by the end you understand why he is the way that is that he is. Not gonna lie, those are not typically the types of hero characters that I go for, but it works in this case because his reasoning is particularly compelling and the consistency makes sense. I would strongly recommend this book, especially to people who have read a lot of historical romance, because this book presents another angle in which the characters are much more complex. The storyline goes to a lot of places that you don't expect. The book has a lot more diversity than is typically shown, and although it doesn't really explore that diversity and the complexity that comes with a diversity per se, at least it's there, for once. I have to admit that even two days after reading this book, it is still niggling in the back of my mind, still mulling about parts of it, which is usually the mark of a good read.

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page