Author: Sara Shepard
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
One Word Review: Hyperactive
A murder mystery story is always more enjoyable when everyone has something to hide. Sara Shepard has perfected the art of giving every character a syndicalist motive to murder, as demonstrated in Pretty Little Liars. And she did it again in Reputation.
No scandal is left unturned when a hacker posts Aldrich University’s email online. Faculty, staff, students, alums alike scramble to explain themselves and fight to preserve their prestigious reputations. Investigative journalist, Willa, returns to her hometown to support her sister when her husband, Dr. Greg Strasser, is murdered hours after his emails expose a steamy affair.
We’re taken on a multiple point-of-view examination of the secrets surrounding people close to Dr. Strasser, wondering with each page who killed the once beloved doctor.
I was a HUGE fan of the Pretty Little Liars TV Show, which is based on Sara Shepard’s book. I had no idea when I started reading this book that I was reading a book by the same author. Shepard explains in the acknowledgements that she originally started writing this story as a TV series, and that’s when it clicked for me. Reputation has similarities to Pretty Little Liars, which is probably why despite the plot being just okay, I still really enjoyed this book and gave it 4/5 stars.
What I Liked Most
The story line moves quickly, which creates a bit of suspense and pushes you to continue reading late into the night. Reputation is a murder mystery story where each character has motive and secrets. The choice to write the story in first person from multiple points-of-view, all of which are the female characters in the book. This is an excellent choice because the book examines sensitive women’s topics including sexual assault and domestic violence.
Each of the scandals were well developed and aligned well to the characters. When I read, I add notes via my Kindle of irrational actions or characteristics that the writer overlooked. It’s rare for me to read this genre and never once throw up my hands in disbelief and then write down why the character wouldn’t behave that way. But I only took down a note once in the very beginning of this book when a local police officer was assigned the investigation of the Aldrich University hack. A cyber-crime of that magnitude and against a university would be handled by the FBI, but I digress.
What I Didn’t Like
There were too many secrets squeezed into a small group of people and not enough ethical characters. I realize that’s Shepard’s style and what her fans expect, but it does take away from the shock and erodes my belief in the story. If everyone in the story is unethical and so make are complete pieces of shit, then why would anyone try to hide how awful they are from each other? It’s my understanding of society that people don’t really try to hide their misbehavior if their surrounding with people with low moral and ethical values. Reputation needed more characters with a strong moral compass to contrast and highlight the scandals and emotional impact each has on the community.
Should you read it?
Reputation isn’t a book for everyone. However, if you’re a fan of TV Shows like Pretty Little Liars, Big Little Lies, or books like 13 Reasons Why or One of Us is Lying, then you’ll likely enjoy Reputation. Please be aware that this book may trigger or upset those sensitive to situations of sexual assault or domestic violence.
But don’t just take my word for it. See what other readers thought:
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Last Updated: 5/11/2021