I received this book via Library, Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
Narrator: Bessie Carter
Published by Macmillan Audio, St. Martin's Griffin on 2022-04-05
Length: 334 pages
Length: 11 hours and 58 minutes
Reviewing Audiobook, eARC from Library, Netgalley
Reading Challenges: 2022 Audiobook Challenge, 2022 New Release Challenge, COYER 2022
The hilarious debut novel from Lex Croucher. A classic romcom with a Regency-era twist, for fans of Mean Girls and/or Jane Austen.
Abandoned by her parents, middle-class Georgiana Ellers has moved to a new town to live with her dreary aunt and uncle. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who lives a life Georgiana couldn't have imagined in her wildest dreams.
Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana falls in with Frances and her unfathomably rich, deeply improper friends. Georgiana is introduced to a new world: drunken debauchery, mysterious young men with strangely arresting hands, and the upper echelons of Regency society.
But the price of entry to high society might just be higher than Georgiana is willing to pay ...
One reviewer said that this book is “Mean Girls meets Bridgerton,” and I have never seen a more accurate description/comparison for a book. Reputation by Lex Croucher is a Regency-era inspired book that reads more like a contemporary YA. I don’t typically read contemporary YA, though sometimes the drama is compelling enough to keep me engrossed as it was in this one. I found myself thoroughly invested in Georgiana, her relationship with Frances and her friends, and the repercussions of said relationship.
Georgiana is an adult, by Regency standards, when her parents send her to live with her aunt and uncle in the country. It’s the start of the summer season and so those who would normally be in London for the social season are at home in the country relaxing and partying in a way that will made this self-proclaimed prude blush 😆 Lonely and tired of being a wallflower, Georgiana is surprised and elated when Lady Frances Campbell takes an interest in her. Suddenly, Georgiana finds herself in a world she never imagined she’d be welcome in – partying with aristocrats, drinking until all hours, experimenting with drugs are just a few of things she is introduced to.
Frances and her crew are not kind by nature. They are not empathetic to those that are poor, and truly do not understand some of Georgiana’s references. I found myself entranced with their lifestyle, just as Georgiana was. I’ll also admit that a few scenes were appalling to me considering the age of the girls (like binge drinking at unchaperoned parties). This is probably due to my own age, which is now closer to forty than my early twenties and being a mother who wants to take these girls and hug them and shelter them from the cruelty they will inevitably face. But I digress….
There are so many things I could expand on from the plot, but all I will say is that this is a fast-moving, character driven plot with lots of drama, intrigue, and romantic entanglements around every turn of the page. Truly, it was hard to tear myself away for even sleep as I wanted to know what would happen next. I wound up listening to this one, and the narrator is fantastic. She captures the essence of each character with little inflections and changes in the tone of her voice. It was easy to follow what was happening because of her.
Overall, I really enjoyed Reputation. Georgiana’s summer is a whirlwind adventure, full of heartache, new friends, and budding romance. I honestly couldn’t read it fast enough. While this is billed for YA, I’d strongly recommend it be 16+ as there are some themes that may be inappropriate for younger readers such as drug/alcohol abuse and rape/attempted rape. If you enjoy YA contemporary, even though this is set in the Regency-era, I highly recommend it.