Reputation: Sara Shepard


Sara Shepard’s Reputation is a modern-day whodunit about a massive university hacking and the subsequent murder of one of the hack’s disgraced victims.

Thank you, Booksparks, for the free book!

When Aldrich University – on par with Ivy Leagues Harvard and Yale – is hacked and the emails of every staff member and student are released to the public, it seems like this is the worst thing that could possibly happen. That is, until a doctor associated with the university of murdered after his very steamy emails to a woman who is not his wife are placed in the spotlight. The family, along with friends and colleagues at the university, must find both the murderer and the hacker in order for their lives to go back to normal… if that’s even possible.

Content Warning

Please take caution while reading Reputation if any of the following topics may trigger you:

  • Sexual assault
  • Abuse
  • Violence
  • Death / dying
  • Blood
  • Classism

My Thoughts

First things first – this author wrote the Pretty Little Liars series; cool! Reputation feels similar to Pretty Little Liars, but with characters in college and older. That is to say that scandalous drama, red herrings, and creepy dudes abound – and it’s all very juicy. This story is definitely interesting, and I particularly appreciated the modern-day technological spin of this whodunit – it really forces you to ask yourself what others would find in your emails, which is… unsettling, to say the least.

While this can be considered a more adult version of Pretty Little Liars, it still felt young to me. The characters are unlikable, which I can often forgive, but with very little substance. This is a plot-driven mystery / domestic suspense with a huge amount of characters and switching points of view. I found this strategy lacking; I would have preferred more in-depth character development, especially since each character was so fascinating!

While I felt the characters underdeveloped, many of them did have crazy backstories that added to the story’s shock value, along with the twist, which was not at all obvious! I wasn’t blown away by this book, but I was surely entertained. The drama is top notch and the characters wonderfully awful.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on Reputation! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya.

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