Release Date: December 3, 2019
In this fast-paced new novel from Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars, a tight-knit college town scrambles for answers when an e-mail hack reveals life-changing secrets and scandals.
Aldrich University is rocked to its core when a hacker dumps 40,000 people’s e-mails—the entire faculty, staff, students, alums—onto an easily searchable database. Rumors and affairs immediately leak, but things turn explosive when Kit Manning’s handsome husband, Dr. Greg Strasser, is found murdered. Kit’s sister, Willa, returns for the funeral, setting foot in a hometown she fled fifteen years ago, after a night she wishes she could forget. As an investigative reporter, Willa knows something isn’t right about the night Greg was killed, and she’s determined to find the truth. What she doesn’t expect is that everyone has something to hide. And with a killer on the loose, Willa and Kit must figure out who killed Greg before someone else is murdered.
Told from multiple points of view, Reputation is full of twists, turns, and shocking reveals. It’s a story of intrigue, sabotage, and the secrets we keep—and how far we go to keep them hidden. Number one bestseller Sara Shepard is at the top of her game in this brand-new adult novel.
Shepard’s Reputation follows a cast of characters as they deal with the fallout of a server hack at Aldrich University. Reputations are on the line as secrets make their way into the public sphere and Dr. Greg Strasser is murdered.
I’ll always give Shepard’s novels a chance because Pretty Little Liars holds a special place in my heart. I know that the TV show is different from the books, but Shepard created those characters, so I know she’s a capable writer. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy Reputation as much as I thought I would.
My biggest criticism of the novel is that it has too many moving parts and too many red herrings. In my opinion, a well plotted and constructed mystery includes many moving pieces but doesn’t make it obvious that theses pieces are attempting to redirect readers’ attention. All of the red herrings in Reputation were blatantly obvious.
Shepard tried to tie Reputation to the #MeToo movement, but ultimately failed to offer anything substantial or significant to the conversation. Instead, it’s mentioned directly by the characters and left at that.
Reputation is probably 100 pages too long. With all the red herrings and plots loosely related to the main mystery, it’s hard to enjoy the final reveal since it felt like a slog getting to it. It also comes out of left field with hardly any set up. It’s pretty horrible in terms of its content, so I was expecting Shepard to debrief readers. Unfortunately, Shepard presents her reveal and moves on almost immediately.
Overall, Reputation was a decent read. It kept me, for the most part, entertained and engaged while I was reading. Would I recommend it? Probably not. There are better mystery novels out there.
**I received an ARC via Netgalley for an honest review.