Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication date: 05 September 2017
Page count: 272 pages
Format: digital ARC
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I had never read any of E. Lockhart’s other books, although I keep hearing praise for We Were Liars, but Genuine Fraud looked absolutely fascinating. I didn’t really know what to expect.
The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.
Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.*
What a strange little book — and I mean that in the best way possible. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like Genuine Fraud, but I’d really love more. I think the closest comparison I can make is to the film Memento due to the storytelling style. Genuine Fraud is a story that is almost exclusively told backwards — we start in the present and work back in time from there. So you’ll read a chapter, then the next chapter will take place two weeks before that, the next chapter will take place six weeks before that, etc. It’s a strange but incredibly effective way of telling the story.
Despite knowing what happens straight away (but do we really know anything?), the plot is absolutely engaging. There are so many twists and turns that you’re kept on your toes the entire time. Jules is an incredibly devious and self centered character, but she draws you into her unconventional life and it is hard to escape.
This is one of those funny books in which there are really no good characters. I don’t mean ‘good’ as in ‘well written’. I mean ‘good’ as in ‘decent people’. Everyone in this story is a bad person in some way, which makes it all the more delicious to read. Jules tells the story in the first person, so we get to know her best. But do we really know her? She lives a life of glitz and glamour, but as the story goes on we see what’s really beneath the surface. She’s such a compelling character that you can’t help but root for, despite the fact that she is a terrible, terrible person.
This is one of those books that I just don’t want to say much about — the thrill is in the discovery. If you enjoy psychological thrillers, Genuine Fraud is a book you should absolutely pick up. It will keep you guessing until the last page. I found it incredibly hard to put down.
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Have you read Genuine Fraud? Is it in your TBR pile? Do you like reading thrillers? Let me know!