Genuine Fraud (Book Review) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

genuine fraudRight after explaining that I don’t usually like thrillers all that much, I read another thriller. This time, at least, I went in knowing that I like the author. I read E. Lockhart’s novel We Were Liars last year and enjoyed it. I’d heard good things about Genuine Fraud as well, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

What’s it about?

There’s no way I could summarize this novel without either making it sound bad or spoiling it, so here’s the official cover from the cover-flap:

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’d I think?

Genuine Fraud is an experience. I was unsure about the novel at first. When I first started, I had a hard time orienting myself around who the characters were and what exactly was going on. That’s completely intentional. As the story unfolds, I found myself getting sucked deeper and deeper in until I couldn’t put the book down.

A lot of this is due to the writing, specifically the organization. Roughly speaking, we start at the end and work backwards. There are a few chapters that do not strictly fit in that order—namely, the story loops back around to the end right at the very finish (the first chapter you read is chapter 18; the last chapter you read is chapter 19)—but for the most part the story is about peeling back the many layers of deceptions to find out how protagonist Jule got to the place she’s in.

The way Jule got to the place she’s in is not what I expected. Genuine Fraud is a wild ride. I don’t want to get too deeply into the specifics, because revealing even the most basic plot points in this book would spoil it, but I can say that the whole novel is one WTF moment after another. It’s genuinely fun, genuinely scary, and genuinely one-of-a-kind.

What’s the verdict?


Lockhart is a really fun writer. Her books—or, at least, the ones that I’ve read—are bonkers and they make the readers doubt everything they’ve read. There is a lot of reread potential for Genuine Fraud; it’s always interesting to go back with the full perspective, but the perspective changes so much in Genuine Fraud that it would be fascinating. There’s something very exciting and different about a story that makes a mystery out of what happens at the beginning rather than what happens at the end (or what happens next). It’s not a perfect book—I wish we’d taken one step farther back, because I felt there were still a few gaps that could’ve been filled—but overall I really enjoyed Genuine Fraud and would recommend it to anyone who likes thrillers or mysteries. Report card: A

I’m giving star ratings a test run. Back when I first started reviews, I said that I don’t love star ratings (I still don’t) but I do like how visual they are, and I figured that it’s probably a good idea to give an indication whether a review is going to be positive or negative right off the bat. For the most part an A is five stars, a B four stars, a C three stars, etc. but that won’t always be true.

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