Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart cover shows a pile of blond hair clippings and a discarded pair of scissors.

Genuine Fraud
E. Lockhart
Delacorte Press
Published September 5, 2017

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Book Depository

From the author of the unforgettable New York Times bestseller We Were Liars comes a masterful new psychological suspense novel–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.

Genuine Fraud on Goodreads

My Review

Wow. I was not expecting this book to be as dark as it was. From the description, I think I expected there to be two points of view, Imogen and Jule. There’s not– the whole story is told from Jule’s perspective. It’s also told in a choppy timeline, where each chapter jumps backward a bit and then runs forward to end where the previous chapter began. (Like the movie Memento with Edward Norton.)

I think the timeline totally worked. It created this choppy, suspenseful story where Jule’s completely in control of the narrative. I suspected a few of the twists before they happened, but some things took me completely by surprise.

Some of the book reminded me a little bit of a poem I read once by Robert Frost, which I think is about a boy killed with an axe. The words create this kind of aloof, calm sense, but somehow that makes what the poem tells all the more shocking and disturbing. That’s how I felt about some of the scenes in the book.

I felt like I couldn’t look away. Even when I didn’t want to know what happened, I felt like I had to finish the story. The writing was pretty compelling. It’s definitely one of those stories that looks at the darker impulses of being human: selfishness, obsession, greed.

If you’re into darker lit, GENUINE FRAUD is probably right up your alley. If you prefer stories where you like the characters and grow to like them more as the story progresses and you understand them more, GENUINE FRAUD is not likely to be the kind of book you’d enjoy. I’d recommend WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart instead, or WE ARE THE GOLDENS by Dana Reinhardt.

Genuine Fraud on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 16 up.

Jule’s sexual orientation is unclear. At times it seems like she has feelings for Imogen, but it’s hard to tell whether those feelings are sexual.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity and some crude language used often throughout the book.

Romance/Sexual Content
Jule witnesses Imogen having sex in the pool with her boyfriend. Imogen references walking in on two female roommates having sex.

Spiritual Content
Jule listens to a man singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” at a bus station and wonders whether she’s too lost for a savior. She concludes that she is.

Violent Content
Scenes show two young women bashed in the head with heavy, blunt objects. In two other scenes, a young woman attacks someone who’s following her. Details are a bit disturbing. A young man is found after having apparently hanged himself.

Drug Content 
Imogen drinks alcohol at a bar in Puerto Rico with Jule (where it’s legal).

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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