This is a spoiler-free review. I will not be giving away any major plot details beyond the premise of the book.
Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart is a young-adult mystery novel that – like Lockhart’s novel, We Were Liars, is really hard to summarise without giving too much away, so I’ll just give you the back-cover blurb:
“Imogen is an heiress, a runaway, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a chameleon, and a liar. Imogen is done pretending to be perfect, and Jule refuses to go back to the person she once was. Somewhere between the mansions of Martha’s Vineyard and the shores of Cabo San Lucas, their intense friendship takes a dark turn.”
So basically, this book is all about identity. It’s about people who want to make themselves over or become somebody else completely. This is really interesting and unlike anything I’ve personally read. But the real gem of this book is that the story is told backwards. It begins with Chapter 18 and works its way in reverse order all the way to Chapter 1, before going back to the end for one last chapter to bring everything together. There’s always a time jump between the chapters, each one being set between a few weeks and a few months before. But the story still makes sense despite it being told in reverse order. As you read it, you start to unravel the mystery that is Jule and Imogen. You discover why they did certain things or how they ended up in certain places. And there are plenty of huge reveals that leave you shocked.
Because this is a short novel and almost everything right from the beginning would be a spoiler, there isn’t much more I can say except that I really liked this book. I don’t want to compare it to We Were Liars but I will just say that I didn’t enjoy this quite as much. It’s a different story just in the same genre. If you liked We Were Liars, then I think you should read this book but just try not to compare them because the stories are quite different.
The one thing that bothered me with this book, particularly in the beginning, was that Lockhart sometimes would over-describe how places and characters looked. There were times where it made sense, but usually it just wasn’t needed – I personally prefer it when authors leave room for the reader to picture these things for themselves. But other than that, this book was compelling and a quick read. I was genuinely (no pun intended) shocked by all of the plot twists and everything tied up together and made sense at the end. So if that sounds like something you’d like then definitely give it a go.
MY RATING: 8/10
READ IF YOU ENJOYED:
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
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