Author: E. Lockhart
Publishing Company: Delacorte Press
Release Year: (ARC) To be published September 5, 2017
Genre(s): YA, realistic fiction, thriller
(Shout out to Penguin Random House, where I received this ARC from!)
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.
Okay, wow! There’s a lot going on in this novel, and I whizzed through it because it was so intriguing. I love psychological thrillers (although I don’t get to read them very much) and this was certainly a good one!
Genuine Fraud begins with our main character, Jule, who we soon learn is extraordinarily good at makeup and accents and just, well, shape-shifting in general. She is definitely the heroine of her own story and she lets us know it straight off the bat. From there the story progresses not chronologically forward but backward. It makes things a little hard to follow at first but after the first few chapters you definitely do grow into it and at the end you realize why that sort of format works.
Jule is an interesting character, to say the least. She’s clever and strong, too emotional while somehow also simultaneously emotionally detached. She’s running away, but we don’t find out until the end–or rather, the beginning–exactly what she’s running from. Her relationship with Imogen, a jasmine-perfumed it girl, is also interesting. The pair are close friends, two girls who are both seemingly perfect but broken in ways only the other can understand. How exactly Imogen fits into Jule’s story…well, you’ll see.
The odd combinations of elements–an affinity for Victorian novels, several unexpected murders, locations like Mexico, Martha’s Vineyard, and London, various characters that pop up, and Jule’s obsession with being a modern day James Bond-like femme fatale superhero lady (what a mouthful)–all somehow work together. That being said, the real driving forces of this novel are the characters, of which there are many, all of whom are complex in ways you won’t see until the novel digs deeper.
The social commentary embedded in this novel’s sharp prose is also smart, providing a peek into the lives of Martha’s Vineyard-dwelling rich kids as well as themes like feminism, friendship, poverty, relationships and love, and coping with familial and mental issues.
Anyway, that’s all I’ll say so as to avoid the ending for you. 😉
All in all: If you’re look for an exciting, suspenseful, and more than slightly creepy read complete with an interesting antihero(ine), this one’s the book for you! Find it at your nearest bookshelf this September!