Genuine Fraud

Genuine Fraud

Genuine Fraud

by E. Lockhart

Genre: YA Mystery
Published: September 5th, 2017
by Delacorte Press




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.


Do you think a person is as bad as her worst actions?…I mean, do our worst actions define us when we’re alive? Or, do you think human beings are better than the very worst things we have ever done?

E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars is one of my favorite mysteries, so I had high expectations for her next mystery Genuine Fraud. Unfortunately, however, Genuine Fraud just didn’t quite bring the suspense and intrigue that We Were Liars did.

The story follows best friends Jule and Imogen. When Imogen commits suicide, Jule travels around the world to discover why.

The main problem with the story was the lack of a sustainable plot. Despite being suspenseful and thrilling, there was no conflict or problem to add true substance to the story.

The story itself was told backwards – starting from the ending and then working towards the beginning. On one hand this technique helped to add suspense and intrigue to the story, but on the other hand it was rather confusing. Reading a story that is not written chronologically was often perplexing because the reader doesn’t know the context behind what’s happening and why.

The mystery itself was also rather disappointing. The ultimate reveal at the end was predictable and almost felt like a let-down. Additionally, the culprit’s motivation wasn’t as fleshed-out and developed as it could have been. We never got a true explanation why exactly Jule murdered Imogen, and the lack of reasoning made it hard to truly appreciate the reveal.

If you’re looking for a solid mystery, this isn’t quite up to the standard of other YA mysteries I’ve read. I’d recommend Dangerous Girls, Damage Done, or even E. Lockhart’s other novel We Were Liars instead of this. Unfortunately, it just didn’t live up to the high expectations I set for it.


25 thoughts on “Genuine Fraud

  1. I did like this one but definitely not as much as We Were Liars unfortunately. Like I didn’t really care about the characters?! And I got confused about the non-linear storytelling too. I almost want to read it again but backwards to figure things out. I still love Lockhart’s style though! That gets me every time! πŸ˜€

    1. My thoughts exactly Cait. I don’t know…it just didn’t feel as complex and well-developed as Liars. And the nonlinear writing threw me off too. 😐

  2. It’s so disappointing when you read a book by an author you’ve previously have loved work from and find something not as great. I haven’t read We Were Liars yet, though it is sitting on my shelf, but I think I’ll pass on this one. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’m honestly not surprised this book just didn’t work out for you. I have heard mixed things about it. And also, I didn’t know it was told from the end to the beginning? I’m not sure I would like that either.

    Awesome review Zoe!

    1. Thank you Valerie! It’s definitely an interesting stylistic choice, but I think it added more confusion than anything else. πŸ™

  4. I’m sorry to hear the mystery was so predictable. I’ve heard a lot about We Were Liars and couldn’t be more excited to try it one day. But this one sounds way too flat to work.
    I like that it’s told backwards, it makes it quite unique. But otherwise…
    Wonderful review, Zoe! πŸ™‚

  5. I loved We Are Liars and the idea that the story is told backwards… intriguing! Have you read All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda? It is also told backwards and it works so well in this case. I was enthralled all the way through.

    1. I haven’t, but I’ll definitely have to give that one a try! From what I can remember I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Thank you for the recommendation!

  6. I always like reading your reviews! I read this a few days ago and basically it felt like a villain origin story? I just didn’t like Jules that much. Or Imogen. And it was also just too violent for my tastes. I think it was trying to say something about the American Dream and sexism and racism but didn’t quite get there? Like, yay Jules you’ve taken control of your life but that wasn’t a very good way to do it? I think I would have liked the book more if there’d been some clue about who Jules was and why she had no family etc.

    1. YES, YES, YES. Your comment is spot on re: the American dream / sexism / racism. Like I understand what she was getting at, but it just didn’t work the way she wanted it to, you know? Good ideas, but she just needed a bit more development. Thank you! <3

  7. Totally agree with you! I didn’t like We Were Liars that much, but I hoped that this one would work out better for me. But alas, it did not, it was worse, actually. For a short book, it felt really long? Maybe because it did feel predictable and I lost interest? Who knows, but I am sorry it didn’t work out for you either!

  8. I’m so sorry to hear that one didn’t work out for you. I loved We Were Liars and, intrigued by this one, added it to my TBR. I have read a couple of mixed reviews, though, and I have to admit that I am a bit nervous about the way the story is told backwards… I think it seems a bit, confusing? Obviously, it’s a unique way to tell this kind of story as well. I’m sorry it was predictable, though. I think I’ll read it eventually, because I’m still very curious about it all, but I’ll keep my expectations low πŸ™‚
    Thank you for the lovely review!

    1. The writing style is definitely a bit confusing and I don’t think it really added anything to the story other than confusion unfortunately. Definitely still give it a try if you’re curious though!

  9. Aw, no! I’m so sorry you didn’t love this one, Zoe! I was enthralled from the beginning because of the backwards storytelling, but I can understand why that might not work for some readers. It just made me want to get to the end so I could finally figure everything out!

    I do agree that We Were Liars is a better story, it gripped me more emotionally. I still enjoyed this one, though! I thought that its exploration of what it is to be a girl was pretty well done.

    Thanks for the review!

  10. I’m so sorry you didn’t like it; this was in my top five books of 2017.

    My friend didn’t like this book either so I’m on a mission to change minds, LOL, so here goes nothin’:
    To answer your question: (SPOILERS!!!) Jule killed Imogen because Jule was obssessed with her. Jule was an orphan and a nobody and she invented this story about her rescuers raising her to be a spy to give her purpose. As an adult she began to believe she was a spy so when this mission to spy on Imogen arrived, she jumped on it. I don’t think it was ever the plan to become obsessed with Imogen but becasue she looked like her and she liked Imogen’s attention and money, she became obsessed. When Jule began to see that Imogen was a manipulator and a user, she got angry when she discovered that Imogen didn’t really like her but used her and she killed her. Jule is crazy and crazy people kill over small stuff.

    I thought the backwards strategy made the story thrilling becasue you discover the context later in the story-how Jule and Imogen met; the progression of Imogen as a person; Jule spiraling out of control. The first half is a mystery becasue you aren’t sure if Jule is guilty and when you find out mid way thru that she is, the second half is a thriller becasue your seeking the motive.

    The majority of my enjoyment was the character development-especially Jule. She’s a monster but she’s sympathetic becasue she’s very self aware. At some point, she tells the love interest that she’s not a good person and that he should leave. Jule was methodical and a liar but she was also a bit remorseful. It was almost like a character study in the mind of a psychopath.

    Did I change your mind? πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment and for sharing your insight to the book! This is one of my favorite things about blogging – it’s always interesting seeing how different people are always able to pick up on different things when reading the same book. I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much, and you definitely did change my mind a little. πŸ™‚ I’m definitely going to reread it when I have some extra time with your insights in mind.

  11. It’s too bad you didn’t enjoy this one very much! I’ve somehow still yet to read We Were Liars (or be spoiled, please don’t tell me anything!), but I know there were some mixed opinions about this. Do you know if she has any other books besides WWL and this one? I can’t remember.

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