Genuine Fraud is a recent suspense/mystery novel by E. Lockhart perfect for fans of her book We Were Liars. Genuine Fraud follows Jule, a girl who is currently running from the law for unknown reasons at the beginning of the novel. As the story unfolds in reverse orders, readers discover Jule’s questionable past and obsession Imogen, a heiress that takes Jule under her wing.
When I checked out Genuine Fraud from my library, I hadn’t heard great reviews. However, I always like picking up books that are a little more controversial because sometimes I go in with very low expectations but am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them. For me, Genuine Fraud was better than I expected, but still only stands as an average read.
I had a very similar reading experience with Genuine Fraud that I did with We Were Liars. With We Were Liars, I kept flipping pages to see what happened in the end, even though I did have my guesses at the twists (which happened to be correct). After We Were Liars, I was super excited about it and thought it was amazing. However, once the excitement of seeing the ending faded, I realized it was really only an average book with an above average entertainment value. I feel the same way about Genuine Fraud minus the excitement of We Were Liars. Since they were very similar reads for me, it wasn’t as exciting the second time around.
Jule is an interesting character to discuss. Her actions are absolutely terrible and she definitely wasn’t written to be likable. Julie has some stances on privilege in the book which I would have liked to read more about to better understand her motivations, but any of her opinions are really overshadowed by her crazy actions to basically take over Imogen’s life. Overall, Julie is a somewhat interesting character, but to maintain her mysterious air she isn’t fleshed out well enough to really get to know her or understand her.
As for the set up of the book, it does take some getting used to, but it really shines in the middle of the story. You want to keep reading to see how Jule got to the point of the end of the book and what really happened to some of the other characters. However, I felt like this set up really fell flat at the end of the story when you basically had all of the little details carried out.
Another aspect of this book that I can’t speak much about, but may turn off other readers, is its similarities to other works. This book is inspired by The Talent Mr. Ripley, a novel by Patricia Highsmith with a movie of the same name. I have never read that story or seen the movie, however, I’ve seen several reviewers mention that this book draws to much from that story, making it slightly unoriginal.
Overall, Genuine Fraud is a read you can finish in one sitting. While it is a page-turner, it is missing some key elements to make it exciting and stand out from other similar works. I give Genuine Fraud three out of five stars.