Title: Genuine Fraud
Author: E. Lockhart
Genre: YA mystery/thriller
Themes: Friendship, murder, power, wealth and poverty
Blurb: Told in reverse chronological order, Genuine Fraud is about a girl who has conned her way into inheriting and heiress’ fortune. Now on the run, Jules refuses to let anyone take what she’s got away. But what did it take for her to get what she has? Where has she come from? And what happened to Imogen?
Genuine Fraud really, really wasn’t for me. Here’s a short list of reasons why:
- First of all, it kind of read like a villain origin story? No spoilers, but Jules does a lot of terrible things. But while I *got* that Jules had reasons for doing what she was doing, I couldn’t really empathise with her story? Maybe because we never find out her background and why she had left her home.
- Secondly, and most importantly, the violence. I’m not good with any violence. It grosses me out and depresses me and just no. Other people’s blood makes me feel woozy, and I have never watched a horror movie. The point is: I can’t cope with violence. I guess I can understand that some violence is necessary to the plot. But it just felt so… cold? It was described in a lot of detail and while I know that it was supposed to be clinical sounding, I just couldn’t deal with it. This is very much a it’s -me-not-the-book problem.
- Third, I think Genuine Fraud was trying to make a point?? But it didn’t really? There would be phrases thrown in like ‘Normally hetero white males did this. Yet here Jules was’ or ‘Jules was tired of living in a world run by hetero straight males’. But it didn’t really make a point (that I got anyway). The statements were just thrown in there. And maybe it was supposed to be about Jules taking control when she’d spent her whole life being controlled, but it was hard to tell, BECAUSE THERE WAS NO BACKSTORY. The earliest we get is about two years before the start of the book. But like I said, I never quite got why Jules had run in the first place.
Quite a few other people have said they found the reverse-timeline thing a bit confusing. While I can see that, I didn’t find it too bad; there were only a few times when I couldn’t work out which event in Jules’ future (that I’d already read) the event was building up to. And it definitely was a unique way to tell a story, especially for a thriller. While you’d think that starting at the end would make the rest of the story less intriguing, I wanted to know why.
I guess I’m just not into thrillers? I mainly got this book because I liked the author. And while I didn’t really enjoy Genuine Fraud, I don’t think it was a bad book, necessarily. Just really, really not for me. I think the Ruby Oliver books are hilarious, We Were Liars was genius, and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks was one of the best books I read in September. So I’m not giving up on the author. But I’m also definitely not reading Genuine Fraud again.
What’s a book you’ve read recently that really wasn’t for you? Do you like thrillers? What about books that try to make a point… and fail? Is this review too salty?