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Review: Genuine Fraud (genuinely not for me)

33843362Title: 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.

Plot: 3/5

Characters: 2/5

Setting: 3/5

Writing: 4/5

Total: 2/5

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? 



16 thoughts on “Review: Genuine Fraud (genuinely not for me)

  1. I had SUCH mixed feelings for this one too. Like it was good in that it was really well written and I liked how creepy/villainish it was…but I hated Jules. 😂 Like no clue when I was supposed to feel sorry for her ohhh wow she was so messed up. And I definitely got confused with her “imagined” backstory vs her real one. She…needed so much therapy. And jail probably. BUT OH WELL. I do love E. Lockhart’s style!


    1. I think Jules was supposed to be sympathetic but just wasn’t??? Like I said, we had no backstory about the childhood she was escaping so it was hard to tell. But yeah, the style and the writing was great, and I’m excited for whatever the author writes next!


  2. I actually won a copy of Genuine Fraud from Paper Fury, so that was great! Buuut, while I loved the disguises/taking on new identities stuff, I definitely agree that Jules’ choices made it practically impossible to root for her as a protagonist. (Creating a new identity? …cool!! Taking on the identity of your murder victim? …not so much…)

    I haven’t read We Were Liars – do you recommend giving it a go?
    Jem Jones


    1. Yeah, jules was… quite messed up. Very. Extremely. Oh dear. This is probably why I’m not into crime fiction?
      Yes I do recommend We Were Liars! It’s also got a mind bendy plot twisty aspect that I didn’t see coming at all! It’s very different though. It explores a) people with private islands, b) teenagers making bad life choices and c) said teenagers being very messed up by aforementioned choices. Definitely has some similar themes! If you want something more light, I recommend The Disreputable History of Franki Landau Banks, or the Boy Book trilogy which is super fun.


  3. This is such a good review – I have read We Were Liars, and a couple of reviews for Genuine Fraud already, but none of them mentioned that there were some bloody details in this ahah – this makes me reconsider my whole plan of reading it sometime. I am just like you, I’m not really good with books that describe violence in a lot of details, even if sometimes I can handle it, I’m just… not a fan. I’ve been curious about this book, since I loved We Were Liars and other books by the author, also curious about the reverse chronological way this story is told, but… thank you for pointing that out, I’ll think about it now ahah 🙂


    1. Yeah, I’m not good with blood. This is why I don’t want to be a doctor despite some certain relatives… encouraging it, haha. This was my biggest problem with the Shades of Magic trilogy? Luckily I still liked the characters and the story but SO MUCH BLOOD UGH WHY.
      Anyway, it is really well written and interesting and hard to put down… just some aspects are a little off putting. Thank you for your lovely comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow! I don’t think I’ve heard much negative reviews about Genuine fraud so this is the first not-raving review I have read! But I guess it wasn’t for you. I really want to read We Were Liars and I hope I enjoy Genuine Fraud. great review


    1. I hope you enjoy it too! I think it definitely suits some people. And one thing I love about the internet is how everyone’s opinions can be different and that’s totally okay! We Were Liars is amazzziing although I haven’t read it for 3 years.


  5. It’s a shame this one didn’t really work out for you… I’m really curious about it as I’ve loved all the other books that I’ve read by E. Lockhart and I really want to like this one as well, but idk….. I’m gonna give it a go so we’ll see!


    1. E. Lockheart is so great! I really like how you can see her style changing over books… The Ruby Oliver quartet is really fun, How To Be Bad is a bit more serious, Frankie Landau Banks explores important things lightheartedly, and We Were Liars and this are a lot more dark .


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