Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Genuine Fraud is a Twisted Ride from Start to Finish [Contributor: Megan Mann]


Do you like intrigue? Murder? How about a story that starts at the end and works its way back to the beginning a la Quentin Tarantino? Do you like to feel like you’ve been jerked around and ultimately know nothing, read — what you assume is — the biggest twist in the middle, but actually discover that the most messed up parts of the story don’t come until the end?

Well, then I have the book for you! Genuine Fraud by e. Lockhart, much like her previous work We Were Liars, will have you screaming at every turn, but unable to tear yourself away from the page as you discover each wild twist that comes next.

Genuine Fraud opens with Imogen working out at a resort in Mexico, quickly throwing the reader into her world of secrecy and lies. An innocuous conversation with a woman at the gym is torn apart: was the woman merely being friendly, or is she an undercover cop tracking Imogen down? Instead of finding out, Imogen hatches a plan to escape, first slapping on a wig and heading to Vegas, where she steals wallets and a passport and then returns to Mexico — this time with a new identity.

And if that wasn’t enough, it turns out our duplicitous main character’s name isn’t really Imogen after all: It’s Jule, who constantly reinvents herself and steals from strangers without them noticing. She can memorize credit card information in seconds and retain information faster than she can greet you. But what is she running from?

As the story unfolds, we discover that Jule has fabricated her entire life story, and hey, remember how this book starts at the end and works its way to the beginning? Well it turns out there is a real Imogen: Imogen Sokoloff, Jule’s best friend, who’s started seeing through all the curtains surrounding the truth of who Jule is. Jule doesn’t want anyone to see the real her or know what she’s been through, so she instead creates a narrative that better suits her.

But as the book moves forward and we learn more about Jule (all of which just makes you wonder how little you actually know about her after all), more questions arise. Did Jule ever even go to school with Imogen? How did she find out who Imogen was? And how did everything wind up so twisted? And most importantly: did Imogen, a young, beautiful girl who has the world at her fingertips, really kill herself? Or was it something far more sinister?

Did Jule kill Imogen?

Listen, I was a mega fan of We Were Liars. For a while, it was the only book I would name when asked for suggestions on what to read next. It started in one place, then took you on a wild ride and just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get more insane, you realized you still had a hundred pages left. The book was entirely surprising and unpredictable, and e. Lockhart brought that same energy to Genuine Fraud. It was a rollercoaster of “OH MY GOD! and “Wait, WAIT?!” that had you glued to the book and made the words dance in front of you faster than you thought you could read them.

I think that’s what makes a book like this so special. So often, we run to books that have these moments of intensity that are there for shock value rather than actually build and strengthen the narrative. It’s what makes e. Lockhart’s stories so unique: they’re thrillers in a way that you don’t often find, in a genre dominated more by dystopias and supernatural than anything else.

I would absolutely recommend that everyone pick up Genuine Fraud. It has all of the crazy, Single White Female vibes you could want, but with a deranged 17-year-old. It’s a callback to the stories Imogen Sokoloff loved so much — Victorian novels that were dark and Gothic and mostly made orphans into heroes rather than gutter rats — with a modern twist. It’s everything you could want for a cozy read as the seasons change from scorching to cool and your nights are better suited to cozying up with a good book.

If you’re a fan of Victorian novels or action films such as The Bourne Identity, I would highly suggest you high tail it to your local store and pick up a copy of this magnificent new adventure. You’ll probably throw the book a few times or scream, “WHAT AM I READING?” But don’t worry — that just means it’s really well-written.

Genuine Fraud by e. Lockhart is in stores now!


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