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Genuine Fraud

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From the author of the unforgettable New York Times bestseller We Were Liars comes a masterful new psychological suspense novel--the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

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.

Praise for E. Lockhart's We Were Liars

"Haunting, sophisticated. . . . Twisty and well-told." --The Wall Street Journal

"[It] will leave you dying to talk about the book with a pal or ten." --Parade.com

"You're going to want to remember the title. Liars details the summers of a girl who harbors a dark secret, and delivers a satisfying but shocking twist ending." --Entertainment Weekly

"An ambitious novel with an engaging voice, a clever plot and some terrific writing." --The New York Times Book Review

"Thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart, We Were Liars is utterly unforgettable." --John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars

262 pages, Hardcover

First published September 5, 2017

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About the author

E. Lockhart

27 books13.8k followers
E. Lockhart is the author of Again Again, Genuine Fraud, We Were Liars and Family of Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and several other books. Whistle: A New Gotham CIty Hero is a graphic novel.

website: www.emilylockhart.com
Instagram: elockhartbooks
Twitter: elockhart

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5 stars
4,685 (11%)
4 stars
12,022 (29%)
3 stars
15,747 (38%)
2 stars
6,903 (16%)
1 star
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,718 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
September 6, 2017
Genuine Fraud is neither another We Were Liars or a great alternative for those disappointed with it. It's a confusing, reverse-chronological rip-off of The Talented Mr. Ripley.

At first, I was liking it. Lockhart has cooled off with the metaphors and weird writing here, making it much more to my tastes stylistically. The book opens at the end of the story with Jule clearly on the run. She dresses up in disguise, calls herself "Imogen" and flees at the first sign her cover has been blown. The story moves backwards in time from there.

I don't mind retellings of classic tales, especially those that stick a woman into a traditional male role, but this book is almost exactly the same story as The Talented Mr. Ripley. Lockhart names it as one of her inspirations for the book, but honestly, inspiration is kind. Not only is the plot almost identical, but all of the characters are too. Imogen, Forrest, Brooke and Imogen's parents-- or should I say Dickie, Marge, Freddie and Dickie's parents? The murder weapon is even the same!

Perhaps I wouldn't have noticed this so much if I hadn't just read The Talented Mr. Ripley last year. To be honest, by far my bigger issue with this book was the complete lack of suspense.

It was too obvious what had happened. Being told in reverse meant we were reading to discover the hows and whys, I suppose, but it never seemed to ratchet up any tension. Jule is introduced to us as a scheming liar so it was no big surprise when - you guessed it - she schemes and she lies.

There is no actual mystery to discover, nor a clever twist to make pushing through worth it. For such a short book, it was pretty boring. There is some interesting social commentary, about women and female roles in particular, but that unfortunately wasn't enough to hold up the book.

Genuine Fraud is being sold as "mystery" and "suspense", but there just wasn't much of either.

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Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
August 13, 2018
CW: talk of suicide, murder/gore

THIS BOOK IS A TRIP, MAN. I definitely struggled a bit with this read. It's not exactly my cup of tea but I think it is so unique and genius that it has to get a good rating from me.

I really enjoyed the first two chapters of this book. E. Lockhart has a very sophisticated writing that can be hard for me to jump into, but the beginning was so intriguing with a girl on the run that I just wanted to read more. Then by the third chapter . . . we're back in time. Essentially, this story is told backwards. Every chapter skips back a week to a month BEFORE the events we've just read. As someone who does NOT like flashbacks in books, I almost set the book down but as we got deeper into the story, I started to really enjoy the process of reading a seemingly insignificant detail, discovering the significance later, and then making the connection as opposed to traditional writing.

I'm also pleased with this book as I think it is the only young adult novel I've ever read with a true unreliable narrator. (Or maybe it's that the storytelling is unreliable, but the protagonist is not one you can trust regardless.) I had to second guess my feelings on Jule every step of the way. Even after finishing, I'm still perplexed. The same goes for Imogen. I was constantly flip-flopping on which girl I trusted, which I liked, which I felt empathy for, and it made for a really unique reading experience.

I did find the plot to be a little dull at times. The scenes aren't all that exciting, they are fairly mundane, but it's the overall storytelling that kept me going. The way the book is written made the ordinary scenes feel more interesting than they actually are.

I don't know how strict of a "mystery" I would label this book because I don't believe it's a clear-cut "whodunnit" with a single crime to be solved. It's not the most suspenseful and there is not a ton of action/high intensity. I think it is a novel that has more of a psychological trip the forces you to question absolutely every sentence written. I also don't believe there is a huge plot twist because you sort of expect it, but it's the process of unraveling of the truth that I found to be more exciting than the actual reveal.

All in all, I found Genuine Fraud to be an interesting novel. I didn't LOVE it because the writing style, flashback and plot isn't really for me, but the way it is written is truly a novelty. I thoroughly enjoyed the freshness and uniqueness of the novel. If you're looking for a different, intriguing young adult novel that is more sophisticated than most, I think Genuine Fraud is worth giving a shot.

I received a free copy of this book from Delacorte Press. I had no obligation to review this book and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for MischaS_.
785 reviews1,333 followers
January 15, 2020
Genuine Fraud. I cannot say about the "genuine" part, but this book is definitely a fraud.

It pains me to say this because I was blown away by We Were Liars. It's in my TOP 10. But this is like someone else wrote it. Okay, I could feel a certain similarity in the plot twist, but it's nowhere near We Were Liars.

I read several reviews, and it seems that pretty often people who liked We Were Liars were disappointed by this one. But on the other hand, people who were not impressed by We Were Liars found this one to be better. So, if you did not like We Were Liars, this might be a better one for you.

And I want to write a long review, explaining what went wrong for me but... it seems like everything went wrong. 😢😭😥

The main thing is, I was obsessed with the writing style of We Were Liars, the metaphors, personifications. That it was almost poetic. And it was non-existent here.

That part was seriously confusing if you ask me.

There were no characters that I could like. I did not care about a single one of them.

The end did not surprise me at all.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,693 followers
October 20, 2017
I had high hopes for this one after We Were Liars.

I was let down.

I didn’t really get it. When I finished it I asked myself “Why?” and there was no good answer. The author tries to explain her inspiration in an Author’s Note at the end, but it seems like what she was trying to do didn’t end up with a full, cohesive, and complete story.

The book had its moments and part way through I thought that maybe the interesting format was going to play out into an awesome “AH HA!” moment. But, not really . . . maybe more of an “Ahhhh meh” moment.

I can’t really say who I would recommend this one to. It is not one that I can say that I didn’t care for it but I would expect that some people would think it is awesome. It is just too contrived with no great payoff.
Profile Image for Ava.
14 reviews29.9k followers
July 11, 2021
Woah, what a mind trip. I think this may be one of my new favorite thrilling/suprise-filled books. It's about a girl who takes on the identity of another, living the life of a fraud, and does some messed up, dark stuff along the way. She's constantly trying to cover her dirty tracks and will do anything, and I mean anything, to get away with what she does.
The book goes from chapter 18 to 1, so as you read, more of the story uncovers itself.. which I thought was genius for this book. I will say, reverse timeline can be hard to read if you don't read the chapters consecutively. This book does cover some TW topics like death and gore, so read with caution.
One thing I will note, is that I didn't connect or get attached to any of the characters, which has never happened to me while reading. While I have seen extremely mixed reviews, I personally really found this book to reel me into the story and captivated me until the very last page.
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
516 reviews34.4k followers
February 23, 2019
Okay, so Andrea said she needs a review to those two stars and because she’s Andrea and I like her so much I’m going to write a few sentences why this was only a two star read for me.

- I didn’t like the writing style of this book and whilst it’s a nice idea to write a book from the ending to the beginning this stylistic device didn’t work out for me. At least not when it comes to “Genuine Fraud”. (I’m sure some people will beg to differ but it’s just the way I felt after reading the book.)
- Who is Jule? Why is she doing the things she does? What happened before she became the person she is now? There are so many questions and none of them were answered. I mean I read 262 pages and nothing made any sense to me! I can’t imagine that your ordinary girl would change so drastically just because the opportunity arose. There has to be a motive, but if there was one it definitely was lost on me.
- The stereotypes in this one were so … urgh. The spoilt heiress that does everything her way and always picks some people that are lucky enough to capture her attention. Immie was horrible. Jule was even worse and Brooke? Don’t even get me started. Imogen’s bf, what was his name again? And what’s with Paolo? The guy pops up every once in a while, obviously sweeps Jule off her feet and then nothing… It made no sense to me.
- The ending. Boy, this was so anticlimactic I can’t even. If I’d be a smoker it wouldn’t even be worth the infamous cigarette after the sex. Like seriously, why did I read this book? I’m unsatisfied.
- I loved “We Were Liars” and it’s such a shame that “Genuine Fraud” didn’t live up to my expectations. =(
Profile Image for  ••Camila Roy••.
161 reviews49 followers
June 24, 2018
RATING: 2.5/5⭐️⭐️⭐️⠀

[Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook and a cheat. Jule is an athlete, a social chameleon and a fighter. An intense friendship, murders, bad romances. How many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge].

I dare say both Imogen and Jule are two of the most complex and fascinating characters I’ve ever read about. This is narrated in the third person, but don’t be fooled, the narration is completely unreliable and I loved it. It kept me guessing 99.9% of the time.⠀

However, the timeline in this book was ALL OVER THE PLACE. It was intentional, of course. Some readers might find it original and intriguing, but for me it was just too much. My little brain could not process all the information. I got the overall picture,though, so I wasn’t completely out of the loop.⠀

I recommend this but don’t expect it to be as good as We Were Liars, though, cause it is not. It’s a shame because it had potential!
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,079 reviews17.2k followers
September 8, 2017
There's a sweet spot in the suspense genre where character study combines with psychological horror. This sweet spot has produced masterpieces like Dare Me, Dangerous Girls, Allegedly, and now Genuine Fraud. These are stories about bad people who don't get their punishment, because that's not how the real world works. Real life is messy. Sometimes, bad people live on.

First things first: I KNOW a lot of people are going to be comparing this to We Were Liars. Genuine Fraud is a very different novel, and I expect that plenty of people who hated We Were Liars's pretentious rich kids and poetic writing style will love Genuine Fraud's straightforward writing style and morally black main character. I enjoyed the former a fair amount, but this book blew me away. Weirdly enough, the difference between We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud is similar to the difference between Dangerous Girls and Dangerous Boys: they're both excellent books, but the first one of each pair is more concentrated on atmosphere and one final twist, while the second one is more about the why than the how.

Genuine Fraud is the story of Jule West-Williams and her best friend Imogen. Anything else said here would spoil the plot. This book is told in flashbacks, with brilliantly subtle clues as to what's going on, and reveals that made my heart pound. I have to say that I wasn't totally shocked by much about the book, but damn, if the ride wasn't enjoyable.

This book is about the outcasts, the kids who aren't rich and perfect. It's about how far someone might go to have their own happy, wealthy life. The tension builds so slowly in this story. You feel sympathy for Julep towards the beginning, and even towards the end.

I admit, there were confusing parts. If you're someone who wants everything to be clear from the beginning, don't pick this up. But for me, the unanswered questions worked perfectly. This was a book that left me absolutely desperate to finish. Even when I predicted twists, every moment was full of tension. Just... let this book surprise you.

Thanks to my local bookstore for allowing me to borrow the arc!
Profile Image for Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings).
1,480 reviews149 followers
September 5, 2017
Having read some early mixed reviews for "Genuine Fraud" I decided to go into the book with an open mind.
The story is written backwards in time starting at chapter eighteen through to chapter one and then ending at nineteen. Although I didn't initially have a problem with this after you stop the book and then pick it up again, it can become slightly confusing especially since the story evolves around two characters that from the start, you realise one is pretending to be the other. I don't know if I would like to read a reverse timeline again but I did enjoy the plot and found myself wanting to continue to see the outcome.
The characters aren't particularly endearing or even likeable but I think that's the way they are supposed to be portrayed, however the author E. Lockhart has written a very ingenious story that keeps your attention. This may not have the punch and killer twists that some psychological/crime novels do but nonetheless it's a decent and quite a quick read.
"Genuine Fraud" is my first book by E. Lockhart and certainly won't be my last, I'd happily recommend this book to fellow readers as long as you're aware of how the book is styled and that it has been partially based on an inspiration from another famous book.
3.5 stars
Profile Image for emma.
1,788 reviews43.1k followers
January 22, 2018
In the Target book aisle, I picked up this book randomly to kill time while I waited for my sisters to be done shopping. (Because straight up every time I bring a book somewhere I have no time to read, but the second I'm caught without a book in hand I'm wishing I had one.)

I was grabbed by the first handful of pages. So much so that I had to go to checkout for a second time and buy this book - even though I'm sure it's much more affordable online.

Then I got home and later stayed up until the wee hours of the morning (which, granted, is hardly unusual) reading it.

Never did I feel particularly infatuated with or even appreciative of the story, but I do think a nonstop unputdownable experience is the best way to read a thriller.
Profile Image for Caro (Bookaria).
585 reviews18.4k followers
October 7, 2017
First of all, this book trailer!

Second, I love unlikeable characters.

This book tells the story of Jules and Imogen and it starts at the end.

Yes, at the end. On Chapter 18 where we find Jules living lavishly in a hotel in Mexico. However, she is being followed and afraid of being discovered. Then the story goes back to the beginning and that's how we learn how she got to that point.

I cannot say much about the plot without going into spoilers but I enjoyed the novel. It is full of privileged and unlikeable characters and very well written. I found it thrilling, engaging and twisty.

This is the second book I read from the author, the first one was We Were Liars which I also liked and recommend. This book is similar to We Could Be Beautiful and The Goddesses both are books by Swan Huntley that I enjoyed. It also reminded me of The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Overall I recommend this novel.
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
653 reviews3,843 followers
October 12, 2018
unpopular opinion: I didn't like We Were Liars much but I was willing to give E. Lockhart another chance. Unfortunately I feel EVEN WORSE about Genuine Fraud and so this is the end of the road for us. I'm breaking up with this author.

“She didn't know if she could love her own mangled, strange heart. She wanted someone else to do it for her, to see it beating behind her ribs and to say, I can see your true self. It is there, and it is rare and worthy. I love you.”

lets start with the few things I did like

non liner timeline: I keep on saying this and saying this but just to say it again. I LOVE books that mess around with timeline and narrative structure. Genuine Fraud is told entirely backwards and it definitely made for an interesting way to mask and reveal twists. Even though it took a bit to get the feel of this flow once you got your bearings it was really easy to read backwards. This is more of a "why-dunnit" than a "who-dunnit", kind of like The Secret History. . So that whole set-up was fun, even though I feel like Lockhart totally wasted it in some ways. But I'll get to that later.

unreliable and unlikeable narrator: In this house we love and support unreliable narrators who are bad people. I always enjoy reading an unreliable narrator and Jules is EXTREMELY unreliable which was fun. She's also very unlikeable, even though I saw where she was coming from and while I didn't ever really empathise with her I did enjoy following her and thought she was pretty fun.

the beginning: I LOVED the opening of this book. We're following Jules, who is going by the name Imogen and is on the run from the police and anyone else who might know her. It was such an interesting way to start and immediately suspense and mystery is heightened as we wonder how she got here. Also, Jule is a total badass at the beginning which I liked. Unfortunately the frenetic fun and suspense of the beginning got lost somewhere along the way in this one.

the discussions around women in society: there are a lot of discussions about womens roles in society and conforming to social conventions. I found these pretty interesting especially toward the beginning. The discussions around Imogen's boyfriends and how they were trying to turn her into something she wasn't were something I could relate to. I just felt these discussions weren't taken far enough and again, felt like recycled words I've heard before. I like that this book deliberately set out to subvert the tropes it criticised though, that was fun.

and then there's all this stuff I did NOT like

IT WAS BORING: So this book took me nearly TWENTY DAYS to read and it's only 200 pages long that is .... ridiculous. The suspense is created at the beginning but then it just peters out. It becomes pretty obvious pretty early on what has happened here and the whole book is SO predictable. I think I guessed every single reveal and that kind of made the point of the backwards timeline null and void. I felt like I've read this book before somewhere.

climaxed way too early: seriously .. there is one event I really wanted to know how/why it occurred and that was revealed like, not even half way through. That was the climax of the story and it was SO POINTLESS after that. I did not care about the last 100 pages of this book at all because everything I was wondering about got revealed so early on.

jule wasn't that interesting to me: this was supposed to be a lot about Jule and her characterisation/motivations but I didn't find her very interesting. I felt like I'd seen this character many times before and her motivations felt really weak to me. Lockhart seemed undecided on it I should sympathise with Jule or not and it just kinda created this mess of ... nothing. I didn't find Jule to be complex or particularly interesting and it really detracted from my enjoyment of this story. I just finished Gone Girl and that had such an interesting female lead in the same kinda vein as this and it really hammered home to me how weak Jule felt as a character.

bury your gays: this book introduces two sapphic characters and brutally murders them both. One of them on the page she's introduced in. I HATEDD THIS. It really doesn't sit well with me when authors just introduce gay characters to kill them. Their sexuality didn't even have a point on page, so it just feels kinda problematic to only introduce them as queer because you're going to kill them. Bury your gays is such an insidious trope

the ending: the ending of this book was super open-ended and ambiguous which I really didn't like. I HATE ambiguous endings so of course I wasn't really feeling it here either.

“They were paragons of self-sacrificing womanhood. Like, ‘I’m starving to death! Here, eat my only bakery bun!’ ‘I can’t walk, I’m paralyzed, but still I see the bright side of life, happy happy!’ A Little Princess and Pollyanna, let me tell you, they are selling you a pack of ugly lies.”

Unfortunately this book just didn't stick for me. E. Lockhart doesn't click with me, I think. I found lots of this so boring and honestly .. pointless. The twists were predictable and I felt like I've read about these characters before. Nothing really stood out to me as extremely unique and impressive I just felt bleh the whole way through.

Thankyou to the publisher for sending me an arc in exchange for my honest review
Profile Image for Lilith Black Bee.
176 reviews357 followers
February 14, 2019
Originally a 4 stars read.

From what I recall, this was the first book that I read and was written in reverse chronological order, and let me tell you, it took me some time to get into the story. But this wasn't a minus for me, because often I find myself in this situation. This was my second E. Lockhart read, after "The Boyfriend List" and before "We Were Liars".

I find her writing style very hooking, so I decided to give it a try for her other titles as well. What I like the most at her writing, and therefore at this book, is that she is trying with success to mess with your mind. The plot though isn't that big of a deal, but the idea, the thing that you didn't know what to expect from Jule, makes you keep reading. You think that you know what Jule did, how she was thinking. But this is all, because you are kind of next to the road, without really seeing it, when it comes to this.

To be honest, I don't have that much to say about this book, other than it was a fast-paced reading, and some moments just let me like wow, in a good way. It's not a memorable book. Sometimes was confusing, and I needed to reread a couple of pages because I was just simply kept forgetting things. But this might've been just me, not the book. And the finish... Oh, the finish... Was something like you walk on the road and suddenly the road it's finished. I don't know if you get the idea, but this is how it felt for me.

The feeling about this one, after a few days, it is exactly like when you wake up in the morning, ready for the day that is in front of you, but while the day keeps going, you feel more tired with every hour that is passing and you just want to go in your bed to sleep. Do you get the idea? Yeah, I think you get it. But this won't stop me from reading her other books too, because this wasn't a very good or either a very bad book. It was just in the middle for me. Also, I found it to not stick in my mind more than a few days. So if you are looking for an easy fast paces kind of a book, then this book is for you.

Profile Image for Wren (fablesandwren).
667 reviews1,497 followers
September 17, 2020
I have waited for about two months to write this review. I am dreading being honest in this review because I really enjoy the author and her banters with Libba Bray.

She really seemed to grasp the need for creepier and darker things for messed-up-in-the-head people like me and I was really excited to read this with my book club, The Cheerful Wednesdays. We all were actually, because we all loved her and wanted to see some of her brain-children.

But, sadly... I did not enjoy this book.

So the book was told from the cliffhanger-second-to-last-chapter and works its way forward to chapter one. So you know where the main character Jules is in the beginning, which is in an extravagant and lavish hotel closer/over the border, but you don’t know how she got there. So you go back one chapter at a time to where the story began, which is where she meets her best friend, Imogen. Then the whole book ends with the actual last chapter and not the beginning chapter (Makes sense? Probably not).

The whole book is about how she got to where she is, what happened to one of the girls and all the people she met on the way. There are some toxic friendships and just some people that are a little nutty.

But... there was no character development because of the way the story was told. All the characters, which none of them likable, stayed very stagnant and didn’t grow or get worse. They were all just really bad people to begin with and not in the enjoyable way.

And I was literally confused the whole time. I honestly don’t know if everything happened to Jules or if it happened to Imogen or if for some reason it all happened to a random lady named Grace who wasn’t even in this book and I just randomly thought up that name to put it in there because HEY IT COULD HAVE ALL BEEN GRACE.

I am all for mysteries and keeping things hidden until they are needed to create a big story-change or have a big reveal, but when I close the book and I still don’t know what is going on or I don’t even 100% know who the main character is, I only get really frustrated.

I didn’t enjoy this book, though I really enjoy the author as a person. I am glad that other people did enjoy the book though, because I really, truly wanted to too.


This month's Buddy Read with my fellow Cheerful Wednesdays Kayla, Dayrin, Sarah, Aleta and Mel! A few of us met Lockhart when we went to see Libba Bray and she was absolutely a hoot! Can't wait to dive into her newest book!
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,381 reviews11.7k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 5, 2017
I've read almost half of this "thriller" and the main thing I have to say about it is that E. Lockhart's talents are wasted on and misapplied to these latest new efforts at "mysteries." I can't wait for her to go back to light but smart contemporaries, because dark books are clearly not her thing. Genuine Fraud is just so extremely boring and lifeless and a drag. I miss E. Lockhart's humor and cuteness.
Profile Image for Jaidee .
561 reviews1,024 followers
October 13, 2021
2.5 "Cubic Zirconia" Stars !!

Let me start off by saying that this was an entertaining book that had the POTENTIAL to be a really slick and great YA thriller.

It was one of those books that slithered into you and compelled to read forward with lots of action, mystery and superficially interesting characters.

It was like going into one of those whimsical gift stores in tourist trap seaside towns where everything looks glamorous, unique and is exquisitely overpriced. You take that one of a kind sculpture home and realize that it is a horrible gaudy little chachka that your ceremoniously place in the curio cabinet with the rest of them.

I think that the title for the novel is most apt.

This book is sleek and stylish but ultimately lacks any real substance.

Take this novel to the beach, be entertained, possibly disappointed and then donate it to the charity shop along with (if you can) all your other horrible little chachkas !!
Profile Image for ♛ may.
802 reviews3,763 followers
October 24, 2017
As a person who’s already 110% paranoid by legit everything, reading this book was a stellar decision!!1!!1!


Okay, but let’s put my weirdness aside for a bit and talk about le book.

So, so, so, so, this mystery book works backwards, which I thought was absolutely GENIUS and entirely confusing, but still very genius. The main character Jules, is the baddest b*tch around but she also needs therapy. Like, lots of therapy. Maybe even institutionalize her, just…anyways

Telling the story backwards reminded me a lot All the Missing Girls, except this was EVERYTHING all the missing girls wasn’t. The thriller part was ingrained in the writing. The characters are reckless, unreliable, and just entirely messed up. There are so many motives, so much unfinished business, SO MUCH I NEEDED TO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT.

I really enjoyed how the contemporary is written in 3rd person bc YESSSSSS omg all contemporaries are written in 1st person and that’s all fine and good but 3rd person adds that air of mystique and disassociates you from the mc, which worked beautifully here.

I’d also like to mention how this isn’t really a mystery bc there is no mystery. Like, yes things become revealed over time but as we work through Jule’s flashbacks, we get to see the actions as they happened, not entirely revealing the why until the end. Which sounds really confusing bc it is really confusing.

Also, the book just reassured all my trust issues and made them a million times stronger. :)

So to speak, this book is wild.


If you liked We Were Liars, read this book. If you didn’t like We Were Liars, still read this book. It’s entirely dissimilar and comparable to the previous book. The writing is much more mature and so are the characters (these messed up kids are in college)

I took off a star bc A LOT of things weren’t resolved. Like I wanted answers to a few BIG pieces but the story just ends as abruptly as it started and we’re kinda left with a cliffhanger that we’ll never know the answers to .

4 stars!!
Profile Image for Angelica.
803 reviews1,004 followers
June 29, 2019
“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?” 

Well, this certainly was a heck of a lot darker than I ever anticipated.

The only other E. Lockhart novel I have ever read was We Were Liars, which I loved. It was a contemporary YA mystery taking place on a secluded island and following a girl who has lost her memory as she navigates complicated family drama.

When I picked this book up I expected a similar type of mystery. Instead, I got a seriously twisted thriller filled with lies, secrets, violence, and murder. Lots of murder.

The first thing you all should know about this book is that it’s told in reverse, starting at chapter 18, and going back all the way to how it all began in chapter one. Along the way, we come to see how our main character Jules, ended up with a stolen identity and on the run from the law.

The novel is full of twists and turns, and surprises that will leave you completely in shock. Just when I thought that I knew where this was going, the book did something to throw me off and take me entirely by surprise. It wasn’t so much the unpredictability of it, but the pure horror of the things done.

With a third person narrative and an unreliable narrator, we only know the whole story until the very last page. Who are Imogen and Jule, and what is their relationship? What mess have they gotten themselves into? How far are they willing to go to get out of it?

You’ll have to read to find out!

Sadly, one of my main problems with this book is the fact that the timeline kept messing me up. I have no problem that the book was told in reverse. What I have a problem with is that the time jumps were so sudden and often times left me confused as to when things were happening.

I also couldn’t really connect to the characters. I didn’t really care when things happened to them. Sure, I was surprised, and slightly disturbed, when certain things happened, but I didn’t feel bad about them.

Lastly, I think that it’s mislabeled as being YA. The characters are all in college or of college age. They spend their time traveling the world, spending money, and drinking alcohol. Not very teen oriented if you ask me, but oh well.

Another note. I hear people saying that this is very similar to The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. I have not read that book, nor have I seen the 1999 movie with Matt Damon, so I have no idea. If you know about The Talented Mr. Ripley and have read this book, what do you guys think? Are they the same? Who did it better?
Profile Image for Kathryn.
167 reviews284 followers
November 22, 2017
I LOVED this book. Absolutely adored. And that’s HUGE because E. Lockhart is kinda hit or miss with me. We Were Liars was my favorite YA novel of 2014. But….unpopular opinion here…..I hated, like kill-it-with-fire DESPISED, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks. For this reason, coming into E. Lockhart’s latest work, Genuine Fraud, I was nervous. And the description really didn’t help matters:

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.

WTF?! That’s just a list of rando words and phrases. I can do that too…..woods, hot chocolate, {whispers} WRITE A BLOODY DESCRIPTION {whispers}, snow, daughter….. See? Not descriptive…..AT. ALL. Nevertheless, I plowed forth. And holy mackerel, it was worth it.

But before I begin telling you WHY I loved this book, here’s some background. An actual description. Crazy concept, right?! The story opens in a luxurious mexican resort where our main character Jule is hiding out. Jule, with a cool $8 mil. to her name, has left a trail of intrigue, lies, and one dead bestie in her wake. When a police detective catches up with our elusive protagonist, a twisted tale of friendship begins. What really happened to best friend Imogen? How did an orphaned, penniless teen become an overnight multimillionaire? And the biggest question of all: WHO. IS. JULE?

Calling Genuine Fraud a nailbiter is the understatement of the year. I started this story while seated in a doctor’s waiting room and lemme tell you: my husband had to force me out the door. I was ready to sit ‘til the end. Plastic chairs, be darned. Needless to say, I finished the book in one day. Genuine Fraud is basically the Pringles of books. Once you pop, you just can’t stop. The reverse chronological format, while somewhat gimmicky, dramatically heightens the suspense. As the story traces back a year, tiny breadcrumbs are methodically dropped. And once you reach the shocking end--those breadcrumbs make one heck of a loaf. Translation: when you’re done the book, you will want to re-read the entire thing. More than once. Layers, y’all. For MILES.

Genuine Fraud is basically a The Talented Mr. Ripley--Single White Female mash-up. Seriously, there’s one scene (#nospoilers) that is practically lifted from The Talented Mr. Ripley’s eerily dark pages. But never fear….all comparisons are purposeful. E. Lockhart explicitly states that Genuine Fraud is intended as an homage to Patricia Highsmith’s crime classic. Now if you’re a Ripley fan, you may be asking yourself: “why would I want to read a story that’s simply a rework?” But trust: it’s worth it. Besides gender, there are multiple points of departure that prove fascinating. Like Tom Ripley, Jule is the ultimate chameleon. A survivor in the truest sense of the word. But her circumstances, background, and thought-process are completely her own.

To sum up: Genuine Fraud is a must-read. Its breakneck pace is both exhilarating and refreshing. But be warned: once you start, it’s impossible to stop. Plan to sit. For a LONG while.
Profile Image for Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.).
401 reviews426 followers
May 29, 2018
As a big fan of We Were Liars, I was very excited about this book but also a litlle bit worried because my expectations were high and guys, it was worth it, Geniune Fraud is a catchy, complex and dark book, told in a unique way that will keep you hooked from the first page. An incredible job


4.8/5 Stars

You can find this one and more of my reviews on my blog A Book. A Thought.

I don't really want to tell you what the book is about, because I think any little detail could be a potential spoiler, I know the synopsis may sound rather vague but I assure you that it's all you need to know before reading this book, and go into it knowing the least possible is the best option, I think it will allow you to have a better experience

The book is inspired by The Talented Mr Ripley, and although I personally have never seen that movie, it may be of interest to you, so I've decided to mention it.
The plot is told in reverse, this means that we start in the present and as we move through the chapters we will go back to the past. I love this original way of write a mystery plot, it worked perfectly and although I must admit that at first I was somewhat confused, I feel that once you understand how it works you'll be hooked and then it will be just more and more interesting.

The writing style, as expected, hasn't disappointed me at all, I remember that one of the things I loved the most about We Weere Liars was it's beautiful writing, this time we can appreciate that as well and is fantastic, from the descriptions of the places to the deepest thoughts make the book even more shocking. Another thing I expected from an E. Lockhart's book, it was to be taken by surprise, ie, I knew it had to happen at some point, and of course it did! I was like OMFG !.I still can't believe the big plot twist at the end, was absolutely briliant and although, as I said, I expected that plot twist at some point I didn't see this one coming at all, so I was really surprised


The main character is very well created, you can feel from the first moment that there are many things that this character hides, and because of her personality so daring, I felt that she really was layers of everything. I found myself feeling that I was seeing the whole story as if it were a movie. I don't know if I have a favorite character or if I would say that the main character has captivated me, I don't think so, but I think that each and every one of the characters play a fundamental role in the book and all of them make of this one a great suspense-mystery story.
I've loved the personalities so wandering and different that we have here, I think the author tries to show the dark side of each character and how the nature of the human being can become so cruel and indifferent when it comes to seeking their own happiness, I think also raises a lot how far we're able to reach to achieve our goals. It is fantastic, the tension you live reading this book is all an experience


I highly recommend this book if you're looking for a young-adult mystery reading with a beautiful writing style and a great way to tell the plot, I don't doubt that it will be very loved, at least I feel that it deserves it. Oh and I almost forgot, THAT PLOT TWIST , sooo good!
Profile Image for Sara.
369 reviews316 followers
August 22, 2020
I know its a fairly unpopular opinion but i really wasn't much of a fan of We Were Liars but i went in to this with an open mind, hoping to be surprised.

This is a story told in reverse chronological order which is a clever tactic and if done well, can be great! This story however just didn't pack the punch i wanted it to. I didn't really like the characters, i didn't enjoy the plot and i found everything to be far too vague without any pay off - the ending especially.
Profile Image for Carmen de la Rosa.
470 reviews379 followers
February 8, 2021
Estoy sin habla... necesito procesar todo lo que sucedió.
Pronto reseña!.

Así que realmente disfruté este libro de YA/thriller! No estaba segura de lo que iba a suceder cuando vi que la calificación promedio era inferior a 3.5, y no tenía las mejores críticas.

Esta es la primera vez que leo un libro de esta autora, a pesar de que su libro anterior fue un éxito de ventas e hizo mucho ruido en el mundo literario. Tal vez, buscaré su libro anterior ahora que estoy tan impresionada por el poderoso e intenso proceso de narración de la autora. No diría que me encantó, pero me gustó mucho que me pareció único y encantador a su manera. Algo adictivo, puedo decir.

Este libro tiene una trama compleja con muchos giros y, sobre todo, llama mucho la atención que toda su historia esta narrada en orden inverso. Es genial y los lectores gradualmente formarán una noción clara sobre la identidad real del protagonista, en cámara lenta.

El estilo de escritura de la autora, como dije antes, es único y es extremadamente coherente, mezclado con emociones alegres y con una leve esencia de emoción y suspenso que mantendrá a los lectores pegados a las páginas de este libro, casi todo el largo de la novela. El estilo narrativo de la autora es realmente excéntrico y, a veces, puede ser bastante desconcertante para algunos lectores; de lo contrario, es elocuente y está entrelazado evocativamente. El ritmo es muy rápido, aunque creo que la historia carece de profundidad en la segunda mitad de la historia.

Los personajes son realmente interesantes, bastante realistas y están representados con sus defectos y autenticidad para que parezcan vividos a los ojos de sus lectores. El personaje principal, Jules es una joven enérgica con mucha complejidad y crisis de identidad propias, pero a pesar de sus deficiencias, se las arregla para brillar como un antihéroe a través de la historia. Hubo algunas otras cosas que disfruté en este libro, como todos los viajes que hace el personaje principal (Londres, San Francisco, etc.). El resto de los personajes podría haber sido bien explorado o retratado a través del punto de vista de Jules.

Voy a mantener esta review corta porque creo que con este libro es uno de esos en los que deberías entrar sin saber mucho, hace que el viaje sea mucho más interesante y te emocionaras más por todos los giros de la trama que tiene.

En pocas palabras, este es un complicado thriller psicológico, que podría ser un poco más fácil para los lectores experimentados del crimen adivinar el clímax, sin embargo, para el resto de los lectores, este libro realmente puede cautivar su materia gris.
Profile Image for Julie Parks.
230 reviews64 followers
December 3, 2018
This isn't a review. THIS IS A LOVE LETTER!

Dear Emily Lockhart, this was pretty much a love at first chapter. Actually, it started even before that. As soon as I saw that the book starts with Chapter 18 and goes down to 1, ending with 19. I knew it then...I'd found my favorite book of 2018. Just when a bookaholic thinks she's seen it all...


It's clear early on that the leading lady, Jule, is in trouble. How big and why is to unravel against the clock. But if she gets away we only find out at the very end.

Thanks to Emily Lockhart's writing style and fantastic character development it's never been such fun and adventure to enjoy the ride looking out the window at the road left behind. Jule is everything you love in an "action hero" - she effortlessly speaks various accents, does martial arts pretty much for fun and hobby, owns several wigs, doesn't care about her weight (oftentimes munching on chocolate bars and other junk food). And best of all, she is a real fighter!

Jule went to the top of the staircase and gazed at the city. She thought of all the lives being led down there. People were buying toothpaste, having arguments, picking up eggs on the way home from work. They lived their lives surrounded by all that glitter and neon, happily assuming that small. cute women were harmless.


My initial crush started with Jule's obsession with superheroes who were all orphans just like her. I have my own little obsession with orphans, coming from a dark past and having gone through the process of trying to adopt unsuccessfully, I've read a bunch of books and stories, but Jule was so refreshing and taught me a completely new world. I loved loved LOVED the fact that she took life as a fighter chick and not in this meek whiny way, and considered the world her playground and not the other way around.

And don't even get me started with Imogen, another orphan gone Upper-Class heartbreaker.



Think: teenage female Tom Ripley meets Estella from Great Expectations, striking up an odd and slightly obsessive friendship. You can imagine where it goes from there. Only try to think it unraveling backward...

And everything that comes into their lives they pretty much treat like a huge task, a mission. You think it's only Jule because you're reading it backward, but the world is sometimes backward like that, and Emily Lockhart has nailed it in this story.

Think mystery and thriller books have become too predictable? Try reading them backwards instead.


There's talk of making this into a movie starring Lena Dunham, with one of the Girls directors, Jenni Konner. Can't wait to see what she will do with this story. And I imagine Lena would play Jule...what a blockbuster that will be.

I mean doesn't Jule already sound like Lena?

This isn't a movie about a girl who breaks up with her undermining boyfriend, she thought. This isn't a movie about a girl who breaks away from her controlling mother, either. It's not about some great white hetero hero who loves a woman he needs to save or teams up with a lesser-powered woman in a skintight suit.
I am the center of the story now, Jule said to herself. I don't have to weigh very little, wear very little, or have my teeth fixed.
I am the center


Jule develops a mild crush on Paolo, who's supposed to be this wealthy hair traveling the world, who's also kind and gentle, smart and funny, almost too good to be true...if only she hadn't introduced herself to him as Imogen...


He was a beautiful guy, she thought. Not all dominant and sweaty. Not all grabby and violent. Not condescending. Not all flattery and gold chains, either. His kiss was so gentle she had to lean in to feel it all the way.

Imogen is dating her own perfect man, too: slightly brooding, intellectual, older - college graduate, working on his novel. If only she was a simple girl who could settle for all that male perfection.


And then there's Scott. The cleaner. The forever topless male model body who's supposedly only around to clean Imogen's rental on Martha's Vineyard...


How had he become a guy who was willing to bleach other people's toilets and mow their yards? He looked and sounded like the great white hetero action hero you saw in movie after movie. He could probably have most things he wanted in this world without too much effort. Nothing was pushing him down, but here he was. Cleaning.


This is a YA murder mystery story. But it's really written for the adults raising those young mystery lovers as well.

I think a one-time read through doesn't even come close to gathering all the seeds Lockhart has planted to grow in one's mind. The over psyched media obsession with superheroes, especially the girls in 0 sizes, is addressed in and out through various superb thoughts in Jule's head, followed by her actions that clearly demonstrate the consequences such role models can have.

I'm a scraper. You could call it a talent...Not for fun, but - you know. Self-defense. Battling evil. Protecting Gotham City.

This book is a real treat. Tarantino at times. Comic books at other. Tom Ripley having tea with Dickens in a backyard somewhere in Martha's Vineyard. Teenage girls gone bad, and then good, and then too bad.

It's not a page-turner. Shouldn't be. It's something you will want to clasp close to your soul for as long as possible, skin flushing from all the emotions and sadness and giggles that seep out of it in every chapter.



What La La Land is for movies, this book is for literature.

Emily Lockhart, you are a never ending inspiration!
Profile Image for Suzzie.
906 reviews164 followers
September 12, 2017
This was an interesting, quick read. The way the story is told in reverse chapters is unique but I can understand that many readers aren't going to like the story being told in this manner. I am glad I read reviews before starting this book so I knew to expect the reverse chapters. Most of the characters (other than Jule and somewhat Imogen) aren't of much depth but crazy train riding Jule makes up for this pretty well!

Overall, a quick and pretty interesting read to checkout!
Profile Image for Madeline.
766 reviews46.9k followers
January 23, 2020
In the afterword for Genuine Fraud, E. Lockhart writes that she was "inspired by" several different books, including The Talented Mr. Ripley. To say that Patricia Highsmith's novel "inspired" Lockhart is a pretty huge understatement, as this book is less of an homage and more of a bold-faced ripoff. For fuck's sake, she couldn't even be bothered to come up with a new way for .

If you're the kind of person who thinks that those live-action Disney remakes are fun and innovative, this is the book for you.
Profile Image for Daniel Balici.
99 reviews19 followers
September 8, 2017
It seems to me that E. Lockhart endeavoured to write a novel completely different from her highly successful and critically acclaimed We Were Liars, which I read earlier this year and fell in love with. I thought that We Were Liars conveyed an atmosphere similar to the one I had experienced while reading On the Jellicoe Road and therefore it was easy for me to get absorbed in the purple prose, the enchanting setting, the mystery, the Sinclair family drama...

Genuine Fraud was nothing like We Were Liars, except maybe the cryptic blurb and title and the beautifully designed cover. In terms of the literary genres approached in this book, it is worthwhile to mention YA, psychological thriller, mystery and suspense, although it was not at all difficult to put almost the entire puzzle together. This novel was written employing the reverse chronology technique, which Megan Miranda utilized cleverly in All the Missing Girls. I presume that E. Lockhart opted for this story-telling method in order to gradually reveal the motivations behind the actions of one of the two protagonists and the chain of events in which she has been involved and resulted in her being under surveillance. To be honest, in the case of Genuine Fraud, the story told backwards didn't necessarily work for me.

I had been eagerly awaiting the release of Genuine Fraud but, unfortunately, it proved an underwhelming and unsatisfactory read, far away from the greatness and exquisite execution We Were Liars has been known for. Halfway through the story, my interest already decreased and it was certainly not a positive and encouraging sign, considering that a novel of psychological suspense, as Genuine Fraud is being promoted, is supposed to keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last, in my opinion. While I will definitely read the next book E. Lockhart is going to write, Genuine Fraud remains a fast-paced and relatively short novel with a mediocre plot, underdeveloped characters and no surprising twists and turns.
Profile Image for Monica.
Author 4 books262 followers
April 2, 2018
No saber de que va el libro es un punto a favor, ya que las pocas frases que vienen en la explicación rápida de lo que puedes esperar es bastante confusa.

La numeración de los capítulos es ingeniosa pero al mismo tiempo te revuelve incluyendo la forma en la que comienza, el cómo nos introduce es muy abrupta y es evidente que con unas pocas hojas leídas no tengamos idea de quién es cual, tarea que se complica si aparece el mismo nombre refiriéndose a personas distintas. La trama es interesante, cumple con su cometido llena de suspenso. Sin embargo hay otras cuestiones que no funcionaron para mi.

1- La Portada, que aunque es bonita podría confundir respecto al genero al que corresponde la novela, el color menta me parece más adecuado a una historia juvenil de romance que a la de un triller cargado de suspenso, por lo que podría pasar desapercibido pensando que se trate de algo distinto.

2- La numeración de los capítulos, ya lo había mencionado arriba de nuevo es un arma de doble filo, por un lado te va enganchando pero la forma en que relata la historia es muy revuelta y más de un vez tuve que regresar a los capítulos pasados para ir haciendo un mapa de hacia donde iba, (algo que nunca había tenido que hacer en ningún otro libro) un paso que quita emoción a la lectura.

3- La estructura, otro aspecto que pudo haber sido muy bueno pero que se quedó en el camino. La historia esta bien cimentada y con elementos suficientes para que el resultado fuera muy favorable porque tenía mucho potencial, el problema fundamental del libro entero es este, los capítulos no tienen un orden funcional y con esto me refiero a que había huecos constantes en los que nos retrasaba o nos adelantaba muy aprisa lo que hizo que no fuera sencillo llevar el hilo de todo. La primera parte es muy descriptiva en sucesos que debido a este orden extraño no se alcanzaban a entender de forma coherente, casi hasta la mitad del libro es cuando captas todo y toma una forma más entretenida y lineal.

4- La sinopsis, y hago referencia a la contraportada, porque en lugar de que sea del libro en cuestión, habla de otro libro de la autora, el más famoso que tiene. Supongo que el motivo era incentivarte a comprar también ese, aunque si no prestas mucha atención no notas este detalle, y te vas con la idea de que esas palabras se refieran a este en lugar de su antecesor, cosa que no tendría nada de malo, si no causara esta confusión, porque no tienen nada que ver.

En general este libro cumple con su dosis de suspenso, tiene historia y una trama que podría enganchar, pero la forma tan confusa y revuelta de los giros temporales le quitan fluidez, haciendo que se sienta más pesada y algo aburrida que recurre a los elementos comunes del genero, no es malo, pero tampoco sobresaliente.
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