I have had this book on my shelf for longer than I would care to admit, so when I saw it on the shelf at the library, I had to have it, and read it… Yes I am one of those people who like to keep my books perfect and not looking like they have been read, so the library is my best friend. Anyway, as usual, this review and ramblings will be totally spoiler filled, so look away now if you haven’t read this book. My non-spoiler filled GoodReads review can be found HERE.
Also this is a TRIGGER WARNING, this book and hence this review contains mentions of murder, shootings, suicide through multiple ways. If any of these things are triggers for you, then this review and ramblings is probably something I would give a miss xx
Also before I begin, a little note. I write these Reviews and Ramblings as I am reading. They are like a diary of notes I take as I am reading the novel. If something happens, I write my reactions, thoughts, ideas and personal opinions. I love this aspect of reviewing a book and I find it makes them more honest. The reviews, I post on GoodReads, I condense from these ramblings. Lets begin!
Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart
Published September 5th 2017 by Delacorte Press
Well, once again Lockhart has created something with such a relaxed writing style. It Is easy to read, even though it feels like the story isn’t going anywhere. I am feeling like I am being told snippets of Jule’s life, but none of them match up, so to speak? I am 60 pages in, well past my cut off for intrigue, and I am interested to see what happens, but It is feeling like nothing is happening and we are stuck in a pattern of reliving the past.
I’m not sure about Jule, I can’t tell if she is truthful or if she is an unreliable narrator. Her life seems rather enchanted for someone who was raised with nothing. I have this dreadful feeling that she was the one who murdered Imogen too, for her money, so she could seek revenge for her own parents lives.
Woah, this book has gone from zero to one hundred in like 40 pages. I knew Jule was crazy, but I didn’t realise she was a murderer! But she is so incredibly smart too! She knew exactly how to trap Brooke, how to get her to go hiking, how to kill her, push her over the edge and then leave her car, dispose of the evidence. She didn’t even look back, she killed her then forgot about it, until Paolo mentioned that they had found her body. I am almost positive, now that she killed Imogen, to assume her identity. But who is Jule anyway? She keeps mentioning how there is no record of her, no fingerprints in the system. She changes her identity and hair colour and bank accounts regularly. Who is this girl!? I am halfway through now and I need to know more. A tiny part of me feels like I am being played? Like maybe we have an unreliable narrator here, spinning tales?
This book is psychologically thrilling! The whole way through I am in a state of constant confusion, trying to piece together Jule’s chapters, to work out what is real and what is fake. I’m not going to lie I have had several WTF moments, where I have had to re-read a chapter several times, to make sense of it. I’m loving the pacing, the writing style and the shorter sub-chapters. It keeps the story flowing, the characters active and the mind completely confused.
The backwards orientation of the plot is slightly off putting, but I think that may be the point? Like I am so used to reading a book and having the character progress and learn things and grow, but we are seeing Jule, regress into a murdering, identity stealing, psycho. I am finding, I am going back the start of a chapter and checking the month and year, then flicking back to the start of the book to see where I am up to, in relation to the beginning of the book. It is getting progressively creepier as we regress into Jule’s past. And it is a recent past, I think that is what makes it so creepy. It starts off as not too creepy, but you can tell something is off, and now it is just all out crazy town. I am devouring this book, I am sure I’ll finish it one sitting, it is the kid of read, that is kind of like a car crash, the whole you know something is horrible and feels wrong, but you can’t look away? Yeah well that is me with this book. I know it is creepy and that something horrible is coming, more horrible than what I have already discovered, but I can’t stop reading. I need to know what happens next!
I knew it! I effing knew it! She killed Imogen! Page 173! Imogen called her on her stores that made no sense, on her dressing like her, admiring her, and Jule couldn’t take it and wacked her over the head with an oar! I knew it! But some tiny part of me wants to know more about Jule, about her past, why, other than seeing her parents dead on the street, is she they way she is? Clinging to any kind of human interaction like it is air, and then turning into a murderer when things start to go south. What happened to her to make her that way? But seriously, I wrote this paragraph to gloat. I knew it! It may have taken me the first 100 pages to nut it out. But yay! Julie -1 Genuine Fraud – 0!
Well there is one lie down Jule! Your parents weren’t brutally murdered in front of you! Your mum died of an illness and your father couldn’t live without her so he slit his wrists in the bath. I just realised that I sound quite callous, this is not my intention, but I literally have 30 pages left in this book and any small truth reveal is a victory at this point. I feel like we are slowly learning about Jule and what makes her tick. As well as why she lies, but woah I was not expecting her stalker-ish love of Imogen, I thought maybe their friendship naturally happened and it grew into something more, but not that Jule stalked Imogen and placed herself in front of her, hoping that Imogen would take an interest.
We are also learning about Imogen, how she has the need to surround herself with people, and that these people have to be alternated every few weeks. She needs to be the centre of the earth, be with people that value her, that need her. She wants to be wanted and needs to be needed. Until she doesn’t. In this way, she is using people. Taking all of the love and energy that they have to give, then casting them aside for a new source of this love and adoration.
Woah hello page 233-34! I was so wrong about Jule! She didn’t stalk Imogen. Imogen’s parents, her sweet, over caring, super loving parents hired her to go and see if she was okay. To look for her and let them know that she was alright… Their hearts were in the right place but honestly, they gave her thousands of dollars in gift cards, flights to get to the Vineyard and basically told her to make their daughter trust her and report back to them. This story is wrong on so many levels! Little did they know that they were sending a girl with murderous tendencies after their daughter!
Well the last few pages are getting mighty dull. This conversation with a pimp who wants to employ here feels like forced backstory, it is all coming out at once. However I don’t know how much of it is truth after all of the lies I’ve been told by Jule… It feels like fluff that we need to be told to fill plot gaps. I do appreciate it, but I didn’t think there needed to be a focus on her accents, yes I picked up through the story that she changes her accents, but for there to be a whole chapter about the way she learned them and how many she can do, seems a little over kill. I get that it lead up to her running away to New York and ultimately meeting Imogen’s mother while working a catering job, but it felt like a lot of back-fill in one tiny chapter.
Ooh finally a time jump back to the present day! I’ve been waiting for this! WHAAAAAAT!!?? No! The detective is investigating the disappearance of Jule’s! She thinks that Jule’s is Imogen for reals! This book man. I am dead. I sooo expected this to go a different way! I thought Jule’s was about to be arrested for all of those bloody murders she had committed! No WAY! Woah this is some crazy shit! Now Imogen, who is really Jule, is getting investigated for faking her own death and then murdering Jule and stealing her identity… what the heck is happeniiinnngggggg!
What a cold hearted bitch! She just dropped her identity, got rid of everything that tied her to Imogen and now is moving on to someone else, to live her life in a different place, as someone else. After the whole book being about Jule and Imogen and it wasn’t even about them at all, Imogen was just a way for Jule to make some money, an identity to assume until its perks ran out!?
I love e. lockharts writing style and her ability to create characters that are incredibly deep and rich with emotion and a rawness that you don’t often see in YA fiction. I did enjoy the ride this book took me on. I was constantly on the edge of my seat and second guessing every conversation, every action and every thought that these characters were having. This book is psychologically thrilling and really makes you think about what is actually going on.
These characters – Imogen and Jule – are so complex in themselves, that the settings they are in around the world and the other people in their lives hardly matter. They are incredible characters. There is so much you can read into each of them and this is what makes this book such a good and confusing read. The ending blew my mind! Honestly, who would have expected that plot twist! I had Jule all wrong! I had her pegged as a stalker, as a needy, I’ll kill you if you don’t love me kind of stalker. I was soooo wrong. She is tough, she doesn’t need anyone and she is more than capable of being on her own. She uses people until she has no need for them, then leaves, taking their identity, their accent and their money with her. She is such a strong character!
This book was different from a lot of the current YA fiction books I have been reading lately. There was hardly any romance involved from the Protagonist’s point of view, which was so refreshing. I love that this book didn’t need a love interest to keep the ball rolling. I also feel the way it was set out, reverse chronologically gave it an edge. Yes it confused me to begin with, but after reading the whole thing it made total sense! This is one I definitely will be keeping on my shelves to read again, when I next need me some phycological thrilling!
Have you read this book? What did you think?