Review published on September 18, 2017.
E. Lockhart’s latest novel Genuine Fraud was not what I expected – not what I expected at all. I associate Lockhart most with YA, and although Genuine Fraud is pitched as a suspense novel, the cover left me unsure of what was in store. What transpires is much grittier and edgier than I had anticipated, and although the female protagonist is in her late teens, this didn’t feel like YA at all. The suspense aspect of the novel, too, was darker than expected and the ferocity and shock of some of the events took me utterly by surprise. Indeed, although there are hints as to the edginess of the novel from the start, the real intensity doesn’t emerge straight away so when it does finally come to the fore it is all the more impactful.
Despite the success of the tone and tension of the novel, I must admit that I initially struggled to get into this novel much more than I usually do as the book demands more attention than I had anticipated, and it was only really around halfway through that I began to settle into the story and it started to grow on me. Unfortunately by that stage, though, I feel as if a lot of the novel had escaped me, so readers should be prepared to invest fully in this novel to get the most out of this story, not least because it is told in reverse order, working backwards from chapter eighteen through to chapter one. This format makes for an interesting, if again at times demanding read, but I liked the novelty of it and admire the dedication of the author.
I also enjoyed the novelty of the female protagonist. Again, she offered something different and unexpected, something that sets her apart from the traditional roles of the female protagonist in most genres, and certainly nothing like the YA or suspense heroine I had been expecting. She is not always the easiest and certainly not a very likeable character, but the author managed to invest in her story.
For me, my own failure to really get into this story as I would have liked at the beginning made this a less satisfying personal read than perhaps the novel warrants, but I suspect it would work really well as a group read, where many of the particulars of the book can be explored collectively. Nonetheless, there was much that I enjoyed about this book, not least that it defied expectation.
J. Craddock 3/4
Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
Hot Key Books 9781471406621 hbk Sep 2017
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