Anyone who knows me knows that I adore watching Seinfeld reruns. If you are also a Seinfeld fan, you may remember an episode that is told in backwards order. It’s not my favorite Seinfeld episode, but I have always enjoyed its uniqueness and the writers’ willingness to try something different. Genuine Fraud reminds me of this episode.
Hint: Don’t read too many reviews before reading Genuine Fraud; you may see too many spoilers. I personally loved this book, but Goodreads reviews are mixed. I did my best to keep my review spoiler-free, but if you want absolutely NO SPOILERS AT ALL, wait to read all reviews–including mine–until after you have read Genuine Fraud.
AUTHOR: E. Lockhart
PUBLICATION DATE: September 5, 2017
SOURCE: Public library OverDrive
SETTING: London, California, Mexico, 2016-2017
GIVE IT TO: HS
SUMMARY: A 17-year old girl is on the run from police. She’s smart though, and hides well.
REVIEW: I am going to try very hard to keep this review 100% spoiler-free. There’s a seventeen-year old girl on a treadmill in Mexico. The police have found her. The story is told backward, both starting and ending with the present. It’s a little confusing at first until you get used to the backward storytelling, but as you go, it makes more and more sense.
I was surprised to see how low the Goodreads ratings are right now. It seems some readers did not like the backward storytelling. Others complained that Genuine Fraud is too-similar to another book and movie (staying spoiler-free and not mentioning the title on purpose). I personally loved the backward storytelling, and I had no prior knowledge of said book/movie whatsoever. Perhaps that’s why I liked Genuine Fraud so much, because I didn’t compare it to anything else. For me, it was truly unique. I’m sure most students won’t be familiar with the book or movie, either, because the movie came out before most of today’s high school students were born. And the book was published when today’s students’ grandparents were young children.
I found Genuine Fraud to be exciting, unique, and page-turning fun. The characters of Jule, Imogen, Forrest, Patti, Brooke, and Paolo are so well-described that I can easily picture them and believe in who they are as people. I devoured Genuine Fraud in less than 24 hours, a feat for this busy mom that doesn’t happen often.
Interestingly, I was kind of “meh” about E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, which has loads of fans and positive reviews. For me, this one was more interesting all the way through (I found WWL boring and overly-angsty up to the last 50 pages or so).
So that’s all I can say. It’s far too easy to spoil this story, and I want you to experience it yourself. Keep an open mind, and remember that even if you know the movie/book comparison, most of your students will not.
THEMES: lying, envy, murder, unreliable narrator
THE BOTTOM LINE: A unique backward story that will be super-easy to booktalk in my library. Maybe not for everyone, but I truly loved it.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: Yep, gonna be ordering this one. An easy booktalk that will have students talking.
MORE UNRELIABLE NARRATORS:
- Overall: 5/5
- Creativity: 5/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Engrossing: 5/5
- Writing: 5/5
- Appeal to teens: 5/5
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
- Language: medium; not much profanity, but I do remember at least one F-bomb
- Sexuality: medium; kissing, a remembered rape or attempted rape
- Violence: high; two murders described in detail, fighting
- Drugs/Alcohol: medium; underage drinking of fancy mixed drinks at resorts