How far will you go to be someone else for a day?
What do Jane Eyre, Vanity Fair, and Great Expectations have in common? Well, they’re the favorite novels of two best friends; Jule and Imogen. Perhaps that’s because, like the heroines in these stories, both girls are orphaned. But that is where their similarities end. While Imogen spent her life as an adopted heiress, housed in a penthouse on the Upper East Side, with an education at an exclusive all-girls private, Jule’s life was a little different. But can one expect anything else when all the girl has had as a mentor and guardian was an uncaring aunt?
Though maybe it was wrong to suggest that these two very dissimilar individuals had no resemblances. At the end of the day, a relationship as strong as theirs has to be built on more than just liking the same books. No, these two young women came together over something else. They both shared a great desire to live outside people’s expectations of who they should be. Who said an heiress had to graduate college and find this great purpose in life? Who said a petite woman can only be harmless and cute?
However, being Imogen’s friend is not an easy thing. And trying to understand who Jule really is ending in painful headaches, leaving you more confused than ever. So, can these two girls, who’ve managed to form such an intense friendship, truly survive it? Who will they be in own their stories… and who will they be in each other’s?
Should You Read It?
After the success of E. Lockhart’s best-selling suspense, We Were Liars, fans couldn’t wait for the next psychological thriller the author had to offer. However, before you pick up this book, you should know that if you are expecting a similar story to the hit novel, you’ve got the wrong title.
You see, while in her first mystery, Lockhart followed a particular formula to achieve suspense, in this thriller, she throws out that formula for a new one. Luckily, she still manages to achieve as much suspense as in her debut.
For starters, the way the story itself is told is different. Instead of baiting readers with red herrings or using poetic language and reimagined fairytales to express characters and describe a series of events (as done in We Were Liars), Lockhart writes the story backward, forcing the reader to start at the end.
Although some might fear that by doing so, the novel might be hard to follow, I found that this style significantly piqued my interest. When I came to the end of the first chapter, or rather the last, I desperately wanted to turn the page and learn more about the characters, who they were, and how they got into this mess.
However, while the author does a good job of maintaining suspense, giving readers just the right amount of information to keep them coming back for more, I must admit I was dissatisfied with the ending. While the story starts during an exciting moment, readers spend most of the book traveling back in time to what feels like a prologue. When I finally reached the exciting incident again, the story was cut off, leaving me with more questions than I started out with.
Moreover, the plot twists were not what I thought them to be. Even though uncovering the characters, seeing through the masks they hold up to their faces, and discovering their secrets was what made reading this book enjoyable, after finishing the novel and analyzing my experience reading it, I found that I did have that “Aha” moment where my mind was blown away by a reveal or a twist.
Nonetheless, one could argue that just as this story isn’t written in the traditional mystery format, it won’t follow the classic ‘whodunit’ style. Rather than enjoying the moment the wrongdoer is revealed, readers enjoy slowly unraveling the truth and putting pieces of the puzzle together.
Just like We Were Liars, Genuine Fraud might not be for every reader. The novel is filled with unlikable characters, all trying to bait you to their side. Moreover, the plot can sometimes be relatively slow, driven mainly by these unforgettable characters. But this book does a great job at making readers ponder topics such as their identity, how it’s formed, and how they perceive themselves and their roles.
Overall, this novel was quite enjoyable, mostly for its unusual protagonists. But be warned, don’t let its characters get too close, or your disappearance might be the one we read about next!
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