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Genuine Fraud Book Summary

by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud

E. Lockhart


Told in reverse chronological order, ‘Genuine Fraud’ is a mind-bending thriller about Jule West Williams, a young woman who is both victim and perpetrator, con artist and chameleon. Jule is on the run, shapeshifting her identity to escape a past filled with deceit and danger. As the timeline unravels, the reader is drawn into a puzzle of stolen identities, betrayals, and shocking revelations, culminating in a jaw-dropping twist that challenges everything you thought you knew about Jule.

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Author & Writing Background

E. Lockhart is an award-winning author of young adult fiction known for her intelligent and suspenseful stories. Her writing often explores themes of identity, morality, and the complexities of human relationships. Some of her other popular works include ‘We Were Liars’ and ‘Fly on the Wall.’ In ‘Genuine Fraud,’ Lockhart masterfully crafts a non-linear narrative that keeps readers guessing until the very end.

Key Takeaways

Reverse Chronology

The story unfolds in reverse order, starting with the present and moving backward through time. This unique structure heightens the suspense and keeps the reader actively engaged in piecing together the events leading to Jule’s current predicament.

Unreliable Narrator

Jule is an unreliable narrator, blurring the lines between truth and lies. Her shifting identities and manipulative nature make it difficult to discern her true intentions and motives.

Identity and Deception

The novel delves into themes of identity, exploring how Jule constructs and deconstructs different personas to survive and manipulate those around her. The book raises questions about the nature of self and the masks we wear in society.

Toxic Relationships

Jule’s journey is marked by toxic and destructive relationships, particularly with the enigmatic Imogen Sokoloff. The power dynamics and codependency between the two characters drive much of the conflict and suspense.

Betrayal and Revenge

Themes of betrayal and revenge are woven throughout the narrative as Jule seeks to settle scores with those who have wronged her. The lines between victim and perpetrator become increasingly blurred as the story progresses.

Psychological Thriller

Genuine Fraud’ is a psychological thriller that explores the dark side of human nature. It delves into the minds of complex and often morally ambiguous characters, creating a sense of unease and suspense.

Social Commentary

The novel subtly critiques societal expectations and the pressure to conform. Jule’s shapeshifting and identity theft can be seen as a rebellion against the constraints placed upon young women.


Despite its dark themes, ‘Genuine Fraud’ can also be interpreted as a twisted coming-of-age story. Jule’s journey, while destructive, ultimately leads her to confront her past and make choices about her future.

FAQ about Genuine Fraud

Is ‘Genuine Fraud’ a stand-alone novel or part of a series?

‘Genuine Fraud’ is a stand-alone novel.

What is the significance of the title?

The title ‘Genuine Fraud’ reflects the duality of Jule’s character and the central theme of deception and identity. It suggests that even those who appear genuine can be hiding dark secrets and manipulative intentions.

Is ‘Genuine Fraud’ suitable for young adults?

While ‘Genuine Fraud’ is marketed as young adult fiction, it deals with mature themes such as violence, betrayal, and psychological manipulation. Parental guidance is recommended.

Genuine Fraud Quotes

  • ”I am a liar. I am a cheat. I am a thief. I am a murderer. I am a genuine fraud."
  • "You can be anyone you want to be. Just decide who you are and be that person."
  • "The past is a ghost, the future a dream. All we ever have is now.”