Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart [in School Library Journal]
Jule West Williams is “the kind of woman it would be a great mistake to underestimate.” Her background might be imagined, but the self-assessment is exact. Her invented 10-year “highly unusual education” – not unlike the epic journeys of white hetero heroes, which she both disdains and aspires to – allows her to go anywhere, do anything, even be anyone.
Identity drives Lockhart’s latest as she reveals the unlikely best friendship of two (sort of) orphans: untethered Jule and wealthy Immie, whose adoptive parents have bestowed her millions. Now Immie is dead by suicide, and only Jule seems to know what happened.
Although this title is intended for YA readers, grown-ups – especially fans of unreliable narrators such as Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride, Patricia Highsmith’s “Mr. Ripley” series, and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl – will relish this international chase. One notable annoyance: Culebra is part of Puerto Rico, which means “American dollars” is the expected currency.
Verdict: For reliable gratification, choose the page and avoid Rebecca Soler’s clumsy attempts at Jule’s multiple accents. That Jule’s chameleonic abilities are fundamental to the plot distracts from the rest of Soler’s otherwise capable narration.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult