Check It Out: Genuine Fraud

Jul 17, 2018

Today I am recommending Genuine Fraud—a fast-paced Young Adult novel by author Emily Jenkins, writing under the pen name, E. Lockhart. 

This book re-imagines the classic Patricia Highsmith novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley, as the story of Jule West Williams, a young woman in modern times, who is above all else a survivor.  Jule imagines herself throughout the story as a heroine in contrast to the “great white hetero hero” in the stories she has grown up with through action movies and comic books.   She has a talent for disguises and imitating accents, and can handle herself in a fight with anyone, but Jule is a tragically flawed heroine, and it is hard to like her.  

Lockhart upends the antihero narrative by telling this story backwards, starting the novel with Chapter 18 and the instructions, “Begin Here”—leading readers backwards through the last year, and the relationship that Jule has with her best friend and wealthy heiress, Imogen Sokoloff.  Telling the story this way, Lockhart says, “was a way to build connection to my hero-you become closer and closer to her as you see her progress to innocence from experience.” 

As layers are peeled away in the story, the author explores the themes of jealousy, loyalty, privilege, and origins and the moral compromises that class mobility may entail.  This cinematic thriller is sure to keep you guessing--with a twisting narrative and unpredictable story turns that even reluctant teen readers will enjoy.

Check out Genuine Fraud, by E. Lockhart, and other anti-hero stories like it at the Sioux City Public Library.    

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Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.