Lockhart, E. Genuine Fraud. Fiction. Delacorte, 09/2017. 272pp. $18.99, 978-0-385-74477-5. PLB $21.99, 978-0-375-99184-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 9-12.
Jule West Williams is the enigma at the heart of this riveting thriller which opens with the police tracking her down in Mexico, then moves backward to peel away the layers of how Jule got there. The narrative is driven by the mystery of who Jule really is and what she has done, and Lockhart acknowledges a debt to Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley (CowardMcCann, 1955). The prose is hard-boiled, cool, and a little detached, overtly conjuring up modern-day movie tropes as well as using more subtle imagery of femme fatales from film noir. While other characters, notably wealthy Imogen, are key to the plot, the main attraction is Jule, an amoral white heroine who likens herself to Jason Bourne, James Bond, and “a lone vigilante, a superhero in repose.” She is opportunistic, a fluent liar, and without scruples, and shifts identity as easily as she changes accent, while still remaining sympathetic, though Jule herself wouldn’t be very worried about that. Ideal for teen readers who don’t want soft and cuddly and who appreciate a young woman who has no hesitation in being the center of the story. Review based on an ARC. This book includes California-specific content.
Hayley Beale, San Francisco University High School