Imogen is a rich heiress, has run away from home and school and is living at Martha’s Vineyard with her boyfriend, Forrest. She is a cheat and manipulator, using and discarding friends on a whim. Jule is a liar, physically strong and mentally alert. She changes her physical appearance as much as she changes her history. Jule and Imogen are reacquainted and Jule moves in with Imogen and Forrest. The two young women develop a very strong friendship. On a whim Jule and Imogen decide to fly to Cabo San Lucas together. It is here their friendship takes a nasty turn.
You know when you’re at the beach, in the soft sand, and you are trying to dig a hole, and when you scoop a handful out the space seems to fill up with more sand? Well, this is how I felt when reading this book, and about Jule. Just when you think you have something worked out, another facet of her personality appears, and you are never quite sure what version to believe. There are many layers to her and they intertwine and mesh together. It is this characterisation that drives the intense narrative. The novel is written in reverse, with the ending at the beginning and each chapter occurring before the previous. This is an interesting and clever way to unfold Jule’s and Imogen’s lives, ensuring the reader is always second-guessing the next development. There are many twists and turns in this book. It was so hard to put down and stayed with me for days after finishing. It is one of those books you really need to talk to someone about! Quite often I was tempted to sneak a peek at the end and I am relieved I didn’t, for there is a lot involved and skimming or skipping is not an option.
Genuine Fraud is a rewarding read. Jule is as much a mystery as the story itself. Although published as YA, this book would suit any adult reader who likes a good psychological thriller/mystery. A must for all secondary school libraries and public libraries, it would make also make a brilliant book club book.
Many thanks to Allen and Unwin for supplying this book for review.