1. The Broken Girls, by Simone St. James:
2. Genuine Fraud, by E. Lockhart:
Since it came out last year, Genuine Fraud has been subject to significantly mixed reviews, and it's pretty understandable given the popularity and outstanding quality of E. Lockhart's last book, We Were Liars. I was immediately interested in Genuine Fraud just based on the premise as well as the fact that it sounded like it could possibly be similar to We Were Liars (which I LOVED) so I was intrigued right from the start. Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat. Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. A bad romance, or maybe three. Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her. A girl who refuses to be the person she once was. I won't say Genuine Fraud is bad, but it's not amazing - actually, it's a mess. The plot is all over the place but also really fast-paced, so you have no time to figure out what's going on. Which is fine. I'm all for fast-paced thrillers that have unreliable narrators and screw with your head until everything finally comes into focus. That's exactly what We Were Liars is all about. But Genuine Fraud is a tad unrealistic at times and rather undeveloped in parts (it's only 264 pages); that is, way too much telling from the author rather than showing. Not to mention that the story is told backwards - again, not a negative given that a ton of other thrillers have done similar things with their timelines - but the timeline in Genuine Fraud jumps around so much and it's not so much confusing as it is exhausting, because you can tell early on there isn't going to be some mind-blowing reveal at the end like in We Were Liars. Also, there is a total lack of suspense in a book whose premise pretty much promises suspense, and there isn't much of a mystery to solve in the story either. For such a short book, it's pretty boring. But on the plus side, I found the characters were really strong, the book was otherwise really well written (aside from the tendency to tell too much instead of showing), and I liked the interesting social commentary of roles for girls and women. 3/5 stars.