Smart & Brilliant… Yet Pointless: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Smart & Brilliant… Yet Pointless: Genuine Fraud by E. LockhartGenuine Fraud
by E. Lockhart
Release Date: September 5th 2017
Published by Delacorte Press
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, YA
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
Pages: 272
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Source: Audiobook Received for Review

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

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.

Audiobook Received for Review in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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I have such mixed feelings about this book… I don’t even know where to start. In all honesty, I probably should not have read this book. I hated We Were Liars and I had a feeling that this book would make me feel the same way as that one. But,  I am such a sucker for Rebecca Soler as a narrator that I caved and ended up downloading this book when I saw she was narrating it. Despite the fact that Soler was brilliant in her performance of the book (what else is new?), I was not a fan of this book. The sad thing is that it had so much potential and the writing was great, but it just fell flat for me in more ways than one.

The book starts with Jules in a luxury resort in Mexico, she’s living the life and soon we find out that it may not be her life she’s actually living. She’s  a con artist and uses other identities to live her life. At the moment she is pretending to be Imogen, one of her old friends. When a cop gets the drop on her, Jules goes into full survivor mode and she escapes while beating up people along the way. From there, the story is told in reverse, each time going back weeks or months back in time. This format was not my favorite. I’m not a fan of flashbacks in books to begin with so this essentially felt like it was all told in flashbacks and it was hard to keep up with at times (i.e. most of the time).  We get to see Jules transition as to how she became who she is and why and we quickly realize that Jules is batshit crazy. Like full on psychopath.

I think my main issue with this book was that while it had so much potential, I love books that feature con artist, especially female con artists and I love kick ass characters who are borderline bad people, Jules didn’t cut it for me. She wasn’t a character that was fighting the line of good vs. evil, more like crazy vs. evil. She was such an unreliable character and so unlikable that it was so hard to root for her and hard for me to care what she was up to and what happened to her.  Sorry, but I just didn’t care because her reasons for being how she is and doing what she does just weren’t good enough for me. It was also very unrealistic at times. Jules herself says she doesn’t look like Imogen, yet with a wig/dye job and makeup she suddenly makes everyone believe she’s all of a sudden Imogen? She takes down a fully trained cop? She kills a few people here and there, in a sloppy way to be honest – I expected better from her, and doesn’t get caught? It was all just a little bit too convenient and far fetched for my liking.

The premise of this book was actually pretty brilliant and interesting, I just don’t think it was executed the way it was intended because of Jules character. I wanted her to have a better reason for her deciding it that killing people, running from the police and stealing people’s identity other than her just being crazy. This book was pretty damn short and even still I felt bored at times because the book was so repetitive (Jules pretends to be someone else, gets caught, kills someone, gets away, rinse and repeat) and predictable. I don’t think this author is for me, some people seem to love her stories but I sadly am not one of them.

Audiobook Sample:

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Nereyda is a 31 year-old mother of two girls with addiction to Friends, fashion, books, Pinterest, Netflix, the color black and a little bit of everything else. Also, the world's worst texter...
  • Every negative review for this book guts me, because I am such a fan of Lockhart. I have loved all her books, and was so excited about this one. I have had a copy of the book since May, but kept setting it aside, because of all the poor reviews. I am so conflicted!

  • When I first read We Were Liars I really liked it, but the more I thought about it I found flaws in the story. In the end from 4 stars I lowered it to 2.5. From what you`ve said, I don`t think I would enjoy this book either.

  • I liked We Were Liars quite a bit. I haven’t heard good things about this one at all so definitely skipping it I think. The premise does sound good though. Great review!

  • I love E. Lockhart, but this book was a total miss for me. I agree; the premise is so promising, but the book itself just didn’t deliver. I feel like in books like this, where the main character is kind of a terrible person, you have to at least understand their motivations or appreciate their planning/cunning to enjoy the story. And I just… didn’t find Jules likeable OR all that smart.

  • Oh man, thanks for the review because I just saw the blurb for it somewhere and was curious but now I don’t think I’ll give it a go. Julie would probably drive me nuts so thanks again for the heads up!

  • Jasprit

    Ugh I’m so sorry that this book didn’t end up working out for you Nereyda, it does seem to have a lot of potential too! I didn’t end up like We Were Liars either and I think that’s one of the reasons that I didn’t consider giving this book a go. But well don for sticking it out, as I’m sure Jules character and the predictability of this story would have bugged me! Also I’ve not listened to any books by Soler before, I will have to see what other books she’s narrated!

  • Agree with you. I actually liked WWL. And I loved the writing in GF. But I agree with you — I felt zero connection to the story.

  • Bookworm Brandee

    So sorry this one was a bust, Nereyda. At least you got to listen to a narrator you enjoy. 🙂 That’s small consolation when the story just didn’t do it for you though.

  • I feel like this book and We Were Liars were NOTHING like E. Lockhart’s previous books, which were AMAZING and HILARIOUS and girl-power-AWESOME. This book was weird. I thought it was a cool idea to tell a story backwards, but yeah– it didn’t really work when the m/c is just BLAH. It was super unbelievable that she was even capable of pulling off what she was barely pulling off because she just wasn’t a strong character. I didn’t buy it. Seriously though, her other books are good– some of my all-time faves.