Exclusive: Bestselling author E. Lockhart to publish a new YA novel

Image: delacorte press

Bestselling author E. Lockhart has a new YA novel hitting shelves this fall.

Announced today, Lockhart’s Genuine Fraud will be released Sept. 5 by Delacorte Press, and imprint of Random House Children’s Books.

Edgy and inventive, Genuine Fraud is an instantly memorable tale of love, disloyalty and entangled relationships that are not what they seem. Lockhart introduces readers to the story of Imogen and JuleImogen, a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook and a cheat; Jule, a fighter, a social chameleon and an athlete. This is a novel about intense relationship, a disappearance, assassination, bad romance, a girl who refuses to give people what they want from her and a girl who refuses to be the person she once was. Who is genuine? And who is a fraud? You be the judge.

Lockhart is a staple in the YA world, and she’s perhaps best known for her haunting We Were Liars, a deluxe edition of which will be published this May.

MashReads spoke to Lockhart about Genuine Fraud , her career, and her advice for 2017. Then read on for an exclusive excerpt of her upcoming novel.

When did you first know you wanted to be a novelist ?

I read Joan Aikens The Wolves of Willoughby Chase in third or fourth grade and immediately began writing novels about Victorian orphanages, windswept sceneries and cool uniforms.

What describes you to writing YA volumes ?

In young adulthood, people separate from the values and espouses of their families of origin and begin to define themselves as individuals. That process of separation and self-reinvention is exceedingly interesting to me. Genuine Fraud is very much a YA novel, even though it doesnt take place in high school.

Is your writing process different depending on the genre youre writing ?

Genuine Fraud is a psychological thriller, and the only other such book I have written is We Were Liars . All my other volumes are slapsticks! The thrillers have intricate plots that require more planning.

Genuine Fraud sounds a bit like an oxymoron. Do you have a favorite oxymoron ?

Film producer Samuel Goldwyn is often quoted as saying, I never liked you, and I always will. My new novel is in something of the same spirit.

Genuine Fraud is another suspense fiction, like your emotional bestseller We Were Liars . Can you give a hint as to the emotions readers are likely to have ?

Both volumes have twisty plots, but with Genuine Fraud youre unlikely to need a tissue. Rather, I recommend Rolaids and seltzeryoull want a strong belly.

Youre known for writing incredibly strong and complex female characters, especially Frankie Landau-Banks, who is assured by many as a feminist icon. The women in Genuine Fraud seem to be in a similar vein. Do you feel you have a responsibility as a YA writer ?

Thank you. I am a feminist, most certainly, but my responsibility as a novelist is not to provide role models. My responsibility is to try to write something that feels true to me on some emotional and intellectual level. I write to make a piece of narrative art that represents the inside of my head. I hope that if I have done so well enough, people will respond to it.

As its a new year, what is your advice for your readers for 2017, both for life and for aspiring novelists ?

Raise your voice. Its an everyday practice. As a novelist, as an activist, as a friend and colleague, student or teacherraise your voice in protest, in apology, in curiosity, in kudo, in self-expression.

What were some of your favorite books of 2016 ?

I read a lot of travel stories and novels written in the nineteenth century. I read cookbooks and middle-grade fiction and comic essays. But Genuine Fraud is a complicated portrait of a particularly difficult person, and a twisty thriller as welland here are two 2016 volumes I read while I was revising it that fit that same description and are unbelievably juicy: Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman is an adult novel about young lady behaving more than severely, raw and gorgeous. My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier is a YA novel about a son whose younger sister is a psychopathchilling and thought-provoking.

Image: Delacorte press

It was a bloody great hotel.

The minibar in Jules room stocked potato chips and four different chocolate bars. The bathtub had bubble airplanes. There was an endless supply of fat towels and liquid gardenia soap. In the lobby, an older gentleman played Gershwin on a grand piano at four each afternoon. You could get hot clay skin treatments, if you didnt mind strangers touching you. Jules skin reeked like chlorine all day.

The Playa Grande Resort in Baja had white curtains, white tile, white carpets, and explosions of lush white flowers. The staff members were nurselike in their white cotton garments. Jule had been alone at the hotel for nearly four weeks now. She was eighteen years old.

This morning, she was running in the Playa Grande gym. She wore custom sea-green shoes with navy laces. She operated without music. She had been doing intervals for nearly an hour when a woman stepped onto the treadmill next to her.

This woman was younger than thirty. Her black hair was in a tight ponytail, slicked with hair spray. She had big arms and a solid torso, light brown skin, and a dusting of powdery blush on her cheek. Her shoes were down at the heels and spattered with old mud.

No one else was in the gym.

Jule slackened to a walking, figuring to leave in a minute. She liked privacy, and she was pretty much done, anyway.

You training? the woman asked. She gestured at Jules digital readout. Like, for a marathon or something? The accent was Mexican American. She was probably a New Yorker raised in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood.

I operated track in secondary school. Thats all. Jules own speech was clipped, what the British bellow BBC English.

The woman gave her a piercing appear. I like your accent, she said. Where you from?

London. St. Johns Wood.

New York. The female pointed to herself.

Jule stepped off the treadmill to stretch her quads.

Im here alone, the woman confided after a few moments. Got in last night. I booked this hotel at the last minute. You been here long?

Its never long enough, said Jule, at a place like this. So what do you recommend? At the Playa Grande? Jule didnt often talk to other hotel guests, but she saw no damage in answering. Run on the snorkel tour, she said. I ensure a bloody huge moray eel.

No kidding. An eel?

The guide tempted it with fish intestines he had in a plastic milk jug. The eel swim out from the boulders. She must have been eight feet long. Bright green.

The woman shivered. I dont like eels.

You could skip it. If you scare easy.

The woman chuckled. Hows the food? I didnt eat yet.

Get the chocolate cake.

For breakfast?

Oh, yeah. Theyll bringing it to you special, if you ask.

Good to know. You traveling alone?

Listen, Im gonna jet, said Jule, feeling the conversation had turned personal. Cheerio. She headed for the door.

My dads crazy sick, the woman said, talking to Jules back. Ive been looking after him for a long time. A stab of sympathy. Jule stopped and turned.

Every morning and every night after work, Im with him, the woman went on. Now hes ultimately stable, and I wanted to get away so badly I didnt should be considered the price tag. Im blowing a lot of money here I shouldnt blow.

Whats your father got?

MS, said the woman. Multiple sclerosis? And dementia. He used to be the head of our family. Very macho. Strong in all his opinions. Now hes a distorted body in a bed. He doesnt even know where he is half the time. Hes, like, asking me if Im the waitress.

Damn.

Im frightened Im gonna lose him and I hate being with him, both at the same day. And when hes dead and Im an orphan, I know Im going to be sorry I took this trip-up away from him, dyou know? The girl stopped running and put her feet on either side of the treadmill. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. Sorry. Too much information.

Sokay.

You go on. Run shower or whatever. Perhaps Ill see you around later.

The woman pushed up the arms of her long-sleeved shirt and turned to the digital readout of her treadmill. A scar meander down her right forearm, jagged, like from a knife , not clean like from an operation. There was a tale there.

Listen, do you like to play trivia? Jule asked, against her better judgment.

A smile. White but crooked teeth. Im excellent at trivia, actually.

They run it every other night in the sofa downstairs, said Jule. Its pretty much rubbish. You wanna go?

What kind of rubbish?

Good rubbish. Silly and loud.

Okay. Yeah, all right.

Good, said Jule. Well kill it. Youll be glad you took a vacation. Im strong on superheroes, snoop movies, YouTubers, fitness, money, makeup, and Victorian novelists. What about you?

Victorian writers? Like Dickens?

Yeah, whatever. Jule felt her face flush. It abruptly seemed an odd define of things to be interested in.

I love Dickens.

Get out.

I do. The woman smiled again. Im good on Dickens, cooking, current events, politics … lets see, oh, and cats.

All right, then, said Jule. It starts at eight oclock in that sofa off the main hall. The bar with sofas.

Eight oclock. Youre on. The female strolled over and extended her hand. Whats your name again? Im Noa.

Jule shook it. I didnt say to you my name, she said. But its Imogen.

Jule West Williams was nice-enough-looking. She hardly ever got labeled ugly, nor was she usually labeled hot. She was short, merely five foot one, and carried herself with an up-tilted chin. Her hair was in a gamine cut, streaked blond in a salon and currently depicting dark roots. Green eyes, white skin, light freckles. In most of her clothes, you couldnt consider the strength of her frame. Jule had muscles that puffed off her bones in powerful arcslike shed been described by a comic book artist, especially in the legs. There was a hard panel of abdominal muscle under a layer of fat in her midsection. She liked to eat meat and salt and chocolate and grease.

Jule is of the opinion that the more you sweat in practice, the less you hemorrhage in battle.

She believed that the best route to avoid having your heart violate was to pretend you dont have one.

She believed that the way you speak is often most important than anything you have to say.

She also believed in action movies, weight educate, the power of makeup, memorization, equal rights, and the idea that YouTube videos can teach you a million things you wont learn in college.

If she trusted you, Jule would tell you she went to Stanford for a year on a track-and-field scholarship. I get recruited, she explained to people she liked. Stanford is Division One. The school gave me fund for tuition, volumes, all that.

What happened?

Jule might shrug. I wanted to study Victorian literature and sociology, but the head coach was a perv, shed say. Touching all the girls. When he got around to me, I kicked him where it countings and told everybody who would listen. Profs, students, the Stanford Daily. I screamed it to the top of the stupid ivory tower, but you know what happens to athletes who tell tales on their coaches.

Excerpt copyright 2017 by E. Lockhart. Published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Childrens Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

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