Title: The Fraud Squad
Author: Kyla Zhao
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: January 17th, 2023
Publisher: Berkley Books
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.
“For as long as she can remember, Samantha Song has dreamed of writing for a high-society magazine—and she’d do anything to get there. But the constant struggle to help her mom make ends meet and her low social status cause her dream to feel like a distant fantasy.
Now Samantha finds herself working at a drab PR firm. Living vicariously through her wealthy coworker and friend, Anya Chen, is the closest she’ll get to her ideal life. Until she meets Timothy Kingston: the disillusioned son of one of Singapore’s elite families—and Samantha’s one chance at infiltrating the high-society world to which she desperately wants to belong.
To Samantha’s surprise, Timothy and Anya both agree to help her make a name for herself on Singapore’s socialite scene. But the borrowed designer clothes and plus-ones to every glamorous event can only get her so far. The rest is on Samantha, and she’s determined to impress the editor in chief of Singapore’s poshest magazine. But the deeper Samantha wades into this fraud, the more she fears being exposed—especially with a mysterious gossip columnist on the prowl for dirt—forcing her to reconcile her pretense with who she really is before she loses it all.” (Goodreads)
This was a fun read and even though I have read books with a similar plot, I thought this one really shined on its own.
The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Samantha Song. She has watched the high-society world from the outside for a long time, mostly through a magazine she wishes she could work for. Through her job at a PR agency, she meets Anya and through her Timothy. Both have connections to that world and they make a plan to turn her into a socialite.
Samantha is an interesting character. Sometimes I disliked her and other times I felt for her situation. I understand why and how she could act the way she did because fame and popularity can definitely cause a big head. I just felt so bad for those she mistreated, especially her friend who was also on the lower side of society. Samantha did have good qualities though. She cares for her mother and wants to see everyone be able to mingle. I also like that she is opinionated.
The other characters were decent but I feel like they didn’t get the same attention and felt a bit one-dimensional at times. This is also why the romance was on the meh side.
Where this book shines is the plot! I couldn’t put it down when it came to her becoming a socialite. It was cool to see her shine in a place outside of her own. She did it with such grace. I wish I had her confidence.
Overall, this was a good read. I am looking forward to what she writes next.