The Fraud Squad is a story about (re)invention, second chances, and success. It’s perfect for fans of high society, My Fair Lady, and a good con. Captivated doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt while reading. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
First of all, I love all the fashion within The Fraud Squad. I’ve been following Kyla Zhao on Tiktok ever since this book entered my TBR. And I love her fashion critiques and analysis. This feels very much like a story only Zhao could have written with its portrayal both of fashion, but also the fashion scene. The Fraud Squad is a story about (re)invention. About a chance to go after our dreams – whatever the cost. But as Samantha comes to learn, the road to our dreams is often paved with compromises.
As you continue to read The Fraud Squad, we are able to observe the stark differences in privilege, status, and wealth. How our situation, connections, and background create opportunities. It makes us question what makes a person. Furthermore, how certain ambitions and dreams are only accessible for some. It was a delight to watch the friendships of the Fraud Squad forming. The concepts of ‘faking till you make it’ on a larger scale. To see them navigate these lines of pretend and real.
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How we lose ourselves on the way to fame. Samantha thinks she only has to fake the connections, the references. But she realizes that to fake it till you make it means you have to pretend. To adopt a persona which requires compromises and has consequences. The people and baggage we shed on the way to the top. The Fraud Squad becomes about whether Samantha can stay true to the person she is, or if she will become someone else. And whether it will all be worth it. Find The Fraud Squad on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org, & The Book Depository.