The Fraud Squad by Kyla Zhao
Publication January 17, 2023
Taken from Goodreads: A working-class woman who infiltrates Singapore’s high society to fulfill her dreams risks losing everything in the process—including herself—in this propulsive novel by debut author Kyla Zhao.
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.
My Thoughts: This book is so fun. Samantha just wants to get her dream job. Timothy and Anya have the means to help her do that. Thus, they form the Fraud Squad. I love seeing Samantha step up, spread her wings, and do what needs to be done to get ahead in life. Timothy and Anya were great friends, getting her into the right place, helping her find the right clothes, and teaching her the socialite ways.
While this book was a fun read, it also had lessons to learn. The Fraud Squad is a story of figuring out what is important in life, what your goals are, how to be true to yourself, and what a good friend is. I understood how Samantha was able to get pulled into the socialite life and how much fun it would be to live that lifestyle. I liked that Timothy and Anya helped her, but her best friend and the person she did not know was a real friend are my favorites. They understood the reason for the Fraud Squad but they helped Samantha figure out what was truly important to her.
This is a fun, quick, and easy read. I enjoyed the Singapore setting, but it really could have been set anywhere. The characters were fun and there were some surprises in their relationships and lives.
Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Meet Kyla Zhao (Taken from her website): Born and raised in Singapore, Kyla Zhao graduated in 2021 from Stanford University with an MA in Communications (Media Studies) and BA in Psychology. Right now, she works in marketing at a tech company in Silicon Valley, California.
Besides novel-writing, Kyla has an extensive magazine editorial portfolio. Previously, she was a fashion and lifestyle writer at Vogue Singapore. She has also written for the Singapore editions of Harper’s Bazaar and Tatler, covered the Asian Television Awards, and interviewed personalities such as singer Nathan Sykes.
Above all else, Kyla hopes to champion Asian representation in her works and write the characters of color that she rarely got to read about when she was young.
Kyla is represented by Alex Rice at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for her books, and by Berni Barta at CAA for film rights.