The Fraud Squad by Kyla Zhao

Book Review #681

Title: The Fraud Squad

Author: Kyla Zhao

Publisher: Berkley

Genres: Fiction, Romance

Format: Paperback

Source: Times Reads

Publication Date: January 17, 2023

Pages: 368

My Rating: 4 STARS


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.


The Fraud Squad by Kyla Zhao reminds me so much of the famous tv show Gossip Girl but its set in Singapore where an ordinary woman climbs up the social ladder and pretends to be a high society elitist. It gets even more exciting that the author was inspired by a true event of a young Chinese lady who pretended to be rich for research. I have been so eager to pick up this book as soon as the author announced the book deal but it turned out to be just an average read.

I was expecting more drama and all that jazz but surprisingly, it was pretty mediocre. The premise is interesting but the execution definitely leaves me room to wonder. The plot didn’t really seem sparsely paced that at times it was so slow and then suddenly everything just started happening all at once.

Everything started to unravel in the last 50 pages of the book and it was kind of predictable as secrets are spilled but the one thing that caught me by surprise was the person who ended up as the writer of Argus. Well, it really seems like a remake of Gossip Girl. Sorry my lips are sealed.

Can’t say I’m a huge fan of the romance between Samantha and Timothy. And I’m so glad they ended the way it did, it was way more realistic. Overall, this was just an average read and I would still recommend you to read it.


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