Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading … Impostor by Susanne Winnacker

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Just Finished Reading … Impostor by Susanne Winnacker

Review of Impostor (Variants #1)
by Susanne Winnacker
To be published on May 28, 2013
by Razorbill

Source: bought

Connect with the author: website.




Summary (from Goodreads): Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again. Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself

My take: Though I'd seen Impostor compared to X-Men, after reading it, I'd call this book a paranormal mystery rather than sci-fi. Fine by me -- I've loved mysteries ever since I could get through a Nancy Drew book by myself. As a result, I'm pretty picky about them, and often find YA mysteries to be disappointingly simplistic -- more Encyclopedia Brown than Hercule Poirot.

While Impostor was not without flaws, I did end up enjoying it. I'll get my quibbles out of the way first. First, a main character named Tessa who can shape-shift? Hmmm … that gave me a big jolt of déjà vu. I'm not sure if these similarities to Tessa from Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series were deliberate or accidental, but it threw me off a little. Second, Impostors definitely took a hundred pages or so to really get going. Tessa is part of the FEA, a secret branch of the FBI made up of "variants," or teens with special paranormal abilities. I felt the book took too long setting up Tessa's relationship with fellow variants Holly and Kate, and handlers Major and Summers, all of whom have little to no bearing on the rest of the story. (There's also another variant, Alec, who had a more major role, but I'll get to him later.) Finally, I thought the mystery itself -- the motive and list of suspects -- was pleasingly creepy but a little too simplistic for my taste.

What did I like?  I found the idea of Tessa being able to shape shift into another girl and solve her murder definitely intriguing. It reminded me a little of one of my favorite adult mysteries, The Likeness by Tana French. As Tessa assumes the appearance of Madison, the murdered girl, she gets to know Madison's friends and enemies, her ex-boyfriend, and the guy she was cheating with. When Tessa-as-Madison then finds herself very attracted to Madison's twin brother, Devon, I was -- okay, call me twisted -- first dubious, then very entertained. There was also an unexpected surprise at the end -- a character who isn't exactly who s/he seems to be. For those of you who are allergic to love triangles, I'll warn you that Tessa finds herself drawn to two guys, a set-up that seems likely to carry on into future books.

I recommend Impostor to fans of YA mystery, and to readers who are mourning the end of Kimberly Derting's Body Finder books, as Impostors had a similar creepy paranormal mystery vibe.

Interested? I'll be giving away Impostor on Freebie Friday in the near future, so stay tuned...

23 comments:

  1. Ohh! Great review! I actually might pick this one up and the cover looks so cool :)

    Happy Reading!

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  2. Interesting-I suck at mysteries so I would probably still be stumped by this one but I'm also a bit leery of love triangles so that angle isn't pleasing to me. I'm also not thrilled to hear that the book takes about 100 pages to get going-makes me think of The Rules for Disappearing.

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    1. It wasn't that I guessed the killer -- I didn't -- but the FEA tells Tessa right off that she's looking for a guy suspect and there are only a few possibilities. But still, I enjoyed trying to figure it all out.

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  3. I have had this on my TBR list but I've not seen a lot about it. So happy to read your review and to see it be mostly positive. The Tessa thing would/will through me off too.

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  4. Sweet! I have this one already. So need to read it.

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  5. "allergic to love triangles" lol I love how you put that. I'm waiting for a review copy to arrive of this one. The shape shifting elements sounds really interesting as an addition to the mystery. :)

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  6. I'm definitely excited for this one. I love a good YA mystery and AM sad that the Body Finder series is ending. Great review!
    -Natalie @Natflix&Books

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  7. Ugh why can't a book not have a love triangle! I like a good mystery book and the book was really sounding good till you mentioned the possible love triangle.

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  8. you are so right! the whole idea of Tess shapeshifting into the murdered girl makes me want to read it immediately! my sister will be reading and reviewing this book but I am definitely going to pick it up too!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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  9. I feel like I've seen this cover but for a different novel. Looks familiar.

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  10. Glad you enjoyed overall but great point on the Tessa/shapeshifter.

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  11. Oh dear--I broke my own rule in skimming your review (I'm reading it soon, usually don't like to be influenced!), but I just couldn't resist. It's good to be forewarned about shapeshifting Tessa, I didn't even catch on to that! Infernal Devices is quite possibly my favorite YA series ever, so... hmm. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it overall, though. Thanks for writing a review that expressed your feelings clearly, but also didn't give too much away, hah. Good for people like me. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  12. Nice review! This one has such a cool synopsis.

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  13. Haha I wasn't sure about this one because creepy and I don't go well together >_< but I may give it a chance down the road.

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  14. Okay, I haven't read Body Finders yet, but this one sound right up my ally. You know how much I love a love interest that is forbidden to the cover.

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  15. I've been hesitant about this one. I don't know why, because it really does sound interesting. I don't mind a well done love triangle either. So maybe I should read it when I get a chance.

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  16. I really want to read this one, especially since you said about tessa as madison fancying madison's brother! That is messed up!

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  17. Oh, for fans of Derting, you say? Hmmm...I wasn't even that interested in this book before, but you have my attention now. But will I like it, Jen? I'm rather doubtful with that case of déjà vu I'll inevitably be suffering from, too, but I trust your judgment.

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  18. Haha, I'm reading this now, and my first thought was HOW DARE YOU have a Tessa who shifts shapes. :-) But I'm really enjoying it so far. Glad to hear your comparisons to The Body Finder series, because I love those books! Wonderful review :-)

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  19. Yeah, the Tessa thing is weird. As is the fact that there is another book (and series, I think?) titled Variant. But I'm glad you liked this one and it (sorta) lived up to your criteria for a good mystery. Great review:)

    And doesn't the cover model remind you of a blonde Liv Tyler?

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  20. Jen, great review! I'm also looking forward to reading this :D

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