Book Review: Impostor
Published By: Razorbill
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Page Count: 274
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy/Paranormal
Impostor centers on Tessa, a Variant with the ability to become someone else entirely if she touches them. Her organisation, the FEA, is a covert branch of intelligence, which uses Variants to help protect the public’s interests, and they have been called in to help catch a serial killer. Tessa finds herself having to pose as Madison, the only “survivor“ of an attack, and insert herself into her life to try and draw out the serial killer. All this is a lot for a teen, and especially as Tessa struggles with the guilty knowledge that Madison didn’t survive at all. Tessa gets more and more drawn into Madison’s life, as her family show her the love that she never felt from her own mother. The suspects in the serial killer case are plentiful, and it takes Tessa a while to piece together the events leading up to Madison’s attack; she may look like Madison but she doesn’t have her memories, and posing as her is fraught with dangers.
I thought this was a great read. It had mystery, romance, and a plot that really built to a great finale. I was also really interested in the FEA, and all the Variants within. It is perhaps inevitable that I drew comparisons with X-Men, but this felt pretty different with the Government spin. I really liked the focus on the mental impact on Tessa of assuming a dead girl’s life; especially when the dead girl seemed to have everything that Tessa did not. It made it very plausible that Tessa would want to lose herself in Madison.
There was a healthy slice of sizzle in Impostor too, in the form of Alec – Tessa’s long term crush. He is a complicated soul, as he is Tessa’s best friend, and almost like her older brother, but at the same time, it looks like he feels strongly for her. The complication is compounded by Kate, his Variant girlfriend who, with one look in Tessa’s eyes, would know all her inner most thoughts. What a nightmare! I loved how the will-they-won’t-they aspect of the plot was strengthened and complicated by Tessa’s feelings for Madison’s brother. It was all very compelling.
I am holding off giving this a higher rating though as I felt like Impostor took a while to get going. In the beginning I felt like Tessa was making silly decisions that were bound to land her in trouble, and I did wonder if I was going to really dislike her... happily her character matured a lot through the book, as she faced difficulties and intense emotional situations, and I came to really like her. I feel very positive about this set of characters, and I think the concept lends itself to a potentially awesome series. There is a lot more to find out about the main and ancillary characters, and I will absolutely be looking out for the next book to come along. I hope I don’t have to wait too long!
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.