Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review: Impostor (Variants #1) by Susanne Winnacker

Release Date: January 2, 2014
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Website | Goodreads

Tessa is a Variant with extraordinary abilities. She could be a hero, but all she wants to do is fall in love ...
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 with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. There she trains with other Variants, such as long-term crush Alec, who each have their own extraordinary ability.
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.

There's lots of comparisons to the X-men in the reviews that others have written on this, and it's easy to see why. You have (basically) a school for children with mutations, only it's run by a shadow agency in the government instead of Professor X. These kids are trained to go out on missions to uncover crimes committed by other 'evil', Variants.
So. Yeah, I can see the X-man angle.

Tessa's mutation allows her to absorb anyone's genetic code and turn herself into an exact replica of them.
Hello, my name's Mystique, and I'll be your server this evening. Would you like to order an appetizer first?
Tessa's variation makes her the perfect agent to take on the latest assignment. Someone is killing girls in a small town, and it looks like another Variant might be the culprit. His last victim is in a coma, and the doctors have said there's no way she's going to pull through. The plan is simple. Tessa absorbs her DNA while she is still alive, and when she dies, the agency will replace her with Tessa. Family and friends will believe that their prayers have been answered, and Tessa will be in place as the perfect undercover agent.

Tessa is a believable teen who struggles with the morality of pretending to be a dead girl. She feels horrible that this wonderful family is eventually going to be crushed when they find out that their daughter never really made a miraculous recovery. Yet, she understands that in order to catch the girl's killer, she has to continue with the charade.
It's deep stuff, man...

I'm gonna be honest, I didn't care much for the romance in this. For some reason, it just never interested me.
The short version is that she's in love with another Variant in the agency.
Looking back on it, I think I fell for a few mutants when I was younger, too.
He's not much older than her, but he's a full agent, and they really aren't supposed to be fraternizing.
Oh. And he also has a girlfriend. A really really mean girlfriend.
There's a lot of longing glances from her, and a lot of mixed messages from him. So, not my favorite part of the story.

This is one of those books that (even though it was good) didn't leave a lasting impression on me. I have a feeling that it will do well with the audience it is intended for, but it's not going to be one of those crossovers that grabs the attention of adult readers as well.
Maybe I'm wrong?
I'll definitely recommend it to the kids in the neighborhood, though.


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