Impostor

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Title: Impostor
Author: Susanne Winnacker
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Pages: 274
Genre: Sci-fi
Source: Library
Rating: 4/5

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.

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As a general rule, I don’t like science fiction. I’ve tried to read a little more from this genre over the past year and had some pleasant surprises, but I tend not to be a sci-fi fan. I like books that are more character-focused than action-focused, and books that pack an emotional punch, and science fiction books don’t usually do that for me.

That said, Susanne Winnacker’s Impostor has everything I usually find lacking in YA sci-fi. I found Tessa, the protagonist, to be quite compelling because of the way she dealt with various moral dilemmas, and definitely experienced a range of emotions while reading.

One of the things I thought was most interesting was how even though Tessa was upset by the idea of having to play a dead girl, no one else she worked with seemed to be, even Alex. I’m glad that Winnacker didn’t gloss over this issue, because I felt it added another dimension to Tessa’s character. Another problem I tend to have with science fiction is that I feel emotionally separated from it, but with Impostor, I didn’t have this problem at all. I felt Winnacker did a great job making Tessa’s situation seem real and believable, which I don’t think would have happened had she not focused so much on Tessa’s feelings about posing as the dead Madison.

I also liked the romantic aspect of the story. I love books about romances between close friends, so I was definitely rooting for Tessa and Alex the whole time. There were definitely some things he did that irritated me, mostly concerning being too overprotective to Tessa and being stupid and dating Kate, but in general, I liked him. He wasn’t super swoonworthy, but I felt like the romance needed to be there to add another layer to the story.

If you’re like me and don’t usually like sci-fi but want to branch out, definitely try Susanne Winnacker’s Impostor. It’s light on the sci-fi and heavy on everything else, and is a quick, entertaining read.

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