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jenryland

jenryland

Impostor - Susanne Winnacker I've been reading 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. Though I saw a pitch that compared Impostor to X-Men, I'd call the book a paranormal mystery rather than sci-fi. While Impostor was not a mystery without flaws, I did end up enjoying it. I'll get my quibbles out of the way 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 simplistic.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.Read more of my reviews and find great giveaways on my blog, YA Romantics