3.87 (3,582 ratings by Goodreads)
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CAN TESSA POSE AS MADISON . . . AND STOP A KILLER BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE? 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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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 274 pages
  • 137 x 216 x 28mm | 408g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1595146547
  • 9781595146540
  • 714,091

Review quote

"An unpredictable page turner with shades of terror reminiscent of a Stephen King novel."—VOYA

"Fresh and inventive. . . . the strongly-written mystery component takes center stage."—BCCB
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About Susanne Winnacker

Susanne Winnacker studied law before becoming a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, a dog, and a rabbits in Ruhrgebiet, Germany. She loves coffee (in every shape and form), traveling, and animals. When she isn't writing, you can usually find her in the kitchen, experimenting with new vegan dishes. Check out her website at and follow her on Twitter @SusanneWrites
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Rating details

3,582 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 32% (1,147)
4 35% (1,265)
3 23% (837)
2 7% (241)
1 3% (92)

Our customer reviews

I knew I will like Impostor, but I didn't expect to love it. At first glance this book doesn't bring anything new and I expected something along the X-Men lines (this being the main reason I needed to read it). Variants are people with extraordinary abilities, working for FEA, a secret branch of the FBI. When normal officers can't do the job, FEA is required, which is the case when a serial killer appears in Oregon. What was different about Impostor is that it was not a love story with a couple of supernatural things in it. The main story is constructed around the mission Tessa has and yes, there is also a love interest after she occasionally sobs, but most of the time she is busy with discovering herself and Madison, the dead girl she must replace. Tessa is considered to be the ultimate weapon, but she doesn't feel like that. She can absorb someone else's DNA and then change in that person. I do think she is a valuable Variant, but I can't go that far saying that she is the ultimate weapon, not from the first book anyway. She is strong and smart and she makes a great detective for someone her age. Aside from her abilities, she is pretty much a normal teenager, confused about her identity, while getting closer to the family of Madison. She is numerous times conflicted about her mission, but has her moment in which she embraces the fact that she may be Madison. Alec is mysterious, posing as unavailable, almost cold at times. He is that kind of character that tries to keep his calm being all serious, but has those moments when he slightly shows on the outside what he feels. He is certainly in love with Tessa, but tries not to do so (failing). I kind of hate him for how he toys with Tessa. Kissing a girl while being with another? Not cool. The love story Here is what I liked about this part: they have a history. There was not a matter of love at first sight, because Tessa and Alec had a normal relationship, evolving like it should from being friends to being more. Here is the weird thing: at this point I don't want them together and that is maybe because of Alec. And I like their moments when they are just friends, Holly is the crazy best friend and the one tom come with most of the "great" ideas that are more probable to go wrong. Because the mission took place far away from the FEA quarters, we get to see very little of Holly, but she is the one I hope we will get to see more in the second book. And now about my favorite character. Don't ask me why, but I like Kate. I may have a soft spot for bitchy characters. She is mean and possessive when it comes to Alec, but I feel like there is more behind her behavior. She is definitely strong and brave even though her ability is not that useful. The Villain Oh that was fun. I tried to guess the killer the entire book. FEA had a list of suspects and every one of them seemed to be it. Nope, I am not good as a detective, but hey Tessa find out right before she was hit by the killer so I don't feel that bad. Great mystery story, very well constructed with secrets here and there. It reminded me of a tv show with cops. I simply loved more
by Monica Vlad
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Penguin Young Readers Group, Razorbill, and Netgalley.) 16-year-old Tessa is a variant. Just by touching someone she can copy their DNA, and change her body to look exactly like theirs. 18-year-old Madison is the 4th victim of a serial killer, and although she's not dead, she's in a coma and likely to die soon. Tessa works for the FEA - a branch of the FBI, and after 2 years of training, Madison will be Tessa's first assignment. It's up to her to take over Madison's life, and to catch her killer. Can Tessa really fool people into thinking she is Madison though? Can she catch the killer? And can she do it without getting killed in the process? This was an interesting story about a girl who could basically morph herself into someone else! Tessa was an interesting character, but I did think that she was too easily swayed. I know that she was obviously stuck working for this group called the FEA, but she didn't seem to even think about maybe wanting to not work for them, or wanting to get away and have her life back to herself. She didn't really seem worried about impersonating someone who had a killer after them either. While her best friends were quite rightly worried, she just saw it as a mission, and didn't really seem to take into consideration that this was real, and she could actually end up dead. There was some romance in this book, although it took place in the form of a love triangle. Tessa is in love with her best friend Alec, but Alec is going out with Kate, which Tessa isn't happy about. This romance was a little odd though, and I couldn't help but feel that Alec was hiding something from Tessa, and that there was more to his relationship with Kate than Tessa realised. I can only guess that we will find out more about this in the next book. I liked the storyline, although Tessa seemed to fool people really easily into believing she was Madison. I felt really sorry for Madison's friends and family who believed her to be alive and well, when really she was dead, and I also felt sorry for Tessa who found herself part of a loving family - something that she herself hadn't had for years. I didn't guess who the killer was, I thought the signs pointed to someone else. The actually reason for the murders was a bit odd though, and was a bit anti-climactic. I also thought that the ending was a little too beneficial for certain people too, and wasn't really sure about the believability of the FEA's newest discoveries (sorry, trying not to give spoilers!). I did like the mystery of who the killer was though, even if I didn't guess right! I also liked the way that the story was opened up at the end for the next book in the series though. It will be interesting to find out what happens to Tessa and her team next! Overall; an interesting start to the series. 7 out of more
by Sarah Elizabeth
I like the premise, I mean a girl who can make herself look like anyone else, working with other variants, all with unique powers. It is X-men meets a shapeshifter, but like one of my buddies said-- shapeshifter type named Tessa, dejavu anyone? But she is different enough that it def doesn't feel like I am reading Cassie Clare. I was also a little confused about Alec. It was obvious that Tessa liked him, but he has a girlfriend so I don't know what he was thinking. I know they are really close friends and have been for a while, but I think that Kate, his girlfriend and another variant, was rightly jealous when they were together. These things get themselves worked out sort of after lots of heartache. But the cheating is just hard for me to deal with, no matter how much I am cheering for a couple. They had this undeniable chemistry, build up, and the friendship to back things. Speaking of taboo relationships, I didn't like the mystery guy in the plot line. I think it sends a message that kind of relationship is okay, when some things, no matter how romantic forbidden love is, some lines shouldn't be crossed. But on to the characters. I felt for Tessa, and while it was weird, it was also very normal how she got used to, and transitioned right into Madison's life and adopted it as her own. She had a built in family, friends, and people who loved her. She didn't seem to have a lot of that before coming to FEA. It is sad but universal how Tessa wanted to forget certain parts of her past, and embrace the new identity. I think many of us, I know I do, sometimes dream of being able to start over or live someone else's life, and Tessa gets this chance. Seeing her deal with not losing herself was heartbreaking but I got to see her grow so much through it. I liked the theme of friendship, especially the value of female or same sex friendships in this one. Holly is her best friend from FEA, another Variant, and I appreciate how their friendship continued even when they aren't physically near each other. They still supported each other, and I loved that. I also liked to read about what Tessa learns from picking up the friendship between Ana and Madison. The pacing was really good for most of the book but there was a part about 3/4 of the way through that it dragged a bit for me, but as the ending and tying up the loose ends of this plot line started it picked right back up. Speaking of the ending, there is def room for a sequel with pieces of information that came out at the end, but it is thankfully not a huge cliffie. It is just a nice and tied up ending with big sequel potential. Impostor did a great job at the suspense. I didn't know who the killer was and I had different moments where I was suspecting quite a few of the people in the book. It did a great job with that. Bottom Line: Great premise and very more
by Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
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