Author: Susanne Winnacker
Narrator: Emily Rankin
Listening Length: 8 hours, 4 minutes
Book Publisher: Razorbill, 274 pages
Audiobook Publisher: Listening Library
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
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.
I liked this book. It was an interesting, fast-paced read. There's an X-men feel to it since Tessa is only one of many variants working for the FEA and they all have some sort of power. There's Alec, who is really strong, Holly, who can become invisible, and Kate, who can read minds (but only females for some strange reason). Tessa's been training and living there for the last two years. Apparently her mother abandoned her. She and Alec are close friends and have bonded over the last two years. His family also abandoned him. And Tessa is majorly crushing on Alec, but Alec has been dating Kate for the last couple of months, after they got back from their first mission. Which is really suspicious for some reason. Why are they dating? Alec acts like he cares about Tessa, and Kate is a complete bitch, but for some reason they are together.
Tessa ends up going undercover, pretending to be Madison, a girl who is murdered by a serial killer on the loose in this small town (they don't even tell her family that she dies). Madison is a senior in high school with a twin brother, Devon, and a loving mother and father. Everything that Tessa has never had. Alec is also there for this mission.
The mystery portion of this book was interesting. A lot of suspects. Apparently Madison was keeping a lot of secrets. Old boyfriend, stalker-type want to be boyfriend, secret lover, you name it. The special abilities part of the book was decent, but Tessa was woefully underprepared for this mission. She really didn't get enough training and she's thrown into this situation with just basic self-defense skills (I'm not sure what she's been doing the last two years) and she hasn't practiced much at changing shapes in stressful situations. Needless to say, that causes a lot of problems.
Then there's the romance part of the book. What is up with Alec? He really doesn't seem to know what he wants. Again, why is he with Kate if he has these feelings for Tessa? It's not made clear at all.
As far as the audiobook portion, the narrator did a good job, keeping the voices fairly distinctive between the different characters.
Even though this is the first book of a new series, it doesn't end in a cliffhanger. The mission is completed, we find out who the killer is, and we know that this group at the FEA will have more missions in the future. There is one story that doesn't resolve, but it's more like a tv show where the individual episode resolves the main story, but the regular characters on the show have back stories and personal dramas going on that keep going from episode to episode.
I recommend this book. It's a fast, fun read.
Posted by: Pam