Series: Variants #1
Author: Susanne Winnacker
Published by: Hodder Children's Books on January 2nd 2014
Genre: YA Scifi Mystery Thriller
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
My Review: I liked this book from the beginning; it puts you straight into the story, into this world of variants within the FBI. I purchased this book because I heard it was like a cross between X-Men and Veronica Mars – two franchises I love, so I of course had to have it.
A variant is a person who has a super or extra human ability (think X-Men) and our main character Tessa has the ability to morph into anyone she has touched. Tessa works for the FEA, which is a secret department of the FBI and she is sent out on her first mission – to play the role of a recently murdered young woman in order to catch a serial killer.
I did like Tessa, for the most part, I just found her to be a bit immature and weak at times. She has been training to be a field agent for about two years but when she finally gets a mission she kinda just fumbles her way through it. She spends most of her time mooning over her crush, Alec, who in return spends most of his time being overprotective of her. Theirs is supposed to be a professional relationship but its so not. I did let Tessa of the hook for most of her flaws because she is only sixteen and hopefully in the next books we will see her grow, not only as a person but as an agent.
What I did like about Tessa though, was her humanity, while everyone else doesn’t seem to care about the death of a teenage girl (aside from catching her killer), Tessa does. She also, does show some growth, mostly in coming to terms with her childhood.
Tessa’s crush, Alec is a character I wanted to like but mostly because Tessa liked him so much, but he is a douche. He has no respect for Tessa – as a girl or as an agent. I can’t really go into why I don’t like him because spoilers. Again, I hope the next books show more depth to his character. There was only one character that I really liked and that was the dead girl, Madison’s twin brother, Devon.
Aside from the flawed characters, I really enjoyed the story and the writing. The mystery of the serial killer kept me guessing to the end and I did not have a single clue as to whom the killer was until it was revealed. I read it in one sitting which shows just much I enjoyed it – it was a fun, easy read and if you can see past only slightly annoying characters, I totally recommend it.
I will read the next book in the series Defector when it comes out late June, not just because this was an entertaining read but also to see how the characters grow.