Tessa is a Variant with extraordinary abilities. She could be a hero, but all she wants to do is fall in love ...
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.
Tessa is part of a secret group of teens with supernatural abilities. She can change shape - think Mystique from X-Men - and her first mission is to go undercover as a serial killer's latest victim. She has to be trained up, quickly, before the victim dies so she can take her place. Yeah, it really is that strange!
There was a bit of a slow start, but maybe that's just because I wanted to get to the undercover part, but once in the swing of things, it was fast paced and action packed. Masquerading as a dead girl, Tessa is on her toes not to slip up in front of her family, her friends and most importantly, her killer. I could completely understand Tessa's hesitance to go undercover, not to mention her unwillingness to let that family go afterwards; she knows nothing of family, her mother abandoned her, and the FBI thinks she can handle pretending to be a dead girl? Her emotions are, for obvious reasons, all over the place and I loved how we saw her develop as she grew confident with her power and her determination to hunt a killer. But she is also incredibly vulnerable, especially as Madison, as she lost herself in the love of her family and the normalcy of life outside superpowers.
Now for the boys. Because what's a thriller meets romance without the boys? First up with Alec, another recruit at the FBI with super strength. Alec was nice enough, he obviously cared for Tessa but he had a girlfriend; I don't care how confused you are, if you like someone, don't date someone else! He was also over-protective to the point of annoying. Then there was Madison's boys, Ryan her ex who was typical passive-aggressive jock, and Devon, her twin brother, another over-protective lad with secrets and double standards. The whole 'my sister nearly died' thing was reason enough for him to be acting strange, but with the killer still on the loose, I was second guessing everything he said!
As for the killer, well you'll just have to read it to find out! It wasn't obvious, and I kept changing my mind who I thought it was, but even then it surprised me. That's what made this a great mystery: the second guessing, the secrets and the action kept the story very much alive throughout.
Published 2nd January 2014 by Hodder Children's Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
Aside: this is my 200th post! And right before my two-year blogoversary as well!