A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Impostor is more about thrills and suspense than educational value, but the plot offers excellent examples of misdirection that may elicit some discussion of how that tool is used in narrative.
Themes include friendship, family bonds, and learning from your mistakes -- and also the idea that letting your imagination run riot isn't always a good idea.
Positive Role Models
While all the characters are human and flawed, Vee shows concern for her family and friends, including those who've done her wrong in the past. Rollins, who doesn't have the easiest home life with an angry uncle and a disabled mother, has always been Vee's faithful friend in times of trouble, and their emerging romance doesn't change that.
Violence & Scariness
One murder, one car crash, and much suspicion on Vee's part that someone is trying to kill her and her family.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Vee spends the night with Rollins, but the only activity that's described is embracing and kissing. Sex predator jocks prey on unwary, intoxicated girls and talk loudly about it at school, often making up things that never happened.
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Typical high school slang and profanity, e.g. "a--hole," "douchebag," "screw you."
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Products & Purchases
Many products, bands, etc. are mentioned as part of the landscape and as a means for character definition. Rollins wears vintage band T-shirts, e.g. Sonic Youth and Led Zeppelin; Vee is fond of Mountain Dew and other caffeinated beverages; an ill-fated makeover involves Forever 21.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The "popular" crowd spends a lot of time drinking and taking advantage of girls who are too intoxicated to protest.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Impostor, the sequel to 2012's Slide, continues the story of Sylvia "Vee" Bell, an Iowa City teen who's able to "slide" into other people's bodies and see things from their point of view and who's also dealing with family and high-school issues. Not as violent as Slide, Impostor has only one murder but lots of paranoia as Vee tries to make sense of strange events. There's a fair amount of typical teen swearing ("a--hole," "douchebag," "screw you"), and the sexually predatory jock from Slide is still taking advantage of intoxicated cheerleaders. Vee spends the night with her love interest, but there's no description of their activities beyond passionate kissing.
Is It Any Good?
Impostor is fast-paced and insightful, with a narrative voice that's snarky, funny, and utterly vulnerable. It spends less time than Slide on the nasty, vicious culture that infests Vee's high school (and ultimately results in a notable body count and assorted tawdry revelations by story's end).
Much of the narrative is Vee's internal monologue as she tries to make sense of inexplicable events from a state of near-Hitchcockian tension and paranoia, not to mention an emotional roller-coaster of romantic and family issues. As such, it may be a bit claustrophobically fraught for some readers. But Vee is worth knowing and is an appealing narrator as she takes us on her journey.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.