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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Impostors is the first book in a spin-off to the future-set Uglies Quartet. You don't have to read the Uglies series first to enjoy this book, but it helps to understand some of the backstory and the cool tech. As readers explore two futuristic cities in Impostors, they're shown the stark difference between leaders who lead their people and leaders who control people. When these cities and rebels begin to fight it out, there are lots of causalities: hovercars shot down, missiles, mines that move, and more. There's not a lot of gore, except for a scene where a special knife vaporizes the top half of someone's body. There's also not a lot of other mature content: some kissing, and 16-year-olds drink champagne at a party.
What's the story?
In IMPOSTORS, no one in the town knows that Rafi, the first daughter of Shreve, has a twin sister. Frey is hidden away by their father, trained to fight since the age of 7, and doubles for Rafi in crowds and public appearances whenever there's danger. And there's always danger. When the girls are 15, Frey saves Rafi from an assassin. No one likes their father, a greedy man who takes strict control of his town. The leader of Victoria especially despises him, but enlists his help to stop rebels from stealing metal from their rusty ruins. To ensure the Shreve army doesn't take more than what's agreed upon, they demand the first daughter of Shreve as a hostage until the army departs. So, of course, Frey jumps into the role in Rafi's place, as she was born to do. She makes her first trip outside of Shreve to a city so unlike her own.
Is it any good?
This page-turner set in the world of the Uglies Quartet is high on action and low on character development. Impostors starts out with the flashback of an assassination attempt, sets up the idea of the "spare" warrior twin, and offers her up as a hostage before we even hit page 30. That's ideal for impatient readers who want the action to start immediately, and action with cool flying cars and high-tech chameleon suits -- there's plenty of that.
But readers who want to know more about characters' motives and personalities will feel like much is left out. Frey ponders only briefly her whole difficult childhood of being hidden and loved only by her sister. There's a lot more to explore there, and with the secondary characters as well. How did Yandre become a secret rebel? Where did Dr. Leyva and Boss X come from? And Zura is on the page long enough in various attacks that she deserves a little bit of a backstory. Why is she a Special when that's out of fashion now? Here's hoping the next book in the series slows down the action just enough to make these characters more memorable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the two different governments in Impostors. What makes a government dystopian? Why are dystopian novels so popular? What do they tell us about our own society?
What do these futuristic people think went wrong with the "Rusties" -- us? What are they trying to do right?
How does this book compare to the books in the Uglies Quartet? Will you read the next book in this series?
- Author: Scott Westerfeld
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- Publication date: September 11, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 416
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.