The Imposter

Overview

At 14 years old, Ryan Waite is not a bad actor — in fact he’s quite a good one. Good enough to have had several years’ experience on various stages of Toronto, where he lives with his mother. When Ryan messes up an audition for a part in Les Miz, he makes contact with a bulky character named Burton who launches the boy into the most challenging role of his lifetime. Burton turns out to be a private investigator who’s out to make some big money through arranging for Ryan to impersonate a boy who is the long-lost ...

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The Imposter

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Overview

At 14 years old, Ryan Waite is not a bad actor — in fact he’s quite a good one. Good enough to have had several years’ experience on various stages of Toronto, where he lives with his mother. When Ryan messes up an audition for a part in Les Miz, he makes contact with a bulky character named Burton who launches the boy into the most challenging role of his lifetime. Burton turns out to be a private investigator who’s out to make some big money through arranging for Ryan to impersonate a boy who is the long-lost son of a millionaire desperate to re-establish the relationship with his son before he dies. Suddenly Ryan finds himself performing a part considerably beyond his depth, having to improvise emotions and understandings and make up complicated lies just in order to stay ahead of the game.

Ryan knows discovery is inevitable and when the moment arrives, he has to dig deep to find the most graceful and honourable way of making his exit.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Lisa Hazlett
Ryan, fourteen in 1990, is a promising actor, but blowing an easy audition leaves him vulnerable. Enter Burton, a mysterious private investigator, offering a huge sum for a two-week role: impersonating a dying millionaire's son, Allen Kurz, long missing through divorce. Burton states Allen is deceased and that the posing is for Mr. Kurz's solace, not an inheritance scam, so Ryan accepts, knowing virtually nothing about him. Ryan is shocked meeting the hearty Mr. Kurz; his already suspicious wife; and his daughter, Kelley, but worse is Burton's immediate exit. Ryan forges ahead, genuinely befriending Kelley, and matures by applying his missing father's actions to Mr. Kurz's. He also learns Allen is alive, unaware of his father's location. Believing Mrs. Kurz knows his identity, Ryan attempts to fly home, leaving an apology note and unleashing a soap opera of disastrous events—including Burton's invalid airline ticket, his apology's disappearance, Mr. Kurz's hospitalization, and the announcement of Ryan/Allen's inclusion in the will, the real Allen's phone message, and Kelley dramatically delivering Ryan to the bus station via horseback, evading police. An author interview states this was drafted in the early 1990's, with that era retained here to reflect then-limited technological searches for believability. Unfortunately, era and technology are barely portrayed, with Burton's faulty investigation and Mr. Kurz's immediate acceptance of Ryan questionable at any time. Ryan's three-day stay is too short for deeper interactions or hard decisions, and implausibility occurs. Overall, however, the plot is intriguing and fast-paced. Ryan is likeable, his narration is insightful and witty, and younger readers should find this appealing. Reviewer: Lisa Hazlett
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—In Toronto during the 1990s, 14-year-old Ryan Waite and his alcoholic mom scrape by on the dole while awaiting his big break as an actor. He bombs an audition and is afraid to tell his mother when a shifty deal with a private investigator provides a way out. Ryan is hired to pretend to be the son of a wealthy man who is desperate to reconnect before he dies. With no Internet or Facebook to prove otherwise, Ryan passes himself off as Allen, the long-lost son. He doesn't expect to actually care about this new family in Halifax. The protagonist is a likable character, although he is rather naive. A day of reckoning will surely come, and when it does Ryan must confront his feelings and actions. The theme of maturing and developing empathy is evident in this somewhat pedestrian coming-of-age story.—Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780889954786
  • Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
  • Publication date: 6/30/2012
  • Pages: 248
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Blackwood, born on October 23, 1945 in Meadville, Pennsylvania, is an American author of popular books for young readers including The Shakespeare Stealer, Shakespeare's Scribe, and Shakespeare's Spy.

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