Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Review: Variant by Robison Wells

Hardcover, 356 pages

Released: October 4, 2011

Publisher: HarperTeen

Places to find the book:
Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.
My Rating: 5 / 5

My Thoughts:
Not your typical boarding school book, Variant takes the idea of school as a prison to a whole new level.

Benson receives a scholarship to Maxfield Academy and having been through many foster families he's used to new schools. Only given an envelope and a contact name for inside, he is driven to the school and dropped off at the gate. It's odd to see a school surrounded by wire razors and with many cameras. As soon as he arrives, kids are running, hanging signs in windows and he begins to wonder just what he has gotten himself into....and he should. This is not your average school. Benson discovers that there are only three rules to follow, no teachers or adults, there are tests but you never see your score and detention means you may never come back!

 The 'students' have learned that to avoid a fate similar to the kids of Lord of the Files, they must work together. Three groups are formed: Society (the rule followers), Havoc (want to rule) and the Variant (everyone else) and contracts are made so work can be done and rewards earned. The kids are put through stressful situations, many that are strategy based games. Paintball plays a big role in this book and I loved it! As a mom to boys, I am ecstatic when I come across a book that appeals to both girls and boys. Full of action and intrigue, Variant was a wild ride as we follow Benson on his mission to bust out. It keeps you guessing and trusting no one!


  1. Oh yes, I enjoyed this book so much! I just have so many questions after reading it (even more than I had at the beginning)!

    And I was also happy to see a book that guys will love too. Very gender-neutral :) which is refreshing in YA these days.

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

  2. I've heard nothing but good things about this book. Will have to add it to my wishlist.

    Great review Mel!

  3. This book sounds really interesting! I will definitely have to read this sometime. Good review!

  4. Great review. I enjoyed this book very much also. Very unique.

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