YA Review: VARIANT by Robison Wells

I finally got to the last book in the box from the Scholastic Warehouse Sale. It’s a good thing I only have two and a half months to wait for the next sale! But unfortunately for all of you, I’m not giving this book away. It was just too good, and it’s earned a place on my permanent bookshelf. Ok, on to the description.

Variant by Robison WellsBenson Fisher thought 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.

Here are the five things I loved most:

1. The twist – I’m not giving anything away by saying there’s a twist. It’s right there on the cover in a blurb by James Dashner: “The twist behind it all is my favorite since ENDER’S GAME.” So I was already looking for a twist as I was reading, but oh boy, was it good. And I had a lot of theories, but I didn’t figure it out.

2. The mystery – There’s the twist, but that’s just the beginning of the mystery Benson has to unravel. It just creates more questions for him to answer, and he takes a sleuthing approach as he tries to solve it all.

3. The stakes – From the moment Benson steps inside Maxfield Academy, things keep getting increasingly worse for him. A lot of it’s on him–he isn’t willing to go along with the rules. He wants out and will do whatever it takes to escape, and that has some serious consequences. Mr. Wells doesn’t go easy on him.

4. The pacing – This book was a quick read. I didn’t want to put it down, and I was eager to find out what would happen next.

5. The ending – Ahh! A cliffhanger! But a really good one. Thank goodness I didn’t read this book when it first came out because I can go pick up the sequel right away.

Have you read VARIANT? Did you figure out the twist? Don’t read the comments if you don’t want to be spoiled!

Responses to “YA Review: VARIANT by Robison Wells”

  1. Kimberley Little

    I really enjoyed VARIANT, too – did not see the twist coming either! I’ve met the author a few times as well at conferences and he’s very funny. I have Book 2, but haven’t had a chance to read it! The same can be said for about 100 books sitting here all over my house. 🙂


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