Variant by Robison Wells
Release Date: October 4, 2011
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.
I'll be honest and admit that I wasn't totally sold on Variant when I started reading it. I wasn't sure it would be my kind of book, based off the description and I'm usually a pretty good judge of what books I'll like. But Variant is one of the few that caught me off guard, and I ended up liking it so much more than I thought I would. This is one fans of YA should go pick up, because it seems to me that Variant has a lot of things that the most popular YA books are lacking these days.
A really cool, tough male protaganist: this is great because once in a while, it's really nice to get into the head of a teenage guy. Most of the books have female main characters, or I find the male ones difficult to relate to. But I REALLY like Benson- realistic and still so likeable.
A thriller: Some people might call this dystopian, but I really think it's more of a thriller. I loved how creepy some parts of it were; Robison Wells definitely doesn't shy away from some dark undertones in Variant. Good, because sometimes I want to be creeped out a little bit.
Realistic romance: Variant isn't a romantic book, but there is a little bit of romance. The nice thing about it is it didn't feel forced, and it didn't take over the entire storyline. Benson stays focused on more important matters, without getting sidetracked by some silly love triangle. And that was SO NICE for once.
Variant has been compared to Lord of the Flies (even within the book itself) and I can definitely see the similarities. Except I enjoyed Variant a lot more than Lord of the Flies, but it also seems like there's a bit of The Island of Dr. Moreau in there too with some of the vibes and plot lines brought up.
Also, I really think this is a book that's going to appeal to teen guys; so if you know a male reader who's looking for a book to check out, then I highly recommend this one for him! There's a lot of mystery and action to keep things interesting, and I'm excited for the next one to come out later!
e-galley received from publisher via netGalley in exchange for my honest review; no other compensation was received.