By: Robison Wells
Pub. Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen
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.
Variant is about foster kid Bensen (love that name!), who receives a scholarship to the prestigious Maxfield Academy. He believes that attending the school is finally the break that he needed his entire life. He is sick of being moved from home to home and wants a real life and a real education. But Maxfield Academy isn’t like other schools. There are no teachers, no homework and no adults! In place of that are wire-fences and security cameras. Once you get into Maxfield, there is no getting out!
The “students” are split between three different gangs. Each fitting into their assigned roles. Complaints are not made out loud because that could lead to a kind of punishment that nobody wants. The students do the cooking, cleaning, and teaching and every single student has a chip on a piece of jewelry that can not be taken off under any circumstance.
Bensen never knows who to trust and the author keeps us guessing throughout the very end. The cliffhanger also leaves the reader wanting and needing book two NOW!
I enjoyed Bensen’s character. He was so strong-willed and brave. He wasn’t willing to sit back and allow this to happen to him. He was going to break all the rules and do whatever it took to escape.
Aspects of Variant reminded me a lot of Lord of the Flies. What happens to children when there are no adults supervising them? How do they handle this situation? I hated LOTF when I read it in HS, so I was pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed Variant.
If you are looking for a suspense story, then Variant is the book for you. I am eagerly awaiting book two!