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Variant by Robison Wells



Variant by Robison Wells
Variant #1
Release Date: September 26, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Birthday gift from Daph
Goodreads Stars: 5
Rating: Essential


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. – Goodreads

I’d heard Daph talk about this book a little bit before, but I had no idea why she was so amazed by it. Sure, it’s set in a boarding school, but so are a lot of books. What makes this one stand out?

Then she bought me it for my birthday (THANK YOU!!!!!!) and I read it, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best books I have read all year. I was considering rating this as an All Time Favourite, but I’m not sure about that so I went with Essential instead. Maybe I can decide once I’ve read Feedback, the sequel.


I cannot even begin to express how I feel about this book in mere words. It’s everything you want in a thriller: action packed, mysterious, awesome (and evil) characters, EVERYTHING. Going into Variant, you only know that Benson is a foster kid who wanted to be someone. He applies to the Academy, and then all of a sudden you’re thrown into this weird, crazy adventure and you have no idea what’s going on.

Why are the teenagers there? Why can’t they leave? Who’s keeping them there? What the heck goes on during detention?

So. Many. Questions. And I still don’t really know the answers to them. Sure, there were some big reveals – one of which I believe I described as someone slapping you in the face and then skipping away sprinkling rose petals. WHAT. Exactly. You will NOT see these babies coming!

Some of the questions get answered, some don’t, but mostly answering the little questions and then opening doors to a whole lot more is what Robison Wells does best. AND I LOVED IT. I love not having a clue what’s going on. I complain a lot about novels being predictable, and having to rate them down for it, but Variant was anything but.

I really liked Benson, the main character, and I admired his strength. This dude just didn’t want to give up, and I loved it. I might start crying if I talk about his determination to survive, and his strong will, so I’m not going to go into too much detail. I’m meant to be going out today and I don’t want swollen eyes!

The love interests were okay. I mean, as love interests go. But I didn’t really see them as love interests, but as their own people. Oh, and you might wonder why I’m talking about love interests PLURAL and not complaining about a love triangle. It’s because there isn’t really a love triangle (yet?) and I have nothing to complain about. The romance was sweet, and kinda cheesy, and I had no problems with it. That may change in the second book, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The entire novel was a complete rollercoaster. And then there’s the ending! Which was just insane. I had to give it a reread because my heart was racing so much, and I felt as though I had missed sentences while trying to read so quickly in order to keep up with the characters. And then the cliffhanger… WHATTTTTT.

In case you can’t tell, I loved it. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pick it up! I’m going to be recommending it to everyone, because I think this is one of the best YA novels out there. So thrilling, so mysterious, and so frustrating! In an epic way, of course.

5 comments on “Variant by Robison Wells

  1. Dark_Calling January 19, 2013 7:09 am

    I have been eyeing this book for a very long time now. I will buy it for sure now. It seems like everything I’d want in a book. Thanks you for the review. Will definitely pick it up in the near future.

  2. The Readdicts January 19, 2013 8:33 am

    “I love not having a clue what’s going on.” *thumbs up* That’s an excellent statement! I totally agree. Variant seems like an interesting read and I’ll be keeping an eye out for it. Great review, Amber! 😀

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  3. Judith January 19, 2013 10:43 am

    Okay, so I read your review first and then the summary (which is not really the most logical order, but oh well) and I thought “Hey, that sounds familiar”. And I checked my shelves and turns out I have a copy of this book myself!! And I didn’t even know it! And I haven’t even read it. And now I REALLY WANT TO. EEEEEE. Now I’m excited!

  4. Sarah January 20, 2013 11:13 am

    This book sounds exactly up my street! Great review. I can’t wait to check it out 😀

    Sarah @ TotalTeenFiction

  5. Ellen January 22, 2013 6:23 pm

    Great review. This sounds like something I would really like.

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