Variant by Robison Wells
Release Date: September 26, 2011
Source: Birthday gift from Daph
Goodreads Stars: 5
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.