Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 2011
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: I received a free ARC for review at BEA 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. (from Goodreads)
I was a little worried that the unbelievable nature of the story would be too much. A bunch of kids trapped in a school where no one questions what's going on or why? I didn't think it could amount to much. I mean, either the truth is lame and the story gets old or everything is such a secret and there isn't really a story to tell - right?
I was so wrong! The truth, or at least as much of the truth as Benson can find out, is not lame at all. I was truly shocked - it's rare that a book can catch me off guard - and I loved it. And the secrets? There are still TONS more to be revealed and a lot more story that needs telling.
Variant is only the first layer of Benson's story and to say that I'm eager to see what else lies beneath would be an understatement. Really, a true thriller. Lots of twists and turns to the plot but the story never seemed to get off track. It was so easy to get caught up in Benson's story.
I loved the discovery aspect to this mystery. As a reader, I knew what Benson knew and I found myself asking the same questions he asks and coming to the same conclusions. I felt connected to him as a character and invested in what happens to him. And what will happen? I have no idea! There are so many possibilities and I love when stories play out this way.
With it's male protagonist and action packed storyline, I really think Variant will appeal to reluctant male readers. Really though, anyone who enjoys thrillers with fantastic twists will love this book.
5 / 5 Stars
#2 Feedback (October 2012)