Jun 18, 2012


I completely devoured this book. It was shocking and twisty and scary and just flat out good. Without further ado:

Variant (Variant #1)
Robison Wells
Variant (Variant, #1)
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.
Like I said earlier today, in my In My Mailbox post, I had expected this book to be good. But, good was such an understatement. It was crazy and suspenseful and a teensy bit frightening. I'm usually pretty good at deduction, but even I wasn't sure who was trustworthy and who wasn't. I suppose that's why the cover says "Trust no one."

I loved the plot of this book. The major twist in it completely shocked me, and went where no other YA book I've read had. It was totally creepy. (No I will not tell you what it is, that would ruin the fun) The idea of cameras watching my every move is more than a little unnerving. I'm already paranoid, now I'm gonna dream about my every move being watched. But, the ability to creep me out is definitely the sign of a really good book, at least for me. I love the way the school was set up, the structure of the students, the way everyone acted towards each other. In the beginning one of the characters mentions The Lord of the Flies and that's completely what it was like, with the kids in charge and no adults around. It was also very much like one of my favorite books, Gone. It had the potential to be an utter free-for-all, but it wasn't one, because they had a little bit of structure. They had different groups and they all had to work together to keep the school running. 

As for the characters, I genuinely like Benson. I could identify with the way he acted the minute he realized he was stuck in the school. He totally freaked out, and tried to convince everyone that he was right. That is so totally exactly what I would have done. He was utterly brilliant. I also really liked Becky from the minute she was introduced in the beginning. Even though she was all fake smiles, there was just something in there that made her a very likeable character. I loved Curtis and Carrie, because they were so crazy and so in love. Ms. Vaughn gave me the creeps when she was in the car with Benson in the beginning, and I liked that too. 

I utterly enjoy books that get me excited to read them, and that really make me think. This one definitely did both. I had to puzzle out exactly who was trustworthy and who wasn't, and I was definitely wrong several times, and I loved it. Books like this one keep my brain from turning to total mush over the summer, because they make me use it. I adored the cover (I had to say it!), just because it looked so cool, and I later realized it fit the story perfectly. Even the cover had me guessing as to who was the guy and who was the girl and why they were in the forest. I guess I think too much...

Anyways, I utterly loved Variant and give it five stars for being awesome. If you like sci-fi dystopian YA, then you should definitely check it out. Well, check it out even if that isn't your cup of tea, you won't regret it!

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