Friday, November 4, 2011

Review: Variant by Robison Wells

Variant by Robison Wells
Published by HarperTeen
Date Published: October 4, 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.
I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC of this book at BEA this year, but unfortunately it took me a while to get to it. At first glance, I was excited to read it and knew it would be good because I judge books by their covers and because it had a blurb from James Dashner that read:
“Variant is a compelling story on so many levels. I loved it! The twist behind it all is my favorite since Ender’s Game.”
And if that isn't enough to excite you, I don't know what else to say. The story itself is very interesting. At first glance, it has the appearance of a boarding school novel with a twist, but it is so much more. I loved the fact that were so many twists that every page kept me intrigued. The fast pace of the writing is one of the things that kept me from not wanting to stop. And there is one twist that is so unexpected. it'll leave you going "WHAAAAT?!!!"

The concept of Variant was very unique though it bore a few similarities to another series, but in all the best ways. I really liked the separation of the school into "gangs". That gave the readers a group of people to stand behind. I really hope we don't start hearing "Team Society" or "Team Variant" because that is getting old. Though personally, I think I would be a Variant. Not just because that's what the protagonist is in, like when everyone says "I'M A GRYFFINDOR!" (when really they're probably a Hufflepuff).

I enjoyed reading from Benson's perspective. Being a new student to Maxfield Academy, it was like we, the readers, were new students as well learning everything at the same rate as the main character. Wells did a great job of writing just enough supporting characters that I wasn't overwhelmed with remembering who was who.

Don't let the size fool you, Variant was a quick, fast-paced, thrilling read. If you liked the Maze Runner series or the Gone series, you will really enjoy this one. And if you haven't, go to your local bookstore, read the first chapter, and tell me it doesn't instantly draw you in.


  1. I am at the book store and picking this up! Thanks for the great review!

  2. Let us know what you think of it!

  3. I'm from the Philippines and Variant has just hit our bookstores. The minute I read whatever's on the back cover I immediately grabbed it. Now, I'm reading it at night for relaxation after a very long day at school..Guess I'll be very sorry for whenever I'll be done with it. :-)

  4. Really enjoyed Variant. It was fast paced and totally was not expecting the twist.  

  5. I am just starting this book.  What grade level do you think it would be appropriate for?  Do you think it is appropriate for 6th graders?

  6. I believe so, yes.