Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Variant" by Robison Wells

Summary from Amazon:
August 28, 2012
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, where video cameras monitor his every move—and where breaking the rules equals death.
All Benson wants is to find a way out. But when he stumbles upon the real secret the school has been hiding, he realizes that escape may be impossible.
Most of the time, my recipe for a good book involves some type of fantasy, maybe a quest or journey, and *le sigh* some romance.

But there's another little niche of YA that is all up in my wheelhouse. Namely: evil boarding schools. Give me kids living at a school/trying to escape a school that's not what it seems...I am there, buddy! And also: plot twists. No matter how outlandish, I love  when a twist sneaks up and slaps you upside the head and you are all "WHAT??!!"
like this right here...
So I decided to give Variant by Robison Wells a try, mainly because it was a clean book and there was a recommendation for it on Audible for me and I vaguely remembered reading that it had some twisty plotty goodness to offer. (Note: I listen to lots of audiobooks while hauling the kids to and from various practices, games, school things, therapies, etc. This explains why I get so much "reading" done. It's actually listening.)

People, I dug this book. A lot.

It starts out as a typical "what is going on in this school, oh my we can't leave, whatever shall be do?" thing. And then it gets more and more twisted and I did NOT predict what was coming. Not at all. I wasn't sure who the good guys were, who the bad guys were, why anybody was doing the things they were doing, and then the END. Sweet fancy Moses, I think my jaw actually dropped open when I heard the last line.
 There are some flaws in the book. There's a distinct lack of characterization, especially among the secondary characters. Heck, I don't think we're ever even told what Benson, the main character, looks like. And too much time was spent detailing paintball strategies. So much so, I thought for sure it was somehow crucial to the storyline. It really wasn't. However, I stuck with the book and I'm glad I did. You can bet I started searching for the sequel, "Feedback", immediately.

1 comment:

  1. You know, I like boarding school stories, too. I don't know why -- I guess it's such a foreign world to me that I find it fascinating! I didn't love VARIANT, but I do want to find out what happens next. I've got an ARC of FEEDBACK, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. So many books, so little time ...


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