Author: Robison Wells
Release Date: October 2011
Published By: HarperTeen
Goodreads Rating: 3.97 stars
Review: Benson thought his scholarship to Maxfield Academy would save him from a dead-beat life, but now he's trapped in a school with a razor-wire fence, video cameras watching his every move, no adults, and kids who break into groups to survive. A school where breaking the rules means death. Except he discovers a secret that means following the rules may be the most dangerous move of all.
VARIANT is exactly the kind of YA book I want to see more of. This fast-paced story was brimming with mystery and suspense so intense I could hardly bear to put it down, and it was almost all I could think about when I wasn't reading it. Several incredible twists came, and even though I did sort of see one of them coming, they definitely weren't very predictable.
In fact, this would be a five star book except for one thing: the ending. As you can probably imagine, it ended with a tortuous cliffhanger. Sometimes I feel like cliffhangers are well-suited for a book, though more often in the past than now. This was not the case here. Now I'm anxious for the next book, but at the same time, I feel like this was kind of gimmicky. I would have picked up the next book anyway even if this ended in a more wrapped-up fashion.
If you want to read a YA suspense or thriller, this is absolutely the book for you. Pretty much everything about VARIANT is perfect, from the intensity to the simple but effective writing, and my only quibble is the ending. For those of you who don't enjoy cliffhanger endings, be wary of this one, but I would still recommend reading it - trust me when I say it's worth it.
I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way affected my review.