I read this book after a review featured during Dystopian Month by the fabulous Lenore Appelhans at Presenting Lenore, and something about the combination of cover, their thoughts, title, and blurb caught me.
VARIANT by Robinson Wells (Harper, October 4, 2011)
VARIANT was kind of like what would happen if you took THE MAZE RUNNER and LORD OF THE FLIES and threw them in a blender and wrote down what came out. The story is set in a school that is utterly cut off from society. Whoever is running the school controls everything, including locking of doors, food rations, and activities. Yet the school day-to-day activities are run by kids who each have assigned responsibilities, and nobody wants to risk breaking the rules and getting in trouble because this could mean the end.
What I loved about VARIANT:
1) I NEVER knew who to trust. Even until the last page. This definitely kept the suspense up.
2) I loved that the main character had the nerve to break the rules and try to figure out what the heck was going on.
3) I loved the voice of the main character. It was a male point of view, and it worked for me.
I'd highly recommend VARIANT if you loved THE MAZE RUNNER. VARIANT is not really dystopian (at least not yet. Let's see what happens in book 2), but because the school is such a confined society, in that small sector of the world, it does portray a dystopian setting.
Source of book: e-ARC from NetGalley, courtesy of publisher
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.