Book - 2011
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Aug 08, 2017

“Variant” was a wonderful novel to read. It reminded me a lot of “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner. Benson Fisher, the main character, had a tough life and not much action happened until he discovered something about Maxfield academy. The characters felt like they weren’t developed and there was no character development. I had no connections to the characters, they felt fake and I honestly didn’t care about them. However, “Variant” is mysterious and my curiosity won me over. My curiosity is the main reason why I continued reading. Robison Wells gave many questions without the answers which makes it hard to put the book down. Every single time I predicted something I was sure that I was correct but then the plot gets twisted and I’m completely wrong. The twist in the middle was mind blowing. Robison Wells ends “Variant” on a major cliffhanger which made me want to read “Feedback” as soon as possible. I enjoyed reading this novel and if you enjoy mysterious or thriller books, I would recommend reading it. 4/5 stars.
- @Riddikulus of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Aug 16, 2016

Dull, unimaginative. Poorly developed characters. Main character's motivation is inconsistent and not particularly interesting. A wandering novel where very little actually happens. VERY PARANOID.

Jul 27, 2016

In a story that has a slight resemblance to dystopia, with science fiction elements throughout, Robison Wells has created an exciting and engaging plot that has all of the right suspenseful twists and turns, and has a simple structure yet enough complexity to keep the read interested. With a typical plot element of different groups with different values, the “gangs” give the plot its color and interest for readers, at least during the beginning when all of the general problems are related to just participating in the school that the protagonist has just been newly enrolled at. The brilliantly planned out action in this book is not extremely violent, and includes both physical action and psychological/mental action and conflicts. The author plays the plot through bold and dangerous scenes, but written very well and in simple details and moments. As the story plays on, secrets are uncovered and those secrets are what truly build up the entire plot until its climax, and also sets up the plot for the next book. Rated 5/5 for excellent writing, everything a great book should have, smooth writing style, and an exciting, engaging, and suspenseful plot.
- @interneuron of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Aug 23, 2015

So good. It was very suspenseful and keeps you hooked.

twisting and very good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

red_coyote_155 Jun 03, 2015

really good and exiting. interesting plot twist at the end. liked it a lot

Oct 23, 2014

This book is one of the best books I have ever read, if you liked hunger games, Maze runner, The giver, Divergent, Harry Potter. You will LOVE this book! The best character development I have ever read. You love the characters so much by the end of this duology! Second book is great too! And Wells is writing an epilogue to the series that will come out later this year. AMAZING BOOK! - See more at:

Oct 23, 2014

This book is one of the best books I have ever read, if you liked hunger games, Maze runner, The giver, Divergent, Harry Potter. You will LOVE this book! The best character development I have ever read. You love the characters so much by the end of this duology! Second book is great too! And Wells is writing an epilogue to the series that will come out later this year. AMAZING BOOK!

Jun 25, 2014

I absolutely loved this book!!!!! Can`t wait to read the second book!!!

Jun 22, 2014

One of the best dystopian books I've read! With so many plot twists and revelations, you can hardly put it down! Although it contains many themes present in other young adult books, I prefer it to most of those other books (such as the Maze Runner) as this book is much more exciting and better written in my opinion.

Jun 05, 2014

One of my favorite books ever! Very suspenseful and intriguing. I absolutely loved it! Currently this is the best YA book out there!! So many twists and turns will keep your interest throughout the novel!!!!! CANT WAIT TO READ BOOK TWO!!!!!!!!!!!!

ChristchurchLib Mar 04, 2014

"When Benson Fisher is accepted into Maxfield Academy, he's relieved to escape from the foster care system and excited to make a fresh start. But soon after the doors of the boarding school lock behind him, Benson realizes that he's made a huge mistake. Students at Maxfield are trapped, under constant surveillance, and at war with each other -- and the punishment for rule-breakers is death. Be sure to start this impossible-to-put-down novel (a great choice for fans of James Dashner's The Maze Runner) when you have plenty of time, because its brutal action, startling revelations, and surprising twists are sure to keep you reading straight through the cliffhanger ending -- and maybe even into the sequel, Feedback." Teen Scene March 2014 newsletter

JCLChrisK Sep 13, 2013

See, that's one of my big problems with spoilers. A twist only works if you don't see it coming, and this paperback copy is covered--front and back--with blurbs talking about how great and shocking a twist the book has. So I went into this book knowing nothing would be as it seemed and expecting something "unexpected," which kept me from suspending my disbelief enough to get into the story or being at all surprised when things were revealed. I'd feel bad about saying all of this in my review, except any reader will necessarily see it on the cover of the book.
Otherwise, this is a good suspense story that reads like a good video game plays: you (the character and the reader) are dropped into a strange world with unknown rules, parameters, and goals and have to figure out first how to survive and then how to advance. It's an action-based puzzle full of mystery and suspense. While you're playing against the game, the other players are potentially either allies or enemies depending on how well you negotiate your social interactions. And the stakes of the game are life-and-death.
Orphaned Benson has spent his entire life being shuffled from one foster home to another never getting close to anyone, so he's excited about his new private boarding school as a chance to finally have some stability. But the school is not a school. After he is dropped off, he learns there are no adults and the students are held prisoner. Their only interactions with the outside world are through computers and the automated building. Their coming and going through all doors is controlled and they are surrounded by a wall, a fence, and miles of wilderness. Students who break the rules disappear. They are trapped, and no one knows why or what it means. But no one escapes. Ever.

Jun 19, 2013

wow this book was intruiging, cant wait to read the next

May 31, 2013

Great sci-fi read. LOVE the last couple of sentences!

Mar 25, 2013

a very good book. very interesting. i bought the sequel and i heard mixed reviews about the sequel but i will ahve to see. i couldnt wait for the library to get the sequel so i bought it. its similar to other books but yet different and fresh i will give it 4 and a half rating

lmn14x Oct 17, 2012

I love it when Yahong Chi reviews a book, but there's nothing left to say, except that this person is a great writer, one of the few I bother to follow. The next book is called Feedback; my advice is to make sure you order it ahead of time so you don't have to wait forever when you hit the cliffhanger ending of I'm doing.

khlavon Aug 15, 2012

Reminds me of the Maze Runner an also awesome book.

Aug 06, 2012

I ate this book up in one day! I am a huge fan of the Maze Runner series and this definitely had a similar feel to it. Still, in its own, it was original. Well-written and a page turner. The reader wants to know what happens. All these books that make the characters choose what group to belong to may seem far-fetched but actually hit home. We all have to decide if or how much to follow the rules.

McDanny101 Jul 08, 2012

one of my favorite books! I hope that this book will get more recognition in the future.

Jun 26, 2012

Robison Wells’s young adult debut is immaculately paced with an engaging lead and enough different elements from previous ideas to render it believably unique. Though the no-adults concept is straight-up Lord of the Flies, instead of the degeneration of civilization, we see a haphazard society set up for a very 21st-century purpose, which is revealed through an intriguing, if not wholly original, twist.

Benson comes off as a practical, level-headed protagonist, thanks to his continued focus on escaping without bowing to the plentiful peer pressure. The little angst focused on his worse-than-dreary past and the even mix between teen-hormone-fuelled romantic relationships and non-repetitive planning for escape all add to the sensible, trust-worthy impression received by the reader.

Within any kind of educational environment, a distinct hierarchy of the students exists, and Variant successfully highlights this. It serves as both a smooth method of developing side characters and leaves the true enemies in ambiguity. The plot moves along at a well-managed clip: after a particularly horrific and revealing event, Wells shifts to speculation through Benson to help stack the mystery around the school ever higher, followed by a smaller incident that serves to up the stakes yet another notch lest the reader falter.

Though Variant finishes in a cliffhanger, there will be little hair-pulling done on the reader’s part as the end opens up a new venue of possibilities rather than teasing the reader with crucial information. This is a promising start to what foreshadows to be an addictive series.

Jun 21, 2012

If you liked the maze runner then you'll LOVE this book. It had so much more drama, and i think the plot was better thought out too. A definite recommended read.

Mar 06, 2012

THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING!!!!! i absolutly loved this book it provided so much suspense and drama and twists and turns at every corner. when you thought the book was going one way it would do something totally unexpected. the only bad,horrible thing about this book is that it ends on a cliff hanger. i want toread the next one SO BAD. there was also a lot of great relationships between characters and even at times times when i wanted to stop reading because i though it was all over. AWESOME READ!!!!

jazs Jan 14, 2012

PublisherWeekly Debut novel

Nov 10, 2011

Although the twists of this novel are not nearly as original as often claimed (the big one reminded me of a certain popular that I will not name for fear of spoilers), the execution is impeccable. Robinson Wells creates compelling characters whose motivations are complex and where questions of right and wrong walk the same shades of gray that they do in the real world; the contrast between individual and community, freedom and safety, forces the main character, Benson, to consider his forceful and outspoken ideals as well as forcing other more meek ones, like Becky, to consider the potential cost of their conformity.

Do not let this summary, however, trick you into thinking that the work gets bogged down by philosophy. Wells's character-driven story is never lacking for urgency in its plotline, so much so that I was compelled to finish the book in one short day, and perhaps the greatest annoyance of the book is that it shamelessly ends on a cliffhanger with such a sharp drop that I'd swear Wells had just written one book and chopped it into two at the most gut-wrenching moment. As my theory might suggest, however, this means that a sequel is shortly on the way. I'm waiting. And you should be too.

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