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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...
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...
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Description-

  • 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.

About the Author-

  • Robison Wells is also the author of Blackout, Variant, and Feedback. Variant was a Publishers Weekly Best Book and a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Robison lives in the Rocky Mountains in a house not too far from elk pastures. His wife, Erin, is a better person than he will ever be, and their three kids cause mischief and/or joy.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books oliverc - This book is about a group of people trying to escape a school that was created by artificial intelligent robots. The main character in this book is Benson Fisher. He doesn’t like violence, but in important times when the robots attack students in attempt to use their flesh as their own, he can fight really well. The most fierce part of this book is when the students are escaping the school, and the robots are killing and chasing after them. In my opinion, I related the story of the rise of robots to the possibility of human using robots to take place of human workers in the future. The book inspired me not to rely on robots a lot because they might take over with their increasing emotions and intelligence. I will recommend this book to my friend because the entire book is very intense and interesting. You will worry about the main character because when he is in danger, you will feel like you are in danger, too.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 22, 2011
    In a chilling, masterful debut, Wells gives the classic YA boarding school setting a Maze Runner twist, creating an academy of imprisoned teenagers who must fight to survive when the rules change daily, and the punishment for breaking those rules is death. Seventeen-year-old Benson Fisher, tired of foster homes, applies for a scholarship to Maxfield Academy in New Mexico, hoping for a fresh start. Instead, he is trapped with roughly 70 other teens divided into three factions, with no teachers, no real classes, and no chance of escape at a school overseen by the mysterious and sinister "Iceman," who doles out punishments and awards points. Though Wells doesn't provide much detail about Benson's past, his honesty and determination to escape make him a compelling protagonist, and it's easy to get drawn into his fellow students' plights as well. There are plenty of "didn't see that coming" moments and no shortage of action or violence. With its clever premise, quick pace, and easy-to-champion characters, Wells's story is a fast, gripping read with a cliffhanger that will leave readers wanting more. Ages 13–up.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2012

    Gr 8 Up-Desperately seeking to escape from an abominable living situation, foster-kid Benson Fisher applies and is accepted to the elite Maxfield Academy, a boarding school in the remote wilderness of New Mexico. However, before he even sets foot on campus, he senses that something is awry. The school is surrounded by a massive brick wall and razor-wire fence and there are no teachers; video cameras monitor the students' every move; and serious infractions (attempting to escape, having sex, and violent fighting) are punishable by death. To avoid devolving into anarchy, students are divided into three gangs, and peace hangs by a tenuous thread. Unwilling to bend to the draconian will of his captors, Benson intently devises ways to escape. Adding a touch of lightness is the tender romance that he develops with a fellow student, Jane. When he stumbles upon an unimaginable secret about her that hints at the academy's true intentions, Benson knows that he must find a way out quickly, or die trying. The boy's desire to be a normal teenager, as well as his tenacious fight for survival, will resonate with readers. Variant ends with a nail-biting cliff-hanger that will have them clamoring for the next installment. In addition to being filled with heart-racing action and suspense, the novel raises thought-provoking questions about morality and social order. This is an impressive debut with wide appeal, especially for fans of Alexander Gordon Smith's Lockdown (Farrar, 2009) and James Dashner's Maze Runner (Delacorte, 2009)-Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Pittacus Lore, #1 New York Times bestselling author of I Am Number Four

    "An intense journey with some of the most shocking twists and turns I've ever read."

  • Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "A chilling, masterful debut. With its clever premise, quick pace, and easy-to-champion characters, Wells' story is a fast, gripping read with a cliffhanger that will leave readers wanting more."

  • James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner

    "Variant is a compelling story on so many levels. I loved it! The twist behind it all is my favorite since Ender's Game."

  • Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review)

    "An exciting, edge-of-your-seat read that combines psychological themes from works like Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games and Ender's Game in a truly unique way. Variant should join the ranks of today's must-read science fiction and fantasy series. A highly recommended addition to any collection for teens."

  • Kirkus Reviews

    "Benson's account unfolds in a speedy, unadorned first person. Hard to put down from the very first page, this fast-paced novel answers only some of the questions it poses, holding some of the most tantalizing open for the next installment in a series that is anything but ordinary."

  • Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

    "Fans seeking a fast-paced, action-heavy read will find this generates a lot of excitement."

  • School Library Journal

    "Filled with heart-racing action and suspense. An impressive debut with wide appeal, especially for fans of Alexander Gordon Smith's Lockdown and James Dashner's The Maze Runner."

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