Variant by Robison Wells

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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 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 Robison Wells

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Robison Wells lives in Holladay, UT, with his wife and three kids. He recently finished graduate school, during which he read and wrote novels when he should have been studying finance. He is also the author of Variant, and was chosen as one of Publishers Weekly's Flying Start authors for 2011. You can visit him online and read his blog at
Published October 4, 2011 by HarperTeen. 389 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Variant

Kirkus Reviews

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Wells introduces Benson Fisher, a teen in search of a “real” life instead of a long series of unwanted foster homes—but instead of the utopia he’s searching for, he finds the direct opposite.

Apr 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Variant

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Aug 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Variant


It's almost painful to read about Benson's excitement and anticipation before he gets to the school because the reader knows that the school is not what he thinks it will be.

Nov 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Variant

Portland Book Review

I bet you will find something that will interest you 5 stars for a cleverly devised mystery set in PDX a must read for the tween reader in your family A school without teachers, where kids make the rules?

Jan 25 2012 | Read Full Review of Variant

The American Book Center Blog

Some characters do not really need to be in it because they don’t really add to the story, while others experience a big growth as the story progresses.

Nov 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Variant

Shiny Book Review

There are books that come along every once in awhile and hit you with a proverbial mallet, screaming “I’m an amazing book!” Then there are the books that sneak up on you and you only realize afterwards just how good it was.

Jan 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Variant

Arlington Library

When Benson Fisher gets a scholarship to Maxfield Academy he thinks that his sucky life has finally taken a turn for the best.

Oct 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Variant

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