School starts tomorrow – but you can bet it’s nothing like Benson’s new school. Thank goodness…
Variant, by Robison Wells
Harper Teen, ISBN: 978 0 062 02608 8
Benson is leaving his umpteenth foster home and school for a private school he got into on a special grant, and he couldn’t be more pleased. Finally, some stability, and a shot at a decent education, hopefully with less trouble, as everyone will be away from home. He is pretty excited until he gets there and finds that this is no ordinary school, and things are very, very wrong.
Students have divided themselves into three sort of gangs, and run much of the school. No grownups are present, though much of what goes on is clearly directed by someone behind the scenes. And the punishment system is enough to make the hairs rise on your neck. All of which leaves Benson convinced that the only way out is escape – if he can only find a way.
It’s a chilling read, and sort of fits the recent dystopian trend, though in a different model than the standard. I’m not a fast reader, but I was having a hard time putting this one down and gulped it quickly enough to leave me ready to assure you, it’s a gripping book that should grab a wide range of readers in short order as they try to figure out just what is going on.
Without giving anything away, the ending screams sequel, as it opens into a whole new brand of horror and confusion. Indeed, the sequel is out already – and now I cannot wait to get my hands on Feedback.
Also available as an ebook.