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Strange Schools with Stranger Rules Variant by Robison Wells, a book review.

posted Feb 16, 2017, 8:12 AM by Jeffrey Wolf

By: Elizabeth Briggs, Staff Writer

Posted February 16th, 2017


Variant, as the first in a sequel, reveals a complex dystopian world recently discovered by the main character, Benson. Benson starts the book as a confused foster kid looking for a way out of his dead-end life and develops into a quick-thinking leader. Taking place in a desolate private school with no teachers on campus, one can wonder how you could even relate to the plot or problems uncovered in this novel. Variant surrounds the struggle within students of whether or not to try and escape from the school, which isn't something most of us are faced with every day. However, it portrays two quite different themes: one to do with being cautious and the other, teamwork. With this, the story goes into the fact that in some situations you can't quite trust anyone, but at the same time includes lessons about working together for a common goal. The varying between the two is what causes an inner conflict with Benson, similar to the one other students are having.

Starting out as Benson is being driven to his new school, he explains how this school is private and would be considered “fancy.” He starts to think something is up when staff tell him he has to wear a tracking device, however he doesn’t realize just how weird it will get. From there, it goes into details of the odd “detentions” that no one has come back from, and strange punishments. He is faced with the choice of three gangs within in the school and he chooses Variant, explaining the title.


Since the novel is very sci-fi dystopian, readers can expect to be intrigued by the unusual, often outrageous occurrences. Fitting even under the category of mystery, leaving your questions unanswered, Variant can be appealing to nearly any reader. As with any good book, the storyline leaves you with a unique perspective on life and the world around us. Even yet, the adventures don’t stop in Variant, but continues into the sequel, Feedback. This sequel becomes a world almost right in front of you, similar to the books Divergent by Veronica Roth, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Variant is a must-read book for teens or even adults, with its fast-paced plot and unique characters.


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