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     Tuesday, October 03, 2023
For men, women, and teens

Book review: Variant by Robison Wells

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“Variant” by Robison Wells. Published in 2011 by HarperTeen

Available in paperback, Kindle, audiobook and hardcover.

Imagine finding out that the school you are attending isn’t a real school – it’s something else. But what? This is exactly what happens when Benson, a foster child, tries to get out of a home situation that isn’t working out by applying for and winning a scholarship to a private boarding school. But when he arrives at the school, he quickly sees that things aren’t what they seem from the outside. The school is nothing like the brochure. Where are the adults? And what is going on at this school? Is it a training camp? And if so, what for?

As Benson tries to uncover the mysteries surrounding this school, some very alarming things happen. How can he find out what is really going on without putting himself, or others, in further danger? And when everyone’s motives are different, who can he trust?

The suspense and mystery builds during the course of this gripping teen book. An action-packed page-turner, this book will appeal to virtually all young adults.

The sinister atmosphere at the school sets the stage for some of the unusual happenings later in the book. The plot is well put together and is not a supernatural story – no vampires etc. to explain the unusual goings-on in the school. This teen novel will keep readers guessing right up until the last minute!

Who will enjoy this book?

Young adults aged 15 to 18 will enjoy reading “Variant” by Robison Wells. The main character, Benson, will appeal to all readers. He thinks things out but is not afraid of confrontation. He is basically an ‘ordinary’ boy thrust into an extraordinary situation, and manages to successfully deal with what is happening.

Even the most reluctant reader will enjoy this nail-biting teen novel. Be aware that there is some graphic violence in some parts of the book, making it better suited to more mature readers. As a stand-alone book it’s great. There is a sequel to Variant, and as much as we love Variant here at FlipFall, the sequel was a little bit of a let-down. We still recommend reading Variant – it’s an outstanding book regardless of whether or not you choose to read the sequel.


“Variant” by Robison Wells is a fast-moving and exciting teen novel with a very significant mystery at its core. It is best suited to more mature teens, and is an excellent choice for even the most reluctant of readers.

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