Variant by Robison Wells is a YA thriller from HarperTeen and a quick read. Benson Fisher has been hopping from foster home to foster home, so is very excited to receive a scholarship to Maxfield Academy.
As soon as he arrives at the campus though, Benson notices that something isn't quite 'right.' He soon learns there are no teachers or adults at the Academy, and the students belong to gangs that are each in charge of various contracts at the school.
The grounds are surrounded by a large wall patrolled by students on quad bikes and the curriculum is strange and irregular.
I was shocked to learn of the secret at the heart of the school and definitely didn't see it coming. Benson is keen to escape although serious breaches of the rules result in detention, and students never return from detention.
Variant is a fabulous mystery for young readers and adults alike and I've already recommended it to other readers. Those who liked the movie Toy Soldiers (featuring Sean Astin) will love Variant.
My rating = ****