I will say that this YA novel kept me entertained during a long drive. The setup is intriguing enough: a teenage orphan from Pittsburgh named Benson l..Show More »ooks to escape his dreary life by winning a scholarship to a high-end private school in New Mexico. However, upon arrival, he finds that Maxfield Academy contains no adults, is full of security cameras, is surrounded by a high wall, and has a few simple rules that students must never, ever break. Cue shades of Lord of the Flies, Never Let Me Go, and the TV show Lost, as our protagonist learns that the students have organized themselves into different factions, some bent on following the rules, some out to cause mayhem, and some with more pragmatic ideas. The truce that exists between them is tense at best, and Benson must choose his allies and adversaries carefully. Not everything at Maxfield, of course, is what is seems, and, like Lost, it had me hooked.
Well, for the first half. Unfortunately, the twist that comes later would have been inexcusably silly in a grown-up novel. Then again, this is a book for younger readers, and I doubt too many will be concerned about that, or even recognize the creative property that Wells is, um, inspired by. The target audience will probably eat up the who-can-we-trust suspense, the action sequences (including paintball, of all things), the likable, outcast hero, and the romance.
All in all, probably not the most interesting or well-written YA dystopfic out there, but a perfectly readable entry for those who can’t get enough of the genre. Parental note: there’s some PG violence, one implied-but-not-discussed sexual encounter between secondary characters, and no bad language.
I liked the first in the series and had to know how the first one developed so I got "Feedback" and was hugely disappointed. The main character is onl..Show More »y focused on teen romance which is tiring after a while when the main focus of the story is escaping their situation. But the main character just worries about his relationships rather than the imminent danger all around him. It got so irritating towards the end that I was hoping the guy would die and so I could end my frustration listening to him whine and moan and not escape. Such a pansy character. Read the first in the series, Variant but not this one unless you like characters who have no guts, talk too much and moan about their misfortunes. It was tedious.