Variant by Robison Wells

I am nearly converted to science fiction fandom after reading this book. Like many of the titles I have been reading recently, it was recommended to me many times by students. We have two copies in the library and it is almost always checked out.

I snatched it up on Thursday to bring home and read on the weekend. I lied and told one of the kids that I had no idea where it was.

I'm really glad I did. I was surprised by how easily I slipped into Robison Wells' world. I started and finished it in one session.

Benson, a 17 year old foster kid, applied for a scholarship to Maxfield Academy, a private boarding school, and got in. He hoped his life would improve. Once there he discovered that not only is life more restricted, it is also dangerous. People are not who they seem to be. Escape seems impossible, yet not escaping will probably mean certain death.

I admit to being terrified on more than one occasion. This book has it all: hints of romance, suspense, tension, and violence.  It has a remarkable plot twist. It was indeed a great read. However, I must admit that I am now freaked out that some younger readers in grade 4 have been reading (and recommending) it.

I read somewhere that adults read differently from children. As an adult and a parent I am keenly aware of what might happen to the characters. Children on the other hand read the same material as a great adventure. I hope this is true.

Still I am in a quandary since it has been on a shelf to be read by any student. Now I am not sure this was a good idea. I don't think I can remove it, but I might get younger readers to get their parents' permission before reading it.

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