Variant Cover

variant-coverBenson Fisher thought a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.

Reviews of Variant

“A chilling, masterful debut… With its clever premise, quick pace, and easy-to-champion characters, Wells’ story is a fast, gripping read with a cliffhanger that will leave readers wanting more.”

—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review, Best Books of 2011)

Variant is an exciting, edge-of-your-seat read that combines psychological themes from works like Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games and Ender’s Game in a truly unique way.Variant should join the ranks of today’s must-read science fiction and fantasy series . This is a highly recommended addition to any collection for teens.”

—VOYA (Starred Review)

“Benson’s account unfolds in a speedy, unadorned first person. Hard to put down from the very first page, this fast-paced novel answers only some of the questions it poses, holding some of the most tantalizing open for the next installment in a series that is anything but ordinary.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Take Veronica Roth’s Divergent (2011), strip out the angst, add a Michael Grant–level storytelling pace, and you have this very satisfying series starter.”


Variant is a compelling story on so many levels. I loved it! The twist behind it all is my favorite since Ender’s Game.”

—James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner

“With Variant, Robison Wells explodes onto the YA scene with a brilliant nail-biter of a dystopian adventure. A breathtaking race for survival in a badly damaged world.”

—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Dust and Decay

Variant grabs your attention early with a mysterious situation, gives you characters to root for, and then leaves you wondering which of them you can trust. Just when you think you’ve figured out what’s going on, Rob Wells surprises you with more twists. I read this book in one sitting because I had to know what would happen next.”

—Larry Correia, New York Times bestselling author of Monster Hunter International

“It was nothing like I have ever read before. I was practically on the edge of my seat the entire time, biting my nails, just completely stressed out. I will definitely read Variant again and again!”

—Reading Teen

60 thoughts on “Variant”

  1. Dear Mr. Robison Wells,
    I am Stephen Carter, who goes to First Colony Middle School in Sugar Land TX. I am contacting you to compliment, and ask some questions about your wonderful novel Variant.
    When I read the book I was astonished at the level of detail you put into the book. It was fun and entertaining to read and the amount of detail you put into the intense moments kept me up at night trying to finish.
    What gets me is how you got the idea for the book? The amount of creativity put into this novel went beyond what I could dream of. It was amazing as it is but when I visited you website I was amazed at how you managed to do this with such a busy life, so HOW did you come up with this.
    I was also wondering about the little parts that you did really describe in the book. Now I know people have asked to see if you will write a sequel to the Variant series but I have read through the post and I am asking; will there be any side stories about the “war” and about the other characters past? This is something that I would definitely enjoy and love to read.
    Mr. Wells, your book was great and well written and it would be a pleasure to get a response from you.
    Stephen Carter

    • Dear Mr. Wells, I am from corbin middle school. We just got done reading your book variant in my 5th period. It is a really interesting book. I can not wait to read your book feedback. I hope it is as good as variant. I also hope it answers all my questions about the book variant.

  2. This is an awesome book, I’m not a reader at all. Never read a book until now. Variant was so captivating and I couldn’t stop! I can’t wait to buy feedback!

  3. Dear Mr. Robison Wells,
    My name is Mackenzie and I’m Seventeen years old, I first came acrossed your book ‘Variant’ at the beginning of the year. I read over half of it but the librarian made me give it back so I was unable to finish it and about a three weeks ago I found your book again on amazon and I just had to finish what I had started so I ordered it. Once it came I was so excited I started it over and once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. I finished it about a about a week ago only a couple days after it arrived and I absolutely loved it! It was one of the best books I have read in a while. It’s been driving me crazy not having ‘Feedback’ but my mom just ordered it for me today so I’m excited waiting for it to arrive. I really thank you for writing such an amazing book I fell in love with the characters and the plot, I am a writer myself so when I read the characters become real for me. I loved how you put such emotion in the book which I haven’t seen since I read the ‘Twilight Saga’ so thank you so much for that experience I will remember this book forever.

  4. I was obessed in the first few words but once I finished feedback I thought that there would /could be more such as;what happens to the experimented on ?the other that where at maxfeild? people who run it?

    • I agree. I totally loved this series! It is in my top 5!! I love this series. I so agree with Mouse, there are some questions that I am desperate to get answered! What happens with the other schools? is there going to be a worldwide panic?

      I love this series and I am only leaving these questions to make the series even better. I love this series and I assure you that if another book came out I would be one of the first to read it.

  5. Dear Robinson Wells I am 11 years old and i read your first book in a week i loved it soo much. After that i read feedback the best book in the world. Black out is amazing i am about to start going dark!!

  6. Hello. As a Reading teacher at two middle schools, I thought you would want to know that your book has started a “reading frenzy” with my students. They beg to take the book home, and I have to literally “patrol” my desk to ensure those that are still reading Variant do not read the back cover of Feedback to fulfill their desire to know it all now. They are so attached to the book that when they hear others gasp when beginning to read feedback, they are hysterical to know what happens next! I shared that you are in “talks” over a possible movie, and they jumped up and down! They want to purchase the Variant “gang” t-shirts they found on the web, and everything else Maxfield Academy. I love to see students excited about reading, and so thank you!

  7. Dear Mr. Wells,
    Let me start by saying that reading is not only a hobby but an obsession. It’s basically all I ever do, but after reading the Variant series I have stopped for a short time to think about the ending because it is driving me insane. Please believe me when I say I fell in love with everything but the last couple of pages in ‘Feedback’. The reasoning for this is that I don’t understand them and I’ve scoured the web for your email to ask you directly and the best place it’s brought me is here. Now giving you my real email isn’t something I am comfortable with but I haven’t seen you reply to anyone on here so it is my best shot. I’d really like to understand what happens so I can move on to other books and quit obsessing over the ending. Email:

  8. Unlike your other readers who have posted here, I’m in my 70s? I just finished “Variant”. Very interesting and well written book up to where you just quit. It didn’t really come to a conclusion. It was almost as if this was the first part of a two-part book. If you do not write a sequel to finish it, I’ll feel cheated. If I had been reading it as a paper book instead of an ebook, I would have flung it across the room in disgust. Please write a sequelto finish the story.

      • Dear Mr. Wells,

        I just finished feedback and am going through withdrawals! This story was amazing! I saw where you and some other authors held a fundraiser for your mental illness (I hope you’re doing well!) and in return y’all released some bonuses for the books. I am desperate to read the epilogue to Feedback; but, since the fundraiser is over, I’m not sure how to do that. Will you be releasing it to the public at a later date? I really hope so!! Thank you for writing these brilliant books!

  9. Dear Mr. Wells,
    I picked this book up in the library because we had the same last name and I thought it would be a good book. It was an amazing book, and I can’t wait to go to the library and get the second one. When I began surfing your website, I discovered that you were LDS. I am too! Now I wonder if we are related. My favorite part about your book was Jane. I love red hair, and the name Jane, and you put them together. Overall it was an amazing book. Thank you!

  10. I’m not a ‘young reader’. I’m 59 and have been an avid reader all my life though I’ve leaned toward classics and non-fiction.. My son suggested I read ‘Variant’ and I took him up on it. I was impressed and entertained through the entire book. We have been looking to get the second installment and plan to make a trip to the bookstore soon.

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  12. You and your brother are making me want to find your house and burn it down, in the good way.
    variant trap me since the beginning and I couldnt stop reading, it was so stresing, and anxious that I dont even have words
    Thank you very much for making these amazing books, and please!!! public them in spanish

  13. About a month ago I was searching for a book in my school’s library and I came across Variant. I must say, this is the best book I’ve ever read in my life! I usually never read but after fishing the first book in a couple days, I want to read the second book Feedback!! My school’s library didn’t have Feedback at the time sadly so I had to wait 3 weekends to be able to read Feedback. These are the best books I’ve ever read in my whole entire life!! I believe you should make another series just like this one! I love how it had a little romance in it and its killer plot! I am going to be buying both Variant and Feedback from Amazon here soon so I can have these books at my house. Thank you so much for making such amazing books!

  14. I would not call my self a reader until I read this book… it has inspired me to read not only the next book in this series but to read for the enjoyment of just reading…

  15. Mr. Wells I really love your book Variant. I was reading it all the time. What I would like to know about the book is if you will write any sequels? It was an amazing book and I have a strong feeling other readers would enjoyed it as well. I think that a sequel would be a great addition to all the hard work you put in to write this book.
    Sincerely, Nimesh

  16. I am 12 and I live in Florida. Every year I’m in the Sunshine State Young Readers Award program at my school. This year so far I have only read Variant and The Lions of Little Rock. I have been pleasantly supprised at both books and can not wait to read the next in the series! I love this book almost as much as Hunger Games and Divergent, keep up the good work!

  17. Hey, my name is Markia and i love your book! it amazing, i haven’t read feedback yet but i hope i love it as much as i loved variant. i love your work. my sister had read variant before me and told me i had to read it, when i did, i loved it. i was taking a sol ( end of the year test) when i read it. i couldn’t keep my eyes off the book. I’m going to be a writer when i grow up and i was hoping to make a movie to your book, with your permission, of course. Robin Wells, i just wanted to say thank you for your additional help to the word with your book.

  18. Was Oakland his real name? If not, what was it? I’m guessing it wasn’t his real name since every in Havoc had a nickname. And why did he die?

  19. I’d just like to say that Variant and Feedback are amazing books! Since the publisher only wanted two books, have you ever thought of putting up/writing short stories that tell us more about the story? Like e-novellas? I’m also aware that you included an epilogue in Alternate Perceptions, but I was not able to pledge during the time the campaign was open. Would you ever consider putting that epilogue out as an ebook or something? Anyway, you’re a really awesome author Mr. Wells, and I hope to read more!

  20. Dear Mr. Wells,

    I recently read you amazing novel, “Varient”, and I had a question for you. How did you decide on your characters? Did you have inspiration from your life or just purely fictional?

    Thanks for your time,
    Brett Dawson

  21. I just finished this book and am looking for the second book. Almost cried with Curtis and Carrie and Mason. Hope to see more of Isaiah.

  22. Mr .Robison Wells,
    I normally HATE reading and there’s not many books i can get into enough to actually FINISH the book. The last book i read was the hunger games series and i absolutely fell in love with it. i felt the same way about your book variant. once i picked it up, i couldn’t put it back down. it has an interesting story line and an exiting twist on the story. every chapter had you eagar to read the next. it’s not every day you find a book like this one. it has a GREAT ending and i’m super exited to get the next book (Feedback). I can’t wait until Christmas because i know i am going to get it. i hope you keep coming out with more and more books for this series because i would read every single one of them. i am not mutch of a reader but ehrn i saw your book in knew i had found the book for me.

  23. I absolutely LOVED this book. It’s way to interesting to stop reading it! I just am wondering, are you going to make a third book after Variant and Feedback? For my class project in 2 period, I have to do a speech on an author and straight away I picked you! You are totally in my favorite authors list! :)

    Your fan,

    Mira S.

  24. Dear Mr. Wells,
    I loved variant and stayed up till three am reading it because it was it was so intense and interesting.


  25. Hi Mr. Wells. My friends and I really enjoyed your book. What does Becky look like in your mind? I’m curious to know. Thanks!

    – Anneka

  26. Dear Mr. Robison Wells,
    I read your books Variant and Feedback a while back. I can proudly say that Variant is my all time favorite book. I really love the ideas in the books, they’re so cool! Also, I wish your books would turn into movies. 😛
    Selin :)

  27. i finished reading your book and i wanted to immediately read the next one but i could not i felt like i could never read another book again !!!

  28. Hey this book is amazing i loved it i havnt read the second one yet but i am starting tomorrow but i really want to know if this will be a movie or not ????? Cause it is sooo goood

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  30. This is my most favorite book ever, and I HATE books. The only reason I read a book is I had to read a sunshine state book for a school project and I picked this one . I just finished this book and I can’t wait to read feedback.

  31. Hi! I know every one is asking about a third book, but wouldn’t you be able to find another publishing company, or you could always start fresh with a new series like that but with the same characters and the same setting?! Because I AM DYING!!! I fell in love with your characters and I will never forget them or the book! I showed the book to my friends and some of my teachers and THEY LOVE IT!!! I was literally crying when Feedback ended…lol, but anyhoo you are an AMAZING WRITER, and I am very well aware you have heard that many times because you deserve it! Thank you so much for writing, the book brings me joy and happiness!

  32. I got this book to read in class but I decided to ask to take it home and I liked it so much I read half of it in a day and I think (to me) this is the best book I have read sence Percy Jackson

  33. Hey Mr. Wells, my name is Cymecca and I can’t explain in words how much I loved your book (Variant). I haven’t read Feedback yet, but I am. I hope that somebody can turn your books into a movie. I guarantee it will be a hit, like the Huger Game Series. I think I’m going to be the one to make that happen if you allow it.
    – Your Biggest Fan

  34. hI, WRITING from Spain, one month ago I went to a book fair here in the little town I live, the purpose was to buy some books to my 11 years old daughter that loves to read a lot….well one of the books she chose was Variant called Diferente in Spanish) and somehow I found myself reading it and couldnt stop until I finish. Now that i know there is another one..I will read it as soon as i get it.

    Thanks for this book

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