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

12 Responses

  1. Stephen Carter April 13, 2014 at 1:57 am #

    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

  2. Derek Malan April 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    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. Mackenzie Lucas April 21, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    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.

    • marissa kay May 23, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

      I agree with her and I felt the same way

  4. Mouse April 24, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    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?

  5. Kaelyn Martinez April 28, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    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. Mackenzie Lucas May 1, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

    Dear Mr. Robison Wells,
    I just got Feedback and can’t wait to start reading it! You’re awesome!

  7. Mrs. M. Weber May 16, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    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!

  8. Don August 7, 2014 at 1:00 am #

    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.

    • Robison Wells August 7, 2014 at 2:06 am #

      The good news, Don, is that there is a sequel! It’s called FEEDBACK, and it came out in 2011! Hopefully that will answer your questions.

      • Devinn August 13, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

        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. Kiersten Wells September 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    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!

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