Variant starts right in the middle of the story, with main character Benson arriving at Maxfield academy. He learns pretty soon that he and the other 73 students are trapped inside and can’t get out. There is not a lot of background information on Benson, but for this kind of story it doesn’t matter because you get sucked right into the story. I loved the idea of these kids trapped in this school with no explanation at all, because it raises a lot of questions to you as a reader. I mean, what would you do? Which gang/group would you join? Personally, I think I’d have gone crazy.What I liked about Variant is something I didn’t expect in a book in this genre: the characters were all diverse and fleshed out. I thought it would be all about the plot, but there are a lot of characters in this book as well. I wouldn’t say they all have character development, but I did like the fact that they were all fairly unique from each other in their ways and behavior. While reading I was really fond of Becky, the girl with the tour guide smile, but luckily there’s more to her than that. Benson was also a nice main character. He made some stupid choices, but doesn’t that make sense in a way? Wouldn’t you try do anything to get out?!The book is very fast-paced and I couldn’t stop reading it, there were so many new developments and a pretty big twist that I just had to know how it would all end. Although I expected there to be a lot of action, that’s actually a bit missing. I think because of this Wells added these ‘paintball’ games as gym classes. I found these to be a bit unnecessary and so I didn’t enjoy reading this. Another thing I didn’t like in this book was Benson’s romance with Jane. It’s pretty clear early on that they would get together, but I didn’t understand why Benson would fall for Jane. While the other characters are pretty fleshed out, I didn’t get to know who Jane was. She didn’t have a distinct personality or distinct behavior/motivations. I liked Lily, Benson’s teammate with paintball, for example much more because her personality is clear: she loves paintball and is the best at it, but she’s also determined to get out of there. If you are looking for an exciting YA mystery/thriller with a male POV, look no further and read Variant. I believe many people could enjoy this book. This genre isn’t something I usually read, but I thoroughly enjoyed Variant. I have so many questions left after finishing, but that makes me even more excited to read the sequel!