Monday, February 20, 2012

Whitney Awards, Book Review, and More

At this time of year, judges are voraciously reading finalist entries in The Whitney Awards. LDS Authors whose books have been nominated then whittled down to five of the best in a genre are now competing for the coveted top spot. Or, in the case of the 2010 entries, a tie. Winners will be announced in early May at the conclusion of the LDStorymaker Conference. Today I will review a YA Speculative Whitney finalist whose cover was also a Reader's Choice Best Genre Cover winner in a contest last week through LDS Publisher: Variant by Robison Wells.
The book blurb: Benson Fisher thought that 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 ruled 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.
  With a flavor reminiscent of Hunger Games, Wells creates a believable story of survival hidden within the familiarity of our own world, but Maxfield Academy is anything but safe and familiar. In the words of Wells, it's a "modern-day, real-world, with a sci-fi twist". I personally like that better than most way-out fantasy or sci-fi books. 
  The characters are intriguing and unpredictable. Both character and plot causes Benson Fisher not to trust anyone but himself. This page turner kept me guessing. Book #1 leaves us with a few questions answered and new ones sparked in cliff-hanging circumstances. Can’t wait for Feedback, the next and final installment.
  Variant is surprisingly clean with maybe three or four swear words, less violence than Hunger Games, and no sex. I highly recommend it for young adult and adult male and female readers.


Donna K. Weaver said...

I loved this book. He's as good at twists as his brother, Dan. lol

Renae W. Mackley said...

I agree, Donna. Thanks for the comment.

Hannah said...

Sounds like fun. A very persuasive review.