Published by HarperTeen 2011
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 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.
This is one of the books I bought during my trip to NYC last October. I have SO MUCH love for this book right now. I cannot possibly describe how awesome this book is. There's endless amounts of awesomeness dripping off the pages of this book, people. I may not be able to describe how awesome it is, but I can tell you this: I read this 373-page book in 2 days. During school time. This hardly ever happens. One in a million. Surely that tells you something. I haven't read that fast since the Hunger Games Trilogy!!!
Benson is lucky enough to receive an acceptance into the Maxfield Academy, which seems like a prestigious Ivy League sort of school. To put it in short, he's excited to see that his life is taking a turn for the better. He's driven into the school by Ms. Vaughn, a representative of the school. There he is handed over to Becky, who handles new-student orientations. Then Becky tells him the rules.
It only takes a chapter to get the whole story set up really, which I was grateful for because I detest books that feel the need to loiter. As we would expect, Benson is struggling to come to terms with the fact that he can't get out. I really admired that he refused to accept that he had no choice but to stay and follow the rules; that he knew that something was definitely wrong with Maxfield. He was a strong male lead, and for once the story isn't told from a female perspective, which I found quite refreshing. I think that Wells handled the structure of the story and all of its key elements really well, making it quite complex but at the same time easy to understand and process. The twists and turns in the story, however, were simply electrifying. I must have said, "OH MY GOD" at least five times throughout. I had suspicions and theories on what was going on but what Wells actually wrote as an answer to my lingering questions completely blew my mind out of the water. We do actually have a fair share of romance in this too, which I liked, but not so much that it overshadowed the situation, which I also liked. A favourite feature of mine is the three groups which are one of, if that the, main feature of the story. The three groups are Society, Havoc and Variant. I liked how each group had their own set of values and loyalties. The minor characters were also very good as well, and they were all different from each other in more ways than one. The cliffhanger at the end was completely unbearable, and I want to get my hands on it as soon as possible! Overall, this book has ultimately a very dark, suspicious feel with lots of tension and it's sure to keep you guessing. And you WILL NOT expect any of the twists and turns that Wells throws. Very very very highly recommended!