by Robison Wells
**Spoilers for Variant**
The Short Story
Benson has escaped from Maxfield Academy, with a very injured Becky. He hopes he's found a safe place, but really it's worse than what he left. Lots of "new" familiar faces, and actual brand new characters team up with Benson to try to get away from the school once and for all. But nothing goes as planned.
A lot of suspense and intensity, but not many answers and a very confusing ending.
Come for the....
suspense. So much of the book has this great sense of urgency and intensity, and it kept me turning pages well past my bed time. In fact, I flew through the book in about a day. There's a great mystery set up, especially surrounding the technology that ties the kids in the town to the kids in the school. I was so curious how that all worked, and how exactly they were connected. And why anyone would want to do that to begin with. Some answers are hinted at, and that just created a lot more questions for me. The book is so fast paced, with so much that I wanted to know. But...
Don't Think About This Too Hard
- I didn't feel like I got any answers! I'm still not sure who was running the school, or why, or how they had gotten away with it for so long. I didn't understand how the town kids interacted with their school counterparts. I wasn't sure where their technology, especially their medicine, came from. Really, nothing. There were no answers to anything I was curious about.
- And then, there was that ending. A lot of new information with no explanation or context. On the second-to-last page a character says, "I'm not sure what even happened." And that's exactly how I felt.
The Big Three:
Language: a moderate amount of swearing
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: a lot of violence, including a character that is beaten to death; lots of fighting and some death