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.
Released: September 26, 2011 Pages: 373
Publisher: HarperTeen Source: Library
First Look: ***** I’ve had this book on my to-read shelf for about as long as I’ve even had a to-read shelf. I’m not sure why I haven’t checked it out until now. It looked interesting, and I tend to enjoy stories of kids trapped in an enclosed space, like Gone. I’m not sure why this is—it’s a reading quirk of mine, I guess.
Setting: ***** The school was strange and creepy. I couldn’t figure it out, which was the point. This was a setting I enjoyed reading about, because I wanted so badly to know what the purpose of it was. Other than that, I don’t have anything else to say about it.
Characters:***** Benson was a fighter, which I liked. I could feel his emotion, and how badly he wanted to get out of the school. The other characters, too, felt like real people. I can see how ordinary teenagers trapped in this place would have turned into the characters they are now.
I had some trouble keeping the side characters straight, though. Sometimes it was because their names were similar, or I just couldn’t remember which is which. I would’ve preferred either to get to know each side character better so I could tell them apart, or just to have less named side characters.
Plot:***** The plot was addicting. Even if I hadn’t cared about the characters and hated the writing, the plot would’ve still kept me going. If I’m teased with a question like “What on earth is going on with this school?”, my sense of curiosity needs to know the answer. That’s what kept me turning the pages as fast as I did.
It was fast paced, too. There were enough reveals along the way to satisfy my curiosity enough to last me through till the big questions were answered. It kept me in suspense, though, the entire time.
Uniqueness: *****It stands out from other books of the type. Okay, so there aren’t many other books like this, but it stands out from the standard mysterious-boarding-school thing (though it did have a Point Blank vibe to it).
Writing:***** The writing was fine. I have nothing to criticize, which is awesome. The first person worked well for the book and writing style. This is neither a good nor bad thing, but I almost feel like a few different POVs would have worked well. The book is great as is, but the different perspectives might’ve added an interesting twist to it.
Likes: There was a M*A*S*H reference! Yay!
Dislikes: Nothing worth mentioning.
Overall: This book is addicting. I loved it. I was hooked from the very start, and now it left me wanting the sequel. The characters are awesome and realistic. It presents a strange situation that you’ll want to figure out. It keeps you in suspense the entire time. I had a hard time putting it down. Highly, highly recommended!