My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads: 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.
My Take: Okay, another book about a boarding school. Not original except there are no vampires. But, oh. It gets good. It really is different. Very different. First of all, the protagonist is a 17 year old boy. Second, the school has no teachers and the most bizarre curriculum. And it's a prison. Nobody gets out. The rules are odd and social mores are determined by a talking head on the television and the students themselves. Punishment is severe and inconsistent. Death is a real threat.
Benson arrives at the school and quickly wants to leave. He is approached by the leaders of the three gangs; The Society, Havocs and the Variants. In order to survive, he must choose one. Guess which one he chooses. Go ahead. Guess. They play paintball for high stakes. A prissy student teaches odd subjects dictated by someone nobody has seen. If someone is sent to detention, it can be assumed they are killed. There is blood. There are cameras and microphones. The Society are the security and the revel in their duties. Their behavior is rewarded in points which is currency.
It just gets more and more bizarre and just when I thought I had it figured out, the author threw in a curve ball. No way. That's about the time Benson understands how precarious his position and his life really is. And then another curveball. And another. And then the ending left me with my mouth hanging open. What the crap? Not a "what the crap" stupid ending but "what the crap" I can't wait for the next book. Then being the weirdo I am, I read the acknowledgments and I realized the author lives in the same county I do.
Dude. Don't make me stalk you.