Benson Fisher thought 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 – Goodreads
This was an interesting read for me. Up until the point where we begin the story, Benson had been a part of the foster care system and, as can be expected, transferred from home to home. Maxfield Academy was his way out of the situation and he looked forward to finding a semblance of stability through the school. Of course we can’t have that and he very quickly discovers that the school has its secrets. For starters, no one can escape.
There was a disconnect for me from the first half of the book. I felt that we moved too quickly from Benson’s arrival to the school to his urgency to leave it. I get wanting to have a fast pace, but it was difficult for me to care about him finding a way out when 1) he had only just gotten there and 2) I didn’t even know him as a character. True, the idea of possibly being confined there wouldn’t be appealing to anyone, but he didn’t even try to find out any other details about the school. He hadn’t seen anything really crazy yet! The cameras and security were creepy, of course, but I can’t think of many kids that wouldn’t at least be intrigued by the idea of no adult supervision. Benson is an exception to this and he quickly begins to try to form plans to get out. His determination, while admirable, came across as whiny at times and, unfortunately, didn’t allow much room for other character development. He lacked a certain depth and emotional range to make me truly care about his desperation to leave.
Somewhere in the middle of the book there’s a twist that I didn’t see coming. I immediately sat up and, from then on, I was glued to the pages until the very end. My detachment to Benson remained to a degree, but suddenly there was a reason to really want him to escape — I needed answers! The cliffhanger didn’t leave me with much but now, trying to put the pieces together, I’m beginning to think that the disconnect I felt from Benson makes perfect sense… *insert dramatic music here*
I’m excited to see where the next book picks up from here! While the book didn’t pack as much emotional punch as I usually want from my reads, Robison Wells has a very interesting story taking place and I’m anxious to find out more.