The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (Book One of The Darkest Minds series)
"When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America's children, but she and the other emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her- East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living."
Review: Five out of Five Stars
First off, this is my new favorite book/series. I loved it. It is unique and incredibly well written. I could gush about how awesome it is for days. But I will keep my gushing to a minimum.
World and Plot: The Darkest Minds takes place in a future America where almost all of the children have died from Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration. Sounds creepy, right? It is. Kids drop dead without any warning.
This is very disturbing, but then the kids who survive the disease start developing strange abilities. The government begins labeling these children as Psi. There are five different types of Psi: Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, and Green. Greens are the least dangerous with high intelligence and photographic memories. Blues are telekinetic and can move objects with their minds. Yellows can create electricity and use this to blow things up. Reds have the power to create and control fire. But without a doubt the most dangerous type of Psi is an Orange, they have the ability to control other people's minds. They can make you do, think, or remember whatever they want you too. Naturally, people aren't a big fan of them.
Our main character Ruby spends six years at a "rehabilitation" *cough* concentration *cough* camp in West Virginia. After she is broken out she has no idea what to do or who to trust. While getting away from the people who helped her escape she meets three other Psi kids who escaped their camp. After some rough spots at first they agree to work together to find East River, a safe heaven for Psi on the run.
Reoccurring Themes: Fear, oppression, family, friendship, love, freedom, control, and trust.
Reaction: I was hooked right from the beginning with this book. The world building is done really well. I was horrified and creeped out by Thurmond. This book was also a lot darker than I expected it to be. It doesn't skim over the gory details or grief. I felt so bad for all of those kids. I just want to give Ruby a big hug. Then after she breaks out it gets even better.
Like Ruby you're really not sure who you can trust. There's so many groups trying to control everything. The people who broke her out are sketchy and so is the government. Then when Ruby meets up with Liam, Chubs, and Zu things really get going.
The relationships between the characters grew normally and weren't forced. The friendships felt real. Liam is the nicest guy I've ever read about. You can't not love him. Chubs is a great guy when you get used to him. And Zu is so sweet and adorable. The romance was great because they actually took their time to fall in love. Liam Stewart though...#swoon.
Ruby is also a very realistic narrator. She's good at reading people and situations. Even though she's been through a lot of tough stuff she keeps going. It's one of my favorite things about her. She has a lot of trust issues after what happened to her parents and her time in Thurmond. But she always tries to keep everyone else safe.
There is a lot of action and the book never really drags. It's a roller coaster from beginning to end. I couldn't put it down (except to go to class which was a huge bummer). I've read a lot of dystopians and this one is my favorite. I highly recommend it.
Although the ending did make me feel like this:
But my overall feelings for it can be summed up by these:
"The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces." #titledrop
"Let's carpe the hell out of this diem."
"Don't be scared," she whispered. "Don't let them see."
"Dreaming led to disappointment, and disappointment to a kind of depressed funk that wasn’t easy to shake. Better to stay in the gray than get eaten by the dark."
"Maybe nothing will ever change for us, but don't you want to be around just in case it does?"
"I'm a monster, you know. I'm one of the dangerous ones."
"Rabbits need dignity and above all the will to accept their fate."
“I think maybe the most frustrating feeling in the world is to have something to say buy not know how to put it into words. To have lived through something but not be able to get it out of you before it festers.”
Also The Darkest Minds playlist is totally awesome. I've had it on repeat for weeks!