Title: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
No. of pages: Paperback; 488
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: October 22, 2013 (first published December 18, 2012)
Date Read: July 21, 2018
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 others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
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 may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.
I’ve seen this book circulate on Instagram for a few years now and I’m certain that the I missed so many good book releases while I was in college. It’s an honest shame. The Darkest Minds is absolutely one of those books that I can’t believe I missed reading. I finally got around to buying the entire series a few months ago but didn’t have the willpower to read it. One of the main reasons I picked it up now is due to the movie that releases August 3rd. I’m so glad I did.
The Darkest Minds follows Ruby, a sixteen-year-old that has spent the last six years in a “rehabilitation camp” for an ability that she did not ask for, cannot control, and is different from what they think it is. While out in the garden, the White Noise or Calm Control is sounded and Ruby reacts differently than everyone else. Soon, she’s taken from the camp, realizes something is wrong with the people that took her, and then end up on the run with three other Psi kids who broke out an Ohio camp. As Ruby gets acquainted with the group, she hides the fact that she is an Orange (someone who can control others minds) instead of the Green that she was originally labeled as. As their search for a safe haven continues, Ruby begins to embrace who she is and learns more from the leader of East River once they arrive. Things still seem off and once again, Ruby finds herself in a dangerous situation with the people that she once ran away from and sending the ones she trusts away in fear of their safety.
One thing I absolutely loved about this series was the newness that it brought to the Dystopic genre. A mysterious illness that kills kids once they turn ten is kind of cliche, but a mysterious illness that kills kids when they’re ten and the survivors get “superpowers,” that’s new. This entire book I felt was something super inventive. Bracken does an incredible job of setting the scene and the stage as to why these kids are the way that they are. All their lives, they’ve had to hide their abilities for fear of being seen as less than, as monsters, as unwanted. Ruby, specifically in the beginning, still has those emotions of a ten-year-old. She doesn’t understand why something is the way it is. She doesn’t understand basic things that girls her age would know, and it’s all due to being stripped of everything she’s known. The growth the Bracken writes of Ruby is incredibly well done. Her relationship with Liam is one of the strongest parts, I thought, of the book. Y’all. These are two characters who literally ripped my heart out. I was deceased reading the end. Gosh. But no spoilers. Y’all need to read this book.
I honestly don’t think there was one thing that I disliked other than Clancy’s character. His whole character arc made me dislike him thoroughly. Like, what a jerk.
I’m so incredibly excited to see this book on the movie screen. I really hope they give it the justice it deserves. This book was extremely well written. The action parts moved. The slower parts brought depth to the characters that you would have missed otherwise. Ruby is such a strong lead character; not because she is a girl, but because she is someone who woke up one day with powers, had no idea how to use them, has been beaten down for years, and still rises above. I hope so much that that comes across on the screen. I’ll definitely be picking the next book off of my shelves to read it. I can’t wait for more.