When Ruby woke up on her 10th 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 emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.
Now 16, 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.
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Much more than I expected!
The Darkest Minds was a much more emotional read for me than I initially expected. I went into it thinking it would be a X-Men type story full of action and excitement. What I found was something much more human. Alexandra Bracken evokes so many feelings throughout this book that you almost feel light headed at times.
I can't say what drove Ruby's parents to lock her in the garage and call the authorities to come pick her up. It would really be too spoilerish. But imagine this scenario, if you will. Children all over are hitting puberty and developing strange, powerful and sometimes deadly abilities. Maybe not the most unique idea, it's been done...but not quite like it has in The Darkest Minds. I digress. Parents are being conditioned to fear children and are told to turn them in for 'rehabilitation'. Not all parents go along with this idea, but most do.
Rehabilitation is really no more than imprisonment and the kids with the most dangerous abilities, coded by the colors 'Reds' and 'Oranges' , are quickly disappearing from these kiddy prison camps. When Ruby is picked up she manages to skate by and be coded as a 'Green', one of the least dangerous. However, eventually someone catches on and wants to use her abilities for their own profit and helps her leave the grand daddy of all camps. But Ruby escapes this second custody and hooks up with three other kids on the run. Liam, Chubs and Zu. Eventually, they find a haven for kids like them and a mastermind of an Orange named Clancy who wants to help Ruby develop her powers.
Ruby starts off as a fairly meek heroine. She hides behinds others and is terrified of herself. She eventually comes to use her powers when trying to protect others but still has this fear of them throughout the book. Towards the end I was mentally screaming at her to just let them loose already! Though, you absolutely have to feel for Ruby, she's spent six years at Camp Thurmond and knows really nothing of the outside world or human behavior. She's basically a ten year old in a sixteen year old body. Not to mention she is terrified to even touch anyone else because of her brains powerful ability to force its way into anyone's head and see all their memories, good or bad.
The relationships she slowly forms with Liam, Chubs, Zu and eventually Clancy change everything about Ruby and how she views herself and her life. She comes to realize that there are bigger threats than herself for those she cares about and they aren't all coming from obvious places. She learns how to love, how to be in control, how to be controlled and how much she is willing to sacrifice to protect others like her.
Now, there is some of X-Men type action, it's not chalked full of it, but there are some scenes and they are pretty fricking cool. I'm hoping for much more of them in the books to come, because they really are very exciting and kids kicking ass is just fun. There is also a large amount of humor. Liam and Chubs are both great characters with smart mouths and tender hearts. Zu is a total sweetheart that I dare anyone not to love.
The relationships in The Darkest Minds will tickle your heart, the action scenes will jump start it, the mystery and intrigue may cause it to skip a beat here and there and the ending will threaten to stop it for a second or two.
- Black Heart Ali
Overall, I really enjoyed this thrilling book
- Sash & Em: A Tale of Two Bookies