Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who 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 a life worth living.
I’ve had this book on my book shelf for so long and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to read it. Dystopian fiction has become one of the hottest genres right now so you’re hard pressed to find a dystopian novel that really stands out but The Darkest Minds does just that.
Alexandra Bracken has crafted a novel that weaves together a rag tag group of characters that in a normal world probably wouldn’t make sense but works perfectly in this dystopian world where children are either dead or outcast. There is Liam, the hopelessly hopeful hero, who just wants to save and protect everyone. He cares for everyone and always looks for the good in people even when it’s not there. He’s optimistic but not in an annoying way.
Of course in a dystopian world where children are being hunted down by the government, bounty hunters (also know as skip tracers) and an anti-government terrorist group, being optimistic isn’t always helpful. That’s where Charlie “Chubs” Meriweather steps in. He’s a realist that’s untrusting of strangers and always guarded. He doesn’t like taking risks and prefers calculated plans. He’s the kind of kid that knows how to cross stitch in case someone needs stitches, which is handy but isn’t something you expect from a kid.
Rounding out the group is little Zu, the youngest and smallest of the group, that everyone wants to protect and keep safe. What’s great about Zu, though, is she doesn’t actually need the group’s protection. If anything they need her. She’s got the strongest ability out of the group, right after Ruby, and can handle her own when need be. The fact that she is mute and afraid of her powers makes her the perfect mirror image for Ruby who has been running scared from her abilities since the age of 10.
Ruby, herself, is the type of heroine that you want to root for. She makes mistakes but they’re mistakes that can be expected of a sixteen year old girl that’s been locked up for almost half her life. What I loved about Ruby is even though she can’t see it herself she is one of the most, if not the most, selfless character in the novel. All she wants to do is protect the people she cares about and she does that in any way she can. Although I didn’t always agree with her choices I respected her for them. I cheered with her when her plans worked and cried when they fell apart.
Following these four on their journey as they tried to find East River, the Promised Land for “freaks”, and everything that happened after I laughed, screamed, had butterflies, went back to reread, and cried. There are so many elements in this novel that you have to be paying attention to keep up. No one can be trusted and nothing is ever as it seems and just when you think you have it all figured out Bracken hits you with another curve ball and you’re floored. It’s brilliant!
If you haven’t checked out The Darkest Minds yet you really need to. Meanwhile, I’m going to get started on the next book.
‘The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.’
Stars: 5 out of 5. No doubt about it.
Borrow or Buy: Buy!!! I’m so glad I own this book!