Woman Crush Wednesday: Suzume “Zu”


Zu was the bright little dot of sunshine in The Darkest Minds trilogy. That’s not to say she didn’t have her own issues and problems. She doesn’t speak and has seen her fair share of darkness. Even so, the fact that she’s pretty young compared to everyone else and the crew (Ruby, Chubs, and Liam) feel responsible makes Zu one of the key elements that keeps this little family together.

I really liked the journey Zu goes on in the books. Spoiler if you haven’t read the series yet! Zu eventually does speak and when she does she has a lot to say. Being quiet, she’s a great listener and has seen and heard things no child should have to witness. She hates what the dystopian America she lives in has done not only to the children that have abilities but also to the adults that have turned to drastic measures to survive.

Zu wants to live in a better world. A safer world where she and her friends don’t need to be afraid anymore. Where they don’t have to run and hide? I think the fact that Zu, who believe is only seven in the books, can eloquently say what everyone is saying and thinking.

She’s brave, a little funny, and wise beyond her years. She’s an adorable little girl and one of my favorite characters in this trilogy. Also, there’s apparently novellas centered around Zu that I haven’t read yet but I’ve heard are really good so check them out as well.

“Everyone is so afraid of each other,” Zu continued. “I don’t want to look at a grown-up and assume they’re thinking of how much they can get for me. I don’t want them to look at me and think of how badly I could hurt them. Too many…too many of my friends are in pain. They’ve been hurt very badly by what they’ve been through, but they’ve taken care of me. That’s the other side of everything. Because there are people who are afraid, and then there are people who are so brave. We only survived being hungry and scared and hurt because we had each other.” – In the Afterlight

Woman Crush Wednesday: Vida


Vida doesn’t show up in The Darkest Minds trilogy until book two, which is shame because she’s one of my favorite characters. When we first met Vida I wasn’t sure if she was going to be one of the good guys or not but she actually turns out to be a helpful ally to Ruby even when Ruby neglects to realize how much she needs a friend like Vida.

What I love most about Vida is she’s brutally honest and overprotective. She doesn’t sugar coat things for people’s benefit and let’s you know exactly what she thinks of you with no hesitation. Vida has a hard core but a soft center. When she does let people into her life she doesn’t let go. It’s hard for her to trust people but once she does she’s in it for the long haul.

Also, according to Ruby, Vida’s gorgeous and she has blue hair but I couldn’t find a picture that accurately represents the hair color and her beauty. And her relationship or friendship (it’s unclear really) with Chubs is so fantastic. Their quips with each other are so cute and funny. I just want them to love each other and be happy together always.

Honestly, I would love another Darkest Minds book just to see how she and the others are dealing with the world now. In the series the U.S. is hit be a disease called IAAN that kills kids or gives them abilities that they call Psi. Vida went through a lot when the disease hit and she also lost a lot. I’d love Vida to find happiness and although I think she’s already found a new family I’d love to see the affect that has on her.

You can learn more about Vida and all her friends in The Darkest Minds trilogy. Check it out!

Then he was stepping back, away, letting distance flood between us again. His voice was low, rough. “Give ’em hell, darlin’.”

“And for the love of God, bitch, don’t get stabbed this time!” Vida added.

Man Crush Monday: Cole Stewart


If someone asked me the best thing to come from The Darkest Minds trilogy I’d say the Stewart Brothers hands down. Besides the fact that they’re both hot with a southern charm that’s just to die for, they’re both great people even though they handle things very differently.

I won’t discuss Liam here because he already had his Monday. Today’s all about Cole. Cole has this bad boy/tough guy exterior but he truly only cares about two things: keeping his little brother safe and finding a cure for IAAN, the disease that gave kids powers.

This post is going to be spoiler free so I won’t go into all the wonderful things Cole does in the trilogy and just how amazing he is but I will say that at first I was weary of Cole. I wasn’t sure if we could trust him or not mostly because he was such a wild card. Even so, one can tell from his actions that he has the best intentions and just wants to do what he believes is right, any way he can.

Also, side note, did anyone else, just for a second, kind of like him with Ruby. Just for a second! No, just me? Okay that’s fine. Anyway, Cole is awesome and I might dare say my favorite Stewart (although Liam comes in a very very close second). His sass and smirk are great and he has a heart of gold. I’d reread the trilogy just for him (well, the last two books anyway).

“You gotta stand up and walk, Gem. You have to walk out of here. Not just for them, but for yourself. Come on. You have to walk out of here on your own two feet. – Cole Stewart, In the Afterlight

Book Review: In The Afterlight


*This book is part of my POPSUGAR 2015 Reading Challenge*

Synopsis from Amazon:

Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. Only Ruby can keep their highly dangerous prisoner in check. But with Clancy Gray, there’s no guarantee you’re fully in control, and everything comes with a price.

When the Children’s League disbands, Ruby rises up as a leader and forms an unlikely allegiance with Liam’s brother, Cole, who has a volatile secret of his own. There are still thousands of other Psi kids suffering in government “rehabilitation camps” all over the country. Freeing them–revealing the governments unspeakable abuses in the process–is the mission Ruby has claimed since her own escape from Thurmond, the worst camp in the country.

But not everyone is supportive of the plan Ruby and Cole craft to free the camps. As tensions rise, competing ideals threaten the mission to uncover the cause of IAAN, the disease that killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others with powers the government will kill to keep contained. With the fate of a generation in their hands, there is no room for error. One wrong move could be the spark that sets the world on fire.

I can’t believe this trilogy is over. It’s so hard to leave these characters because it they were so good (or bad)! And the ending was perfect as well, which is a rarity for these dystopian trilogies.

In the Afterlight started very closely to where Never Fade ended, with Ruby and the crew trying to find a way out of the recently destroyed L.A. After finally securing a way out and making there way to the Children’s League old headquarters, the group stumbles across old friends and encounter multiple issues.

Once at the headquarters things go from bad to worse in a matter of seconds with high stakes, raised tensions, and various opinions trying to figure out the best way to free the camps and find the cure to IAAN, the disease that made these kids who they are.

Ruby struggles to keep all her secrets in check, especially Cole’s dark secret, and struggles to maintain a relationship with Liam. Liam’s not innocent either, keeping his own secrets. They both struggle to trust each other when they need each other the most, causing more harm than good.

Meanwhile there’s multiple plans in motion to save all the kids in the camp and change the scope of America for the better. Unfortunately things have to get much worse before they get any better and everyone’s lives are put at risk and many are lost.

This book took me on a roller coaster of emotions. I was stressed, happy, sad, upset, angry, and annoyed. I wanted Ruby to me honest about her feelings and secrets with Liam. I wanted to give all these kids a hug. I wanted to slap President Gray, his whole family, and all the PSFs. More than anything I just wanted everyone to have their happy ending.

I won’t spoil the ending by saying if I got the happy ending I was looking for. What I will say is I’ve ready a lot of dystopian trilogies (The Hunger Games, Matched,etc.) and this is quite possibly the only one that gave me a satisfying ending. It was realistic and of course the world wasn’t perfect by the time it ended but enough was resolved for me to believe it would be.

If you haven’t given The Darkest Minds trilogy a try yet you definitely need. It’s worth a read and you won’t regret it. Thanks to Kieran Scott for recommending the series to me and giving me the last book. One of the greatest books I’ve read in a while. Check it out.

*Side note: I really loved the fact that when you put all the titles together of the trilogy it says, “The Darkest Minds Never Fade In The Afterlight.” Cool.

Favorite Line:

“What I’m trying to get at is, as bad as everything seems, I think, at its heart, life is good. It doesn’t throw anything at us that it knows we can’t handle—and, even if it takes its time, it turns everything right side up again.”

Stars: 5 out of 5. So good! I want to read this whole trilogy over again. Especially knowing how it all ends now, reading it again would be interesting.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!!! For explanation please see previous.

Other Reviews


Deadly Darlings

Icey Books