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 recently picked up The Darkest Minds, after realizing the book getting all the hype on twitter had been sitting on my shelf since BEA. You know me and organization, sometimes I'm super-fly, sometimes I am anything but. Anyhow, I'd lost track of my BEA pile a bit, since I had decided in November that all the books had been released now, so I'd get to them when I got to them. Alas, they had not! As twitter so kindly reminded me. It was with a smidgen of guilt, but also a bit of self congratulation (hey it had just released, so in theory I was just in time) that I sat down and dug in.
I cleared it in less than a full day of reading. Yes, it's one of those.
Fast paced, easy to read, with all sorts of intriguing political twists, The Darkest Minds is an excellent entry into the dystopian genre. There's increasingly more and more competition, so that's saying something. Bracken didn't skimp on surprising twists either, much to my husbands annoyance (he loathes my out loud Oh, oh's! and Dun, dun, DUN's! not to mention the WHAT?!'s). But what I particularly liked was Ruby's mix of naiveté (she was taken out of school at 10 years old and put into, for all intense purposes, a concentration camp), and her world wariness. This is a girl who knows things are never going to be great, who expects the worst because that's all she's ever gotten, but who also doesn't know how old she is, because it's never held any importance to her survival to keep track, and who envies the education an 11 year old is getting while on the run.
What I also greatly enjoyed about the book was the lack of desperate love interest. Ruby has as much of a love affair with Zu and Chubs as she does with Liam. There's no drama when she and Liam start to fall for each other, nothing changes in the group dynamic, and the sort-of love triangle that develops at the camp is just a manipulation. I appreciate something straight up for a change, honestly I do. Especially the part where she cares just as much about her other friends as she does for Liam, it's not just important to the story, it makes me like her more.
The set up for the rest of the series is also pretty excellent, and I am thoroughly looking forward to where Bracken is going to take us. A thoroughly enjoyable read, it's also a pretty little package, I love the art direction with the cover, especially the lack of people. A trend I'm starting to notice a lot of lately, I heartily approve.
The Darkest Minds, by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Disney Hyperion, Dec 18th, 2012
My copy acquired at the BEA
My copy acquired at the BEA