Series: The Darkest Minds, #1
Author: Alexandra Bracken
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Published: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
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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 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.
This book has been sitting on my TBR around the time that I joined Goodreads. It took me about two and a half years for me to finally pick up this book. And I wish I had picked it up sooner! I can't believe what I was missing out on! It was such a great adventure and I loved every bit of it... well... I didn't like some specific moments, but you know what I mean. It doesn't help that Alexandra Bracken it author BFFs with two of my favorite authors: Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard.
The Darkest Minds starts off with Ruby, ten years old, watching kids her age die from a sudden, mysterious illness. However, Ruby doesn't catch it, but on the morning of her tenth birthday, her parents don't recognize her. She's sent to Thurmond, a rehabilitation camp for kids who are different. But this is just the beginning. After being in the camp for six years, she is able to escape and find a trio of kids who pick her up on their way to find the secretive safe haven for kids with strange abilities. However, even safe havens aren't completely safe, and not everyone is completely honest.
From the very beginning, I was immediately fascinated by Ruby. Even though she was so young, she had to grow up quickly. She didn't have much of a childhood and didn't get to grow up like a normal kid. She had only seen the darkness in life, but when she meets Liam, Chubs, and Zu, she realizes that there is still good left in the world, even when things are terrible. Each character had their own distinct personality: Ruby was cautious, yet hopeful; Liam is positive, sometimes to a fault; Chubs is the realistic intellect; and Zu is the sweet little sister figure. Their differing personalities can cause issues, but they balance each other out.
The book kept me at the edge of my seat and unable to swipe the pages fast enough. Maybe if I had a physical copy I could read it faster, since I wouldn't have to worry about loading time. I never knew what to expect next, and when I thought I had everything figured out, things would be turned upside down! I eventually just gave up on trying to predict what would happen.
Overall, this was an amazing dystopian with paranormal elements, and they worked well together, neither element overpowered the other. It had great characters that kept the story moving and caused twists and turns in every chapter. I'm so happy I read the sequel almost immediately after I finished this!