Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Rating: 4.75 out of 5
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 am mad that I have had this book on my shelf for months now, and I just now got to reading it. Let’s just say that this is up there with my all time favorites series. Alexandra Bracken created this brilliant and unique story, and I don’t really have many complaints about it. I waited a few days to write this review, hoping that I could manage my rambling about the book. I just have so much to say about this book.
Before we really get into things, let’s just appreciate these characters, because they are truly amazing. Ruby develops so much in this one book it’s ridiculous. She starts out at Thurmond really scared and not confident at all, and three-quarters of the way through you can see a huge difference. She is stronger and has a little more control over her abilities. Then we have Liam, who is just perfect. Don’t get me wrong, just as the other characters, he has many flaws, but those make who he is. He wouldn’t be Liam if he wasn’t as overprotective as he is over his friends or always ready to make a sacrifice. Then, there’s Chubs, who is my spirit animal. Seriously, every word that comes out of his mouth kills me. Finally, we have sweet and little Zu who is so smart and insightful at such a young age.
When we start this book, we get all this information thrown at us about IAAN and we see how cruel these camps are. The sickest part about this book is how gullible the rest of the entire country is! The president says how the camps are good and helpful, and they just sit there and believe every word he says, when in reality, the camps are pure torture. The abilities however, are super interesting to read about. However, when reading it from Ruby’s perspective as she is in other people’s minds is very confusing at first.
This book really picks up after Ruby escapes and finds Liam, Chubs, and Zu. This is when I start loving the book, just because I love their Black Betty adventures. Chubs is so stubborn at first but as we go along we see him start caring for Ruby. These four get it some pretty intense situations especially with the skip tracers and Lady Jane and everything. But through all of these moments, Alexandra Bracken is able to release small bits of humor that provide a great comic relief.
And of course, there is Liam and Ruby. Oh goodness, I love these two so much.There are so many scenes between these two and they just melt your heart. I mean the siphoning gas scene, them at the hotel, and them at Wal-Mart. As the book goes along, you just see how much they care for one another, but everything they get close, Ruby pulls away. I knew she was scared of erasing herself, but come on RUby, just be with Liam.
I honestly wasn’t sure if they would find East River before the end of the book, but when they did, I wish they hadn’t. As soon as we meet Clancey, I know the guy is messed up. I prove to be right as he turns out to be a psychopath who can control everyone. When Chubs stood up to him, I was just sitting there cheering on, because Clancey was a real jerk. After the whole confrontation between the three and Clancey, things seem to be alright, and then Clancey is back to controlling people and manipulates Ruby to come back to him.
When the PSF agents came, I was freaking out, because the only thing I was thinking was where’s Liam? For a second I thought he was captured, and the second book would be him at another camp. But thankfully, he makes his way back to Ruby and Chubs and they finally leave East River. Everything was going great, until you know, Chubs got shot. As Ruby hit the panic button, I knew it come back to hurt them later. All we know is that Chubs is taken away to a hospital, and Liam and Ruby are carted off to the Children’s League.
There weren’t many pages left, so I figured it would end this way, with Liam and Ruby working for the Children’s League. Apparently, Alexandra Bracken isn’t fan of happy-ish endings, because what happened next blew my mind. It started out as a sweet moment between Liam and Ruby talking about how they would have met, and next thing you know, Ruby erases herself from Liam and he leaves. I had to read this several times because I was so shocked. I understand Ruby didn’t want him there, but it still crushed my heart.
Overall, this is a great read. The plot has you on the edge the entire time, and you can’t put down the book. Alexandra Bracken made it feel so realistic and you forget you are reading a book, you just feel like you’re in the backseat of Black Betty the whole time. It has action, humor, an apocalyptic tone, well-developed characters, and a sweet romance. You can find everything in The Darkest Minds.