young adult book reviews & more

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Ruby remembers the first time she saw someone die—it was right in front of her in elementary school. That’s back when the disease was still new and no one knew how to deal with it, especially the children who didn’t die, especially the children who started exhibiting strange…abilities. When Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday, there’s something different about her, something so terrifying that she immediately gets sent to Thurmond, a government “rehabilitation” camp, meant to fix her and the other hundreds upon thousands of kids like her. But there is no cure but death for the dangerous ones, and six years later, when she finds out that’s the category into which she falls, she barely makes it out of Thurmond alive. On the run from too many enemies and desperate for answers, Ruby joins up with another group of runaways. She’s reluctant to completely trust them with her secrets, because if they knew who she was and what she was really capable of, they might not see her the same way. Torn between a life of danger but the first chance at freedom she’s ever had and her fear of hurting her new friends, especially Liam, Ruby will have to decide whether she’ll let herself be used as a weapon or if she can take control of her power for good.

I was such a huge fan of Bracken’s first YA, Brightly Woven, that I knew that I had to get my hands on her second, The Darkest Minds. And just as I hoped and expected, all the best qualities from her first transferred to her second, from her exquisite attention to detail to her superb storytelling. This was a story that completely swept me away, because whether it’s a fantasy world, as in Brightly Woven, or a dark futuristic America, like in The Darkest Minds, Bracken really knows her worldbuilding. And the backdrop for this story is a particularly harrowing one, where children are imprisoned because adults fear their mysterious powers. In the midst of all this horror is Ruby, a strong girl who doesn’t realize just how strong she is. Her character was really the main reason that I had to keep reading on, because I had to know where her choices would lead and how this would affect all the other people she had come to love. With extremely vivid characters, a suspenseful plot, a richly developed world and an incredible story, The Darkest Minds is a novel that will stay on my mind for a long time.

The Darkest Minds will be enjoyed by fans of Candor by Pam Bachorz, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, and Wither by Lauren DeStefano.

Rating: 4.75

Review copy from ALA

8 munch(es) :

Briana said...

I'm reading this one now and am only 28 pages in. I understand that isn't far at all but for some reason I haven't connected with it yet.

I'll make sure to read it tonight though and get myself entangled in the story :)

Rachael Stein said...

Briana -
This story slowly draws you in. I was up til 3 in the morning reading because I just couldn't put it down! (And I hadn't even realized that much time had passed!)

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