I’m not even really sure where to start with this book, other than to say that it is probably among my top reads of the year. I will admit up front that this review and the summary of this book don’t really do the story justice in my opinion.
In The Darkest Minds, Children have a ‘disease’ and those not affected by this disease drop dead before the age of 10. Those that don’t die, start to realize abilities that are unexplainable and uncontrollable. The abilities differ, some are rather harmless for the most part, such as becoming smarter and being able to understand things far beyond their years, but others are more dangerous and harder to control, such as telekinesis, mind reading and mind control.
Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday different in some way. Suddenly her parents don’t know her and they have her taken away. She’s sent to Thurmond which is a government run ‘rehab’ camp. Unfortunately for the children here there is no rehab taking place. They aren’t allowed to do anything a normal child would be able to do. Instead they are separated based on color (which defines their abilities) and are forced to perform menial tasks.
Before you know it, it’s six years later and Ruby manages to make her escape with the help of someone on the inside who isn’t exactly as appears. Eventually Ruby meets up with a rag tag group of escapees from another camp. Liam, a blue; Chubbs a green; and Zu a yellow. They are on the hunt for a hidden camp where other kids have gathered and manage to remain hidden from the authorities.
What I loved about this book is that it has a little bit of everything in it. Do you like action? Because this one is packed full of it. Do you like humor? Because there is definitely some of that.
When a girl cries, few things are more worthless than a boy. Having two of them just meant that they stared at each other helplessly instead of at me. Chubs and Liam stood, up to their ears in awkward, until Chubs finally reached out and patted my head like he would have patted a dog.
How about a little bit of romance?
“God.” He shook his head, mouth twisting into a shadow of a smile. “Did you know…you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forget to breathe? I’ll be looking at you, and my chest will get so tight…and it’s like, the only thought in my head is how much I want to reach over and kiss you.”
What made this book for me were the characters. Bracken brought every single one of them to life for me as a reader and that takes incredible talent.
Ruby, the young girl who has spent her last 6 years hiding who and what she is for fear of experimentation or worse even… death. Seeing her growth, seeing her come into her own and learn to trust people who she has learned to count on was wonderful.
Chubbs… I wanted to dislike him, but his sarcasm, wit and urge to protect those he cared for was written perfectly.
“Uh, no thanks. I read Lord of the Flies. I know how this works-everyone starts dancing around the fire and painting their faces and worshipping a decapitated pig head and then someone gets hit by a boulder and plummets to their death-and, surprise, it’s the fat kid in glasses.”
But what I loved most about him, was his dedication to his friends.
Liam – *sigh* that boy. From the very beginning I adored him. He has this quiet confidence about him and the layer of guilt that he wears and tries to hide from everyone broke my heart. And don’t even get me started on him calling her ‘darlin’. He’s not perfect, that’s absolutely made clear from the get-go, but he is determined and devoted and wonderfully sweet.
I loved the progression of the relationship between Ruby and each one of the characters each was perfectly developed in my opinion.
I’m kind of shying away from plot details other than the basics if you can’t tell. That’s because I don’t want to spoil or give anything away in regards to the ultimate outcome. Like I said before, the story is filled with action and their path is definitely not an easy one.
The end of this book will have your heart pounding and tears in your eyes, that I can promise and I’ll be the first in line for book 2 at the end of this year when it’s released.
If you enjoy dystopian with action, twists, turns and even some romance, excellently developed characters who will pull you in and only let you go once you’ve turned that last page, then you need to give this a read!