The Darkest Minds
By Alexandra Bracken
(Disney-Hyperion, Hardcover, 9781423157373, 496pp.)
Publication Date: December 2012
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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.
Alexandra Bracken is the New York Times bestsellingauthor of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. Born and raised inArizona, she moved east to study history and English at the College of William& Mary in Virginia. Alex now lives in New York City, where you can find herhard at work on her next novel in a charming little apartment that'sperpetually overflowing with books. Visit her online at www.alexandrabracken.com and onTwitter @alexbracken.
Imagine a not-too-distant future in which 98 percent of America's 10- to 17-year-olds have fallen victim to disease, and the remaining 2 percent are imprisoned in "rehabilitation camps," thanks to a paranoid government that fears the powers they possess. In this haunting novel, 16-year-old Ruby joins up with a small group of fellow camp escapees in search of the Slip Kid, a near-mythical figure who promises shelter and protection for kids on the run. Ruby is hoping for even more-someone to help her understand and control the tremendous power she possesses. Bracken (Brightly Woven, 2010) creates a gripping and terrifying dystopian world. Ruby is a reluctant heroine, strong yet vulnerable in equal measure, who will endear herself to readers. Each member of the small band of runaways traveling with Ruby is equally compelling and distinct, making the danger they face all the more terrifying. If readers can force aside nagging questions about the origins of these empowered teens and any implied connection between their powers and the illness claiming their peers, they are in for a great ride. Be prepared-the darkest minds do indeed "hide behind the most unlikely faces." (Dystopian thriller. 14 & up)—Kirkus
Gr 9 Up In this dystopian future, most preadolescents and adolescents are dead, brought down by a new disease, Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration. Ruby Daly and other survivors from her town are taken to Camp Thurmond by the Psi Special Forces to be tested, categorized, and, according to the PR, "rehabilitated." There is no rehabilitation, though, in the concentration camps for young people with special powers, just drudgery and punishment. Ruby hides a secret from the PSF she is not a Green, but an Orange, someone who can affect other people's minds. Members of the Children's League help her to escape but she is soon on the run from them as well when she learns that they intend to use her to commit violence. She joins the small band of Liam and Chubs, who are telekinetics, or Blues, and Zu, who is a Yellow, a person who can control electricity and machinery. Together the four seek East River, a sanctuary whose leader, the Slip Kid, can supposedly get messages to their parents. Before they can find the camp, they have to evade PSF soldiers, bounty hunters, and the Children's League, as well as solve the riddle of its location. While this story is full of action, it is also given depth by the difficult choices that Ruby faces. There are some fairly disturbing events and images (torture, rape, blood splattering, etc.). This book is a natural for dystopia fans but romance readers will also enjoy the blooming love between Ruby and Liam. Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI—SLJ
In the not-so-distant future, most of America's children have died; but those who live find that they have psychic abilities that range from moving objects to getting inside people's minds. Sixteen-year-old Ruby, using her powers as an Orange, has escaped the survivor facility she has lived in for six years. She has also used her abilities to make the doctors believe she is a more docile Green. Now Ruby intends to keep her secret, even from new friends, including handsome Liam, persnickety Chubs, and the mute but sweet, young Zu. This ragged band searches the Virginia countryside in hopes of finding the Slip Kid, who seems to have outsmarted the government. Instead they find trouble on almost every turn of the page, but eventually discover what seems to be a youth utopia. Bracken is skilled at ramping up the action, but there is so much going on here, it's hard to keep it all straight. Still, the character development is good, and the book's ability to tackle larger issues is solid. In the end, Ruby must make an important decision. Then it's on to book two. - Ilene Cooper—Booklist
A mysterious disease has killed most of America's children, and those few who survived have developed stunning new powers, including telekinesis and mind control. Suddenly terrified of its own children, the government rounds up the young survivors, confining them in camps where they are strictly monitored and controlled. Sixteen-year-old Ruby, imprisoned since her tenth birthday, has been keeping secret the true extent of her mind-control powers. Rescued by the Children's League, she quickly realizes that the League has plans of its own for her future and escapes her rescuers, joining up instead with a ragtag group of fellow fugitives led by would-be hero Liam. On the run from government agents, bounty hunters, League members, and even other runaways, Ruby and her companions search for the Slip Kid, the leader of an underground safe house for kids. The Slip Kid turns out also to have an agenda, and Ruby is faced with deciding how much she will sacrifice for her future and her freedom. Heart-wrenching but completely riveting, the novel pulls no punches, creating a bleak world where the best that children can hope is to escape those who would imprison or manipulate them is the best that children can hope for. Resisting the urge to overexplain, Bracken carefully employs hints and flashbacks to reveal essential background information, and the gradual revelation of the story's many secrets ratchets up the anxiety. The resolute harshness, though, is tempered by genuine emotional connections between the survivors and playful banter between friends; a blossoming romance emerges between Ruby and Liam but never overshadows Ruby's personal emotional journey. Fans of the darker elements of Collins' The Hunger Games (BCCB 11/08) and Shusterman's Unwind (BCCB 2/08) will want to pick up this inventive new take on the science fiction survival story. AM—BCCB