Monday, December 17, 2012

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Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Series: 1st book in the Darkest Minds series
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Source: galley from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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'll be honest...I didn't read that synopsis very well the first time around.  I think I saw "frightening abilities" and said, Yep, I need to read that one.  Imagine my surprise and excitement when the book turned into something so much more than just your average superpower-type story:  daring escapes, a quest for a kid of near mythical proportions, and friendships to rival that of The Goonies.

From the very first chapter of The Darkest Minds, you are catapulted into the chaos of Ruby's life.  One minute she's just an average girl, and the next, she's not.  And now her parents are locking her in the garage, afraid of her.  Then she's being carted away to a rehabilitation camp.  It's all sad and daunting and over as quickly as it began, though hopefully it's left an indelible mark upon the reader, inciting them to question what it means to be human, among other things, once they see how the government is treating those kids with special abilities.

As readers, we only know what Ruby knows since it's told strictly from her point-of-view, and that's not a whole lot considering she's spent the last six years in a rehabilitation camp.  But we know enough to question everyone's motives, even those trying to help her escape.  Ruby isn't very trusting -- with good reason -- but she falls in with a band of misfits who are searching for the Slip Kid, a kid with abilities who has supposedly created a safe haven for others like them, and I don't think she could've done better for herself if she were trying to find them.

Despite some misgivings at first, the foursome become friends and allies during their journey to find the Slip Kid.  The friendship that blossoms is so genuine and comfortable, from the bickering between Chubs and Ruby to the girl-time with Suzume to the more-than-friends relationship that develops between Ruby and Liam.  I found this group of kids absolutely endearing, and I hoped more than anything that they'd find the Slip Kid and gain some semblance of a normal life after everything they'd endured.

Remember that old adage, "Be careful what you wish for"?  Keep that in mind when reading this novel.  And have faith in Ruby because she may be a tad naive and uncertain after her absence from the real world, but she can be calculating or selfless when the situation warrants.  Her character is one that grows on you, especially the more you see her interact with others and see how socially awkward she's become because of her time in the camp and because of her ability.

The Darkest Minds was a thoroughly engaging read that left my heart pounding...right before it broke into a million little pieces.  It's a gut-wrenching and harrowing tale of survival and trying to protect those you love, even if it means sacrificing your own chance at a happy ending...if such a thing exists in a world like this one.

Favorite Quotes:

"We'll just have to try to make better mistakes tomorrow."

"First of all, armadas are comprised of ships," Chubs said.  "And second, no, they wouldn't send one out for a few freaks."

"Relax, buddy; I got this," Liam said.
"You keep saying that," Chubs muttered, sitting back, "and then it's Oh, sorry team, let's huddle together for warmth while the bears try to break in and eat our food."
"Yeah...sorry about that," Liam said.  "But hey, what's life without a little adversity?"

"You really think that?" Liam sat up and pressed his lips against my hair.  "'Cause, frankly, the way I see it, you and me?  Inevitable.  Let's say we didn't get stuck in those god-awful camps--no, just listen.  I'm going to tell you the amazing story of us."

Rating:  Photobucket 1/2


5 comments:

  1. Yay -- glad you loved it.

    Chubs, Liam, Suzume = awesome. I just love those guys. And they actually seemed like real kids to me. Like I could see them on the street and recognize them. Ruby is more of an enigma, but by the end, she really grew on me. And then.... oh, man.That ending just snuck up and smacked me right in the face.

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    1. Me, too. I'm glad I went into it expecting something entirely different. :) Also, those kids. They had my heart the moment Zu pulled Ruby into that van. That ending slayed me, but I'm hopeful since it IS only the first book in the series. :)

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  2. I've heard so many mixed reviews on this one, but I'm so glad that you enjoyed it! I can't wait to read this one, because I absolutely love stories about people with superpowers. Add friendship and daring escapes? Count me in! Beautiful review and very thought provoking! :D

    Daphne @ Reading Until Dawn

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    1. Oh, I'm glad I was able to sway you! :P I hope you love The Darkest Minds as much as I did!

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  3. SOOOO Glad you loved this one! Reading it as we speak and hoping I love it as much as you! <3

    - Lili

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