The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

8:00 AM

Title: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: December 18, 2012 (hardcover)
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 496
Source: Copy provided by publisher

Overall: 4.5 Stars

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. 

My Thoughts:  
The Darkest Minds may have been my first time reading a novel by Alexandra Bracken, but it certainly won't be my last! I was completely intrigued by the concept of teens gaining special abilities and then feared by adults because they're not "normal" anymore. Set in the near future, The Darkest Minds is a dark imagining of a post-apocalyptic America that is crumbling apart. 

After she accidentally erased her friend's memories a year ago, Ruby has since then been terrified to speak or get close to anyone, afraid her uncontrollable powers will hurt someone she cares about again. When Thurmond begins new tests to discover any of the more dangerous kids remaining in hiding within the "rehabilitation camp", Ruby is given an opportunity to escape. On the run, she meets Liam, Zu and Chubs, a group of runaways who escaped their own camp to search for East River, rumoured to be a safe haven for teens like them who the government is so adamant to capture.  

There may be many thrilling, action-packed scenes in The Darkest Minds, but I think it's the empathy you feel for Ruby, as she struggles to accept herself and break down the barriers she's erected, which will draw you in most as a reader. I loved watching her tremendously grow as a character as the story progressed. Ruby begins as a girl weakened by fear, but emerges a strong young woman by the end of the novel, one who doesn't back down from making difficult decisions. She's a lot more powerful than she even realizes, and it's with Liam's help that she begins to open her heart again. Liam is a warm and kind person, always seeing the best in people despite living in a cruel world where everyone only thinks about their own survival.

I absolutely loved Alexandra Bracken's The Darkest Minds and couldn't set the book down for even a moment! The ending left me gasping in shock and my heart anguished, so I'm desperately awaiting the release of Never Fade, the second novel in the trilogy!

Thanks so much to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing this review copy! You can learn more about Alexandra Bracken's The Darkest Minds on Disney-Hyperion's unRequired Reading website, and if you're not already doing so, don't forget to follow HBG Canada on Twitter and "like" their Facebook page!

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  1. Wasn't this book fabulous?! I loved the concept, but I agree that it was the characters that really drew me in. I'll definitely be re-reading this at some point, and I can't wait for book 2!

  2. I've heard so many great things about this book! I need to read it.

  3. Unfortunately, I was eagerly waiting for the book but couldn't finish it :-( I didn't like it at all!

  4. This book made me angry, happy, sad, anxious all in a very short span of time. I loved this book and cant wait to read the next one!