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The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (edition 2012)

by Alexandra Bracken

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952869,119 (3.91)15
Title:The Darkest Minds
Authors:Alexandra Bracken
Info:Hyperion Book CH (2012), Hardcover, 496 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

  1. 00
    Unwind by Neal Shusterman (aeleone)
    aeleone: Similar set up with children abandoned by their parents sent to a camp. The Unwind series does not have supernatural powers, but it does have a very messed up world in which children are not valued.

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They call it IAAN: Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration. The disease is devastating, attacking all children from 8-14 years old, with a high mortality rate. Worse than dying, though, is surviving. Survivors are the dangerous ones, the ones that end up with powers they can't control. It is on the morning of Ruby's tenth birthday when her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. She is sent to Thurmond, one of the government's "rehabilitation camps" for children. Six years later, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones, one of the survivors. After she's is found out, Ruby finds herself on the run. There is only one safe haven left for people like her, if it even exists. East River and the protection of the Slip Kid. There, it is said, children are protected and allowed to learn how to use their new powers in peace. If only that were true.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken is the first in a trilogy of the same name. We are introduced to a dystopian America. Children across the country all come down with this mysterious illness and, if they recover, develop psychic powers. Instead of treating this as a blessing, society sees it as a danger and the children are taken from their homes to be imprisoned in "rehabilitation" camps. This being a YA dystopia novel, they are in fact concentration camps where the children are locked up, abused and sometimes killed. Thurmond is one of many camps and the one where the story's main protagonist ends up. Ruby manages to survive for six years, hiding her powers in an attempt to seem less threatening, when she is discovered by an outside group that "rescues" her for their own purposes. Ruby's escape from both her oppressors and rescuers ensues.

The story is told entirely from Ruby's first person perspective. Ruby is scared, hesitant, naive, confused and has low self esteem, all believable given the horrible circumstances she's been put in. She makes for an odd protagonist. The thoughts in her head contrast greatly with how the other characters see her. While constantly doubting herself, fearful of making a mistake and seeing herself as a monster, the other characters view Ruby as a strong person. I think it's a deliberate contrast being used to show Ruby's potential. Quite naturally Ruby meets up with a small group of kids. Liam is the ultra good guy and love interest. Chubs is the smart, nerdy yet fiercely loyal friend. Zu is the most adorable young girl I've read about in a while who wants nothing more than for the world to go back to normal. I kept wishing I could give her a hug.

The book starts off with a really strong premise and a hook that sucks you right in. Then the characters end up on a long and winding road trip which the plot reflects as the story starts to meander. Many different factions are mentioned but not really fleshed out so it's hard to tell if they're important or not. I also wish that Bracken had gone more into the virus that is the trigger. Why does it only affect kids of a certain age? Why has it not spread globally? This is a modern day story and our society is so global that it would be virtually impossible to contain an outbreak of this magnitude, yet it seems that the rest of the world is barely affected. It also doesn't make sense that when the majority of the children have died to round up and imprison or kill of the rest since no children means no future society. Perhaps these questions will be addressed later on. There is also a fairly predictable villain and an instant love side story. This is YA after all.

Once the road trip finally reaches it's destination, the story build to an explosive and exciting conclusion that left me wanting to know what happens next. Even with it's flaws, the book was an enjoyable read. ( )
  Narilka | Oct 25, 2016 |
Be prepared with the second book in the series before you finish this one. It's not a cliffhanger ending, but it leaves you fairly desperate to know what happens next. ( )
  benandhil | Sep 28, 2016 |
This was awesome with just a hint of romance and true feelings of live without a ton hubba-balu of gushy emotions and back and forth and a female that's sleeps with the wrong person then sleeps with the right person.
The character in this book truly emerges and you witness a true evolution of a character as she grows and matures.
In other words : ❤️ it!! ( )
  MrNattania | Sep 5, 2016 |
This was awesome with just a hint of romance and true feelings of live without a ton hubba-balu of gushy emotions and back and forth and a female that's sleeps with the wrong person then sleeps with the right person.
The character in this book truly emerges and you witness a true evolution of a character as she grows and matures.
In other words : ❤️ it!! ( )
  JeffreyNattania | Aug 29, 2016 |
The Psi Kids....

The Darkest Minds, is set in a world where, when kids reach the age of ten they can contract this disease, IAAN, that leaves them with super powerful abilities, a.k.a. Psi abilities. The government and even a lot of the parents are afraid of the kids so the government instituted these supposed, rehabilitation camps which in reality are corrupt. The story follows a group of kids and how they are trying to survive in a world amidst the skip tracers and the Psi Special Forces that are always on the hunt to capture kids and send them to these camps, for a reward. 
When I first started reading this I was kind of wondering where this story was going and I didn't really take to one of the main characters, Ruby, that much. She was just very indecisive and unsure of herself and she kept everything inside which I understand was probably her nature as a result of her traumatic situation but some of the choices she made and things she did were beyond stupid and irritating. Once I got a little further into the story though and other characters came into the picture, like Chubs, Liam & Zu, I started really getting into it. I really like those three the most, but all of their stories were pretty heart-wrenching. Ruby even started to grow some confidence toward the end so it was nice to see her kind of shed a little of her emotional baggage. And the ending, wow, it was just like being on an emotional roller coaster ride. I literally felt my stomach drop! It was really good but awful on the heart! You definitely want to have the second book near at hand when you finish this one.  ( )
  EmpressReece | Aug 22, 2016 |
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"Sixteen-year-old Ruby breaks out of a government-run 'rehabilitation camp' for teens who acquired dangerous powers after surviving a virus that wiped out most American children"--

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