“We’ll just have to try to make better mistakes tomorrow.”
― Alexandra Bracken,
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have 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 having a life worth living.
I haven’t started a new Dystopian series in awhile. I’ve had this book on my shelf for at least a year, maybe more. But I’ve followed Alexandra Bracken on Instagram for awhile now and the first book I read of hers was actually Passenger, and I really liked it. I thought it was a little slow in the beginning but I loved the story line and the ending.
While following Bracken on Instagram I saw her post a few stories talking about how The Darkest Minds is in production right now. I had not heard that it was going to be a movie until I saw her posting from the set one day. I think she has a cameo in the movie. IMDB says Mandy Moore and the girl who played Rue in The Hunger Games are going to be in it. I think the girl who played Rue is actually playing Ruby, the main character. Pretty cool! So naturally I had to pick up the book then and read it. I can’t have the movie coming out before I read the book! It’s pretty thick but I finished it in about 4-5 days.
The story is fast paced and I enjoyed the characters. It did seem a little cliche only because I read a billion and one Dystopia novels in the past few years because they got so popular but I would not think it was cliche if I had read it 2 years ago. I just got a little burnt out on it I guess. But not enough to deter me from reading it!
The story had elements of a Dystopian but it also kind of reminded me of X-Men. All the kids between certain ages like 8-18 or so developed these abilities. And if you didn’t develop these abilities, you contracted an illness called IAAN that killed you. And 98% of the population of kids between 8-18 have died rather than develop special abilities. Some can mess with your mind in different ways and effect your feelings, some can move things with their minds, others have crazy photographic memories and are good analytically, and then some can control electricity. Each ability is labeled with a color in the book, so if you can move things with your mind you’re a Blue and if you can control peoples thoughts or dreams you’re an Orange. And some of the abilities are more prevalent than others.
Anyway, the government doesn’t know what to do with these kids now. They are a danger to society in their eyes and instead of creating programs to help them they basically make these concentration camps and keep the kids in those. They take them from their families and make them work and live in these sad living conditions and none of the officers are nice to them. And some of the colors that pose bigger threats (such as Orange and Red) mysteriously are taken away from the camps and the other kids have no idea where they have taken them. Did the government decide to kill them? Did the government decide to try and use them as weapons? That’s something we still don’t know really.
Early on in the story, Ruby and another boy get liberated from the camp. They both had been posing as Greens even though they are Oranges. They used their abilities right when they got into the camps to stay undercover. And the officers don’t allow the kids to use their abilities so there is never a way to really check what color you actually are after you’re sorted unless you get caught using them.
They are liberated by a woman posing as a doctor but who is actually a part of the rebel group called The Children’s League. They say they just want to help all the kids, even though they’re only rescuing Oranges at the time, but you find out they want an army for themselves and not everything is black and white with them. They may be doing some good but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in The Children’s League.
Once Ruby figures this out she runs off and finds a small group of kids surviving on their own looking for a camp of kids that supposedly have a powerful Orange that helps connect people back with their families. But just like everything else in this story, nothing is black and white. Like most Dystopia stories, the characters must grow up and realize that the world is full of grey areas. And what trading one evil for another means.
I went and bought the second novel, Never Fade, yesterday. I am very excited to continue Ruby, Liam, and Chubs story. However, I did take a little break from reading fantasy. Crazy! I know. But it’s summer and I wanted a summery read so now I am currently reading When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. It’s a cutesy, college romance about two Indian students are pushed together in an arranged marriage by their families. The boy, Rishi is all about it because he appreciates tradition but the girl, Dimple just wants to focus on college and becoming an App designer. It’s been a quick, happy read so far. I’m a little more than halfway done with it.
What are some of your TBR summer reads? Any good recommendations?