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Darkest Minds, The (The Darkest Minds Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Alexandra Bracken
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (382 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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 st


Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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, WIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

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. Grades 8-12. --Ilene Cooper

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Was Completely Hooked! December 18, 2012
Format:Hardcover
You know how you start reading a book and somehow based upon the cover, blurb and other reactions you can sense whether you will like it or love it, hate it or be ambivalent to it? I'm going to admit up front that I went into The Darkest Minds with the expectation that it would be "just alright." Boy am I glad that this one surprised me!

Bracken paints a world that is almost too horrible to imagine. Children dying by the hundreds of thousands and those that survive being changed...and viewed as a threat to the adults resulting in their containment in what amounts to forced labor camps. And then if that is not bad enough...half of those survivors...exterminated...due to the adults' fear of what they may be able to do since their changes.

I don't want to talk to much about the plot of the book as I don't want to give too much away but this is a very bleak and depressing world. As we slowly get to know our main character Ruby and her group of friends we hope that there is some avenue for escape...some path to change.

This one drew me in slowly and surely...the writing style and pacing work perfectly alongside the plot. About one fourth of the way through, I was completely hooked. The characters all develop to the point that I ended up far more attached to them than I realized. Each character is so different, yet each adds a much needed component to the group so that as a whole they are made that much stronger. (I even became attached to Black Betty!)

I give Bracken much credit for managing to sneak them all under my defenses to the point that when the novel concluded I was bawling my eyes out and couldn't understand why. When had I become so attached? I'm very curious to see where this one goes and can't wait for the second book in the series.

NOTE: Complimentary copy received at BEA in exchange for an honest review.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Depressing & Simply Perfect December 27, 2012
Format:Hardcover
I do believe this is one of the most depressing endings to a book I have ever read. Actually, a lot of this book was depressing. Not in a bad way. I know, you're wondering how depressing can be a good thing. It's not. But it's not like so depressing it sucks, you know? It's so depressing it's great. I actually don't think I've ever read a book with so much death in, especially the deaths of so many children. It's absolutely heartbreaking and scary.

Once you reach the age of ten and are still alive there's a good chance you'll be labeled as a freak and shipped off to a camp. One where the parents and adults think are helping their children and finding a "cure". Naive parents... Each child is categorized depending on the abilities they posses. There's Green, Blue, Yellow, Red and Orange. The latter three being the most dangerous. Actually, I ordered it for what I believe to be from least dangerous to most. The camp where our heroine, Ruby Daly, had a few thousand children there. All the Yellow, Red and Orange's were taken from camp and 'disposed' of. Use your imagination on what that might mean...

America is beyond broke and fan past the point of desperation. The President has surpassed his two term quota and yet is still President because there really isn't much of a government to begin with. Ruby has been in 'camp' for six years and figures the rest of her life will be spent wasting away there, as the adults in America are afraid of these kids and the abilities they possess. When a test is ran to find if there are any dangerous kids hiding out amongst the Green's and the Blue's - this is where things get very interesting.

Ruby is broken out of Thurmond by a group called Children's League that is against the government but not exactly innocent themselves.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
By Marie M
Format:Hardcover
On the morning of her birthday, ten-year-old Ruby is suddenly sent to Thurmond, a rehabilitation camp for kids with special abilities where the children are classified by color depending on their powers (Greens, Blues, Yellows, Oranges, and Reds). Ruby lives in terror as the kids are subjected to abuse and even experimented on. Six years later, she seizes an opportunity to escape and finds herself tagging along with a group of escapees from another camp. They embark on a search for East River, a safe haven for kids with abilities. But as Ruby and her friends soon discover, East River isn't the place they expected it to be.

This was such a letdown. What started out as an intriguing premise turned out to be anything but that. While I was initially hooked by the setting and by the depths of darkness and despair of the world and its characters, I discovered, much to my dismay, that the story got sloppier as it unfolded. The time Ruby spent in the camp was fine (in terms of a structured plot, that is, not because I'm okay with children being tortured), but once she goes on the road trip with Liam, Chubs, and Zu, the story really meanders. Their aimless wandering was so pointless; that particular stretch in the story could have benefited from an editor's deft hand. Was a detailed shopping expedition at Wal-Mart really necessary? When the group finally ended up at East River, I hoped that Ms. Bracken would tighten the reins on her erratic plot, but unfortunately this was not the case.

The main protagonist was also a factor that prevented me from truly liking this story. Ruby's appeal is lost on me; I have no idea why several of the boys who encounter her are attracted to her.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Could stand on its own without being part of a series. However, I'm now enjoying the sequel.
Published 12 hours ago by Will Greene
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read. I can't wait to read the next ...
A great read. I can't wait to read the next one.
Published 1 day ago by Marisa
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it a chance!
I found this book in my library, and, with nothing else to read, I decided to give it a try. I actually thought it would be alright but not overly great. Read more
Published 6 days ago by KH7
2.0 out of 5 stars Epic Premise, Huge Letdown
Where do I start?

Yet again, I am sorely disappointed by a hugely popular YA title with an epic premise.

On every front. Read more
Published 7 days ago by TKnite
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good story
I like how it was not some made up fantasy world. It felt like I was reading about kids in my town. Too many stories I've read lately, is based on a setting that is beyond what we... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Monica Mewes
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
A little scattered in places but a good story. Hope there is a follow up book. Keep up the good work
Published 11 days ago by al cole
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining. Well written.
Characters nicely developed. Easy read. I'd recommend to a friend. This was the second time I've read this and it was still a good read.
Published 11 days ago by Cyndy Rankin
4.0 out of 5 stars Good storyline with interesting characters
I have read several of these psience fiction stories and this is probably the best. The characters are pretty consistent and easy to like without being too canned. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Kingjay
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
This was an interesting read about people with special abilities. It reminds me of Marvel comic characters.
Published 14 days ago by Roger W. Hawk
3.0 out of 5 stars but it was still good. It's a good choice if you love darker ...
The Darkest Minds wasn't what I expected, but it was still good. It's a good choice if you love darker stories, which I do but probably not for me.
Published 15 days ago by Olivia Robinson
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More About the Author

Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She recently relocated to New York City, where she lives in a charming apartment overflowing with books. You can visit her online at www.alexandrabracken.com or on Twitter (@alexbracken).

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#76 in Books > Teens
#76 in Books > Teens

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