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The Darkest Minds Hardcover – December 18, 2012

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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

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
  • Series: Darkest Minds (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (December 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423157370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423157373
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (574 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf on 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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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Step Into Fiction on 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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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Miss Print VINE VOICE on December 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, she didn't know her world was about to change. She knew about the disease sweeping through the country's children-it was impossible to miss when kids kept dying. She didn't know that surviving the disease was the worse outcome.

Surviving, it turns out, was another word for changing-waking up one day with abilities that used to be the impossible stuff of movies; waking up with strange powers that most of the kids, especially Ruby, can't begin to understand. Or control.

Now sixteen, Ruby knows just how dangerous she is. She knows she'll never be allowed to leave Thurmond, the government camp set up to "rehabilitate" other kids like her.

She also knows that she has to escape to survive.

On the run, desperate to get away, Ruby soon falls in with other kids looking for a sanctuary called East River. Ruby knows she can't let anyone get close-not after what happened on her tenth birthday-but maybe they can all use each other to get to East River in one piece.

Life outside Thurmond isn't what Ruby expected. Turns out, staying under the radar is hard when you're dangerous. Ruby lost control of her life when she was ten years old. If she can learn more about her own abilities, she might be able to reclaim that control. But everything in life comes with a price. Especially freedom in The Darkest Minds (2012) by Alexandra Bracken.

The Darkest Minds is Bracken's second novel. It is also the first in a trilogy.

This book was one of my most anticipated 2012 reads. I fell in love with Bracken's debut novel Brightly Woven and ever since I could not wait to see what she released next.

Part road trip, part sci-fi adventure, part dystopian The Darkest Minds does not disappoint.
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