Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: My Grandma (But she probably got it at B&N)
Age Group: Young Adult
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.
I just finished this AMAZING book, and I'm really not okay. Seriously freaking out here. I mean Goodreads says that the next book doesn't come out until freaking December next year. I'm going to die. My brain is dying. I AM DYING. This just wasn't acceptable. *tears of confusion*
Despite the horribly cruel (yet, perfect) ending, this book was seriously fantastic. It's definitely one of my favorites this year. I mean, this whole dystopian thing is getting a little over played, but The Darkest Minds gives it a new spin and taste and I just loved it! The leading guy was an adorably southern gentleman. I haven't seen that one quite yet. He was perfect, Ruby was perfect, everything was so perfect. PERFECT I am telling you! I'm thinking it ranks up there with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (my favorite book EVER) for me. My brain is sad. December. Twenty. Thirteen. An entire year away. Whyyyyyyy.
(I apologize for my bout of word vomit)
So, Ruby is in this "camp" called Thurmond, where they keep these kids with special abilities. It's awful and cruel and a thousand kinds of scary. She and this other boy (creepy kid named Martin) get broken out by this group called the Children's League. She leaves them and accidentally meets up with three of the most amazing characters I have ever read about, Chubs, Liam, and Zu. The four of them go off on this hunt to find this place called East River that's run by the "Slip Kid," in search of a way to contact their families and for Ruby to get some help in learning to control her abilities. The rest of the book revolves around them looking for this place and what happens when they find it. There's a lot of self-discovery and friendship building. And this one scene in which Ruby doesn't know how to shave her legs that made me cry really hard.
Ms.Bracken does an ah-mazing job at showing how much Ruby and the other kids lacked in their growing up because of the camps. Ruby doesn't know how to interact with other boys at first, because the camps kept the genders separated- so she hadn't seen a boy her age since she was ten. Her progression into a fully functioning girl is really interesting, and not something I've seen from books of this sort. No one wants to show how difficult it is for a girl to grow into a teenager without anyone to help her. Shopping for bras, shaving her legs- these were things she was never taught and they are covered beautifully. And the way that boys who haven't seen girls in a while react to her is really funny, in a twisted, creepy way.
Despite her awkwardness (which, let's face it, was actually kind of adorable), Ruby is a strong, independent heroine- not that she always needed to be. She was smart, but not like freakish genius smart. She was just your average girl living in a dystopian world (hehehehe). I really did like her, though. There was just something about her that made her a perfect heroine.
And then Liam was one of the best love interests I've seen yet. He wasn't a bad boy. He wasn't a cocky jerk with "more on the inside." He wasn't overly nice either, though. He was polite in that Southern way that sometimes irritates me when I see it in real people, but it made for an awesome hero. He looked out for Ruby, and didn't judge her no matter what he found out about her. And I loved him for it (and Ruby did, too). He was cute and called her "darlin'" all the time. He might have had a little bit of a hero-complex, but I didn't mind it.
Chubs and Ruby had the most perfect completely platonic friendship ever. He didn't flirt with her, he didn't have some secret love for her that is apparent to everyone one but her, he took care of her, but she took care of him too. I just loved their relationship! And the author didn't make him gay to explain why he wasn't interested in her. He was proof that not every guy had to be in love with Ruby, and that's not common these days in YA books. You know what I'm talking about, too. How it seems that every straight guy character was interested in the MC, but she has no idea, and then BOOM love triangle. (I do love a good love triangle though, don't get me wrong- as long as Tessa picks Will....) I just really liked how there was just no chance of that happening here.
And then Zu is the cutest kid ever written. She's eleven and mute, and is just so dang adorable. I love her. She is one of the reasons that Ruby is able to learn to be a normal(ish) girl. And Ruby treats her like she was her own little sister. It's really, really cute.
Obviously this is getting 5 staches (and is clearly one of my favorite Christmas presents- thanks, Nana!) and you should go read it. Like yesterday. Go run to the bookstore as fast as you can and buy this book!