Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken is a young adult novel about a world in which the children and teens of the world have either died from a strange illness or developed mental powers. The adults are both scared for their children, and in some cases of them. Ruby was only ten when her parents locked her in the garage and she was sent to a camp for the newly 'gifted' children. Six years later Ruby is still struggling with her abilities, the conditions she has survived, and the idea of freedom. On the run, Ruby discovers that there are multiple faction and dangers working in the world. Much has changed since she was last outside a fence, and discovering who she can trust is more challenging than surviving in the camp ever was. Can Ruby survive on the outside, and can she protect those that help her from her uncontrolled abilities.

The Darkest Minds is a novel about trusting yourself, discovering yourself, and finding the truth. Ruby is lost, with abilities that she fears and cannot control. She is searching for what all of us want; understanding, acceptance, and love. However, trusting others and herself are huge barriers between her and her goals. She is not all that competent with her abilities, and does not trust herself much, but still does her best. I like that she is spunky, at least on the inside, though still wants to avoid causing anyone else any pain. She might not always make the best choices, in fact there were a few moments when I really wanted to have a little discussion with her and wake her up, but all of her choices are based on her heart. Liam, Chubs, and Suzume were fantastic and dynamic characters in their own right. Their was nothing secondary about these secondary characters. Her relationships with all three are deep and believable.

The Darkest Minds is a highly entertaining and engaging read. It is however, not an easy read emotionally. It is highly charged, come on they round up kids and send them to 'rehabilitation' camps and fear them, and the world building is done so well that you could believe that the scenario could happen anywhere. The fear, mob mentality, and power plays in the world are something I could honestly see playing out in the world.

I highly recommend The Darkest Mind to young adult and adult readers. This dystopian novel has rich characters, a world to fear, and deep set conspiracies and plots that will have you looking over your shoulder long after putting it down. There are significant amounts of death, violence, and cruelty in the book- so I do not recommend it for younger or more sensitive readers. I am looking forward to reading the sequel(s) that I have been told are coming.
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