Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds is a young adult dystopia that centers on Ruby and her entourage of gifted teens. Ruby is forced into a rehabilitation camp at age ten after surviving an epidemic that killed off the majority of the US’s children and at age sixteen realizes she is one fo the most dangerous kinds of gifted children. She ends up in a group with Liam, Chubs, and Zu as they embark to discover what it means to be Orange, Blue, Green, and Yellow in a world where these colors signify danger and death.
This novel has been one of my favorite dystopian stories I’ve ever read. Ruby is well-developed, likable, and actually smart. She’s not the kind of girl to run into a dark basement because she heard a squeak kind of smart. She thinks events through and decides what would be the best course of action. Very refreshing. Not only that, but the friendships develop in a way that involves awkwardness, caution, and adoration, the way they do for everyone.
The plot started on a single idea and expanded to four separate outcomes. There are twists behind every chapter and even the characters change sides from page to page. It was a lengthy novel, but well worth the time. I can’t imagine this novel being less explained or constructed. Each tiny detail Bracken included was somehow needed in the grand scheme of things.
Most of my novels receive poor ratings because there was a significant lack in political plot lines. The Darkest Minds does not disappoint. Fortunately, Ruby is unaware of all the groups trying to track her down, so they are explained in length so the reader understands the dangers without missing the major plot twists later on. The reader follows the corrupted government, the ill-advised PSFs, the manipulating Children’s League, and the tribal groups of Colors who have escaped the camps. Each group is just and evil in their own ways, which provides a thrilling political upheaval experience.
The Darkest Minds is my second favorite dystopian novel read this year, only behind Divergent. The characters are established, the story constructed, and the politics explored, explained, and important to the story line. Ruby was amazing to follow, and the choices she makes are some that many of us probably wouldn’t have the gall to carry out.
Rating: 5 / 5 stars