Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Goodreads // When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have 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 having a life worth living.


It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to read this kind of popular YA dystopia, though I definitely still enjoy seeing the movie adaptations of the older ones I read a few years ago, especially The Maze Runner series. But I wasn’t a fan of The Darkest Minds’ adaptation. It was clearly lacking quite a bit even for someone that hadn’t read the book.  Now, I can honestly say that even just about 30% into the book it was clear it was a woefully inferior adaptation.

So, what did I think about the book? I really enjoyed it! It was fast-paced, unpredictable, and had such a rich history y, context, and emotional depth. It was a very well-done dystopia, for once.

The Darkest Minds follows Ruby, who’s been living at a ‘rehabilitation camp’ for six years, ever since she survived the deadly disease that killed most of America’s children and gave psychic powers to those who survived. Plot-wise, it was a journey for survival full of sweet and thrilling moments, of camaraderie, but also the horror of what was happening. This is a surprisingly dark story. Adults turned on the surviving children with fear and horror, trusting their corrupt government to save them even as things started going severely downhill. I was really surprised by how poignant and thought-provoking this story turned out to be.

Ruby, the main character, was just a regular innocent kid like everyone else. She was taken from her home, handcuffed, and shoved roughly into a truck, and then treated as a criminal, a dangerous criminal in a max security prison instead of a normal child.

Frankly, I wasn’t a huge fan of Ruby at first. I just didn’t agree with a few of her decisions and overall, I think that the traumatic effects the last few years surely had on her weren’t present enough in the story. It wasn’t realistic enough, I think. For Chubs, Liam, and Suzume (who I liked much more than Ruby, immediately) I think the effects were clearer.

“The darkest minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.”

Overall, I really liked The Darkest Minds. It’s refreshingly dark, dystopian YA for a book that published in 2012, and I’m eager to see what happens next in the series.

*I wish there was another adaptation made into a series, but more loyal to the book. Imagine what Netflix could do with this book. It’d be so cool!

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