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The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds - Alexandra Bracken A definite 5 stars for The Darkest Minds. I couldn't stop turning the pages and the characters completely drew me in. As is always the case for me, a great story and wonderful characters are what gets me and this book has both. My summary of the story will in no way delve into the detail of what is happening in the world so just know that there is a lot of turmoil. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 are starting to come into powers which have started to create some panic in the adults (parents included). These powers are considered a disease by the adults and named IAAN for short. All over the US, work camps are started and run by the PSF (Psi Special Forces). The US economy is completely shot and the President has become somewhat of a dictator. This is where the story picks up with Ruby – the main character.Ruby was 10 when she was transferred to Thurmond and she is 16 now. Through flashbacks, we see what happened to her and how she ended up in the camp. I thought they were well done and really brought her background into the present for the reader without spending a ton of time on it. It is all critical information to the story so it was definitely needed. Ruby has basically been hiding who she really is for the last 6 years. When she was brought to Thurmond, she found the kids were being categorized to a color group based on the aspect of their “disease”. She was able to convince the doctor testing her that she was a green and not the orange she really was . At the onset of the book, Ruby is being cared for by a doctor who has convinced her she would like to help her get out of the camp. Ultimately, she does get out and this is where the action begins and doesn't really let up until the end of the book. Ruby is on the run and eventually comes to realize that the people who helped her escape aren't necessarily helping her for her sake. They want her to help further their cause and do whatever they feel is necessary to do it. Unfortunately this is one of the gaps. I was unsure of what they really wanted. With the help of a flashback via Martin later on in the book, we are able to see that they have pushed him to deliver a bomb but I didn't ever really understand what their purpose was and what they were fighting. The characters were great. There were times with Ruby that I just wanted to shake her and tell her to embrace who she is but I understand why she couldn't. After 6 years of hiding who you are, it is tough to trust yourself and others with information that could potentially be the reason you are killed. Eventually she does learn to trust and rely on Chubs, Liam and Zu. They are who she ran into getting away from the League and they stepped right up and (for the most part) welcomed her to their group. There was definitely growth in the character of Ruby throughout the book where by the end of this book, she understands the power she holds and uses it to help those she loves.Chubs was perfect – he isn't the swoony boy (I will talk about him in a second) but he is definitely one of my favorites. Chubs was the right mix of nerd, sarcastic wit, and protector. He clearly didn't trust Ruby right away but eventually they learned to care about each other. Chubs truly cares about Liam and Zu and will do whatever he can to protect them.Zu was like Ruby’s little sister throughout the book – they became pretty close and added another layer of the group acting like a family when they were together. She is a yellow and right away is it obvious she has been treated as somewhat of an outcast. On top of that, something has happened to her that has made it so that she won’t speak. Liam – I will admit it…I loved him. He was absolutely drawn to Ruby (as she was to him) but they didn't have the insta-love thing happen which made me happy. She was too busy trying not to reveal her secret and harm anyone and he was trying to protect everyone while trying to find East River. The thing about Liam that I loved is that he truly cared and wanted to earn the respect he received from others – he felt responsible for all of the people he tried to help escape from the camp he was at, he felt responsible for Chubs and Zu, and now Ruby was added to the mix. Oh – and when he called her “darlin”….BIG sighs from me. He also wasn't the perfect character that some authors are driven to create. He had guilt, couldn't really play sports and made mistakes but in the end, that didn't really matter to me because he was also funny, caring, protective, and just an all-around great guy.It was lovely to see the relationship develop between Ruby and Liam – to see the changes in them and how they were around each other was perfect. There are definitely other characters that are important to the book but I don’t want to mention them or anything about them as I feel like I will give something away….and I don’t want to do that. I will say, that when I finished this book, I looked at my sister and said “I can’t believe that she did that” and I have to say….I understand why but it broke my heart. I am going to be impatiently waiting for the next book of this series as there are so many things I need to know – like what does Zu need to tell Ruby and what the heck is going to happen to each and every one of these characters?