Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Darkest Minds #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 18th, 2012
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 488

Summary (from 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.

I first read THE DARKEST MINDS in December of 2014. I stumbled across it in an Epic Reads list of books featuring road trips. I really enjoy taking road trips and the title and cover of this book intrigued me so I had to pick it up! I have to say that that might have been the best decision I've ever made.

When I picked up the audiobook of this one to do a reread, a little part of me was worried that I wouldn't love this book as much the second time. Thankfully, this was not the case. In fact, I think I may have loved it even more this time around!

When I first started listening to this, I wasn't 100% sure what I thought of the narrator, but I really grew to like her. I love all the different voices for the different characters. I think that this audio was about 11-ish hours and it was easy to listen to this narrator talk for that long.

This book is a little bit dystopia, a little bit science fiction, a LOT awesome. It has an amazing romance, adventure, high stakes, heartbreak, betrayal, and a wonderful friendship.

The book follows Ruby Daly. She was sent to a camp on her 10th birthday. She used her abilities to convince the person running the sorting test that she was a green rather than an orange. She spent the next six years terrified of what she can do. When she gets sprung from camp, she realizes that the people helping her aren't what they seem and she runs away, right into a group of kids who are in about the same predicament as she is. Together, they roam West Virginia, searching for the safe haven of East River.

Ruby is probably my favorite book heroine ever. She goes through some really fantastic character growth in this book. In the beginning, she's basically scared of her own shadow. She won't let anyone close to her, afraid that her won't be able to control her abilities and they'll see her for the monster she believes she is. It takes her a long time to open up to anyone.

But along her journey she kind of starts to own her powers. She starts to not see herself as so awful for what she can do. She doesn't truly trust her powers yet, but she sees that she can use them to help her friends and keep them safe.

The only real fault that I can think of in her is that she is CONSTANTLY like, "Nooo, just leave me behind. Leave me here. Forget about me." Ruby, just stop. No one is ditching you.

Liam Stewart is my number one book boyfriend. He's so swoon-y. He's so sweet and kind to everyone around him. He's caring. He's funny. I feel like he kind of comes off a little bit as though he's got a bad boy side. Mostly just because it's mentioned that he has been in some fights and he wears a leather jacket. I guess that doesn't necessarily equal bad boy status, but there ya go. He's super protective of his friends (especially Ruby) and would do anything to keep them safe, even if it meant sacrificing himself.

If I ever had my own Liam Stewart that called me "Darlin'" in his sweet southern accent, I would absolutely melt on the spot.

Chubs is a little bit abrasive at first. He is 100% not okay with Ruby tagging along with their group. He doesn't want to be caught in the crossfire if/when the people chasing Ruby catch up with them. He doesn't understand why they should put themselves at risk for someone they don't even know. I think that I didn't really like Chubs the first time I read this book. I wanted him to be nicer to Ruby. But this time around, I didn't find myself disliking Chubs before he warmed up to Ruby.

As much as Chubs sometimes seems to need to get a sense of humor or something, I think that he would make a wonderful friend. He's good to have around in times like this because he's really smart and he's got a little bit of medical knowledge!

Zu is the one who initially lets Ruby into their little group. She is the youngest of the group. She's such a little sweetheart and is super girly. You don't really get to learn a lot about her in this book though, so that's about all I can say!

The romance in this book is so adorable. Ruby and Liam are my favorite book couple. The scenes with them being cute together completely give me life. I just want to put them in a protective bubble to keep them safe forever. I just think they work really well together!

I really can't think of anything in this book that I didn't enjoy. I love the characters. I love their friendship. I loved going on this adventure with them. I love everything about this book. 

Overall, I don't think there should be any question in anyone's mind that I 100% recommend this book. To everyone. If you like awesome character growth, WONDERFUL FRIENDSHIP, super swoon-y romances, or books about road trips, READ THIS!

I would love to hear what you think about this book! Also, tell me, do you think that the song I Know Places by Taylor Swift is the perfect anthem for this book?


  1. I love this series and love that we can gush about it together. It's interesting to think about this one again and realize how much Ruby grows over the course of the series. I really admire the detailed world building and also love the friendships in this series and seeing Ruby realize that she is a girl who deserves to have friends and who warrants loyalty.

    1. The characters and their growth is my all time favorite thing ever in this series! I would LOVE to have a friend group like Ruby does in this book! And I love that Ruby finally realizes that she's important!! I just can't get over how much I loved this series.


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