The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
When sixteen-year-old Ruby was in the fourth grade, her classmates started dying off. Grace was the first to die, right at the lunch table in the cafeteria. It quickly got out of control, children dying in droves from what became known as Everhart’s Disease, named after the first child who died of it. What Grace quickly realized though was that the government wasn’t as concerned with the people who died as it was frightened of the children who lived. They seemed to have been endowed with various types of inexplicable abilities, that President Gray decided were best kept under wraps in rehabilitation camps. Ruby manages to hide her abilities and is classified as a harmless Green, and is able to escape the experimentation forced on the powerful yellows, oranges and reds. But she is starved and forced to do continual and menial labor for six years until the Children’s League helps her and another boy to escape. As she realizes her new “friends” have an agenda of their own, she escapes this time on her own, determined to try to find her Grams. (Something terrible has happened to Ruby’s parents, but readers won’t find out what it is until near the end of the book.) Ruby joins up with three other young people trying to find safety in a world where all children have a target on their backs. They hear about a safe place run by a boy nicknamed the Slip Kid, and know that may be their only route to staying alive.
The engaging story is told from Ruby’s perspective and will grab readers immediately. Bracken’s storytelling is fast paced and Ruby is a strong, independent heroine. There is a slight romantic subplot, but not enough to distract from the main story of survival. I recommend this to fans of Neal Shusterman (Unwind), Patrick Ness (The Chaos Walking series), Kristin Cashore (Graceling books) and Science Fiction and dystopia fans.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.