Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Title:  The Darkest Minds
Author:  Alexandra Bracken
Series:  The Darkest Minds #1
Publisher:  Disney Hyperion
Publication Date:  December 18, 2012
Pages:  488
Format/Source:  Paperback/Purchased
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Science Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy

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

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who 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 a life worth living. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

A Refreshing Dystopian…

I LOVE dystopian books.  Not as much as I love hard sci-fi with space ships and aliens and stuff, but almost as much.  And because they’ve gotten so popular lately, a lot of people have gotten really tired of dystopians.  And I have to agree that the market is flooded with dystopians these days, and some of them just don’t quite meet the mark.  But my love for dystopians has held on, mostly because I’ve been branching out and reading other things, and also because I have been kind of selective in the dystopians I read these days.  And I have to say, if you’re a lover of dystopians like me, then The Darkest Minds is not to be missed.

The Darkest Minds starts off pretty gritty, in a concentration camp for kids and teens.  This book is really kind of post-apocalyptic, too, with the plot line of a large portion of kids dying and most of the rest of them being shipped off to these camps.  But it’s got that kind of fantasy, X-Men thing going on, too, with the surviving kids developing mental abilities.  And the story continues to be pretty gritty when Ruby escapes the concentration camp and is on the run.

The book is full of action, and my favorite kinds of twists and turns, some of which you can guess ahead of time, and others that completely throw you for a loop!  And that ending!  Such a sad ending, but it definitely makes you want to pick up the next book ASAP.  I also really liked a lot of the characters, especially Suzume and Chubs.  Chubs’s character really developed a lot in the book, and I think he might actually be my favorite. And I loved that he and his family would write book reviews online as a way of secretly communicating!

My rating for The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken:

Actually 4.5 stars.  With beautiful writing that makes you laugh out loud at times and tear up at others, and a strong, complex plot with a compelling love story, The Darkest Minds should be on the shelf of every fan of YA dystopians.

Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ The Book Depository
You may also enjoy:  DeliriumMonument 14
Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.


  1. alwayslostinbooks

    May 8, 2014 at 8:20 am

    I'm not sure if my first comment got posted. But anyway, I agree that there are a lot of dystopian novels nowadays and a lot of them are tiresome to read. Most of them are series books too so I think I'll only pick one up again if I can complete the series in one buy. I've been seeing so many good things about this series so I think it might be one that I would pick up in the future.

  2. Brandi Kosiner

    May 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I really liked the premise and world building in this one, I agree it was a great first book. Sadly, I didn't like the second as much

  3. Kaina

    May 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I just read this one recently and couldn't agree more with what you said! Although somethings were predictable others completely threw me off. And I've unfortunately been finding that I'm quite tired of dystopian novels :/ Will have to take a break from those and read more contemporary :D Great review! :)

  4. The Bookish Manicurist

    May 13, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Excellent! I have had this for so, so long and I even got the sequel at BEA last year, but for some reason I haven't read it yet. Now you've made me want to read it asap!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

  5. Kirsty-Marie Jones

    May 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I have to say, as much as I loved it (and I did- up until a certain point) I really can't get passed the way that scene was handled. Especially since she wasn't sure or anything of what had happened, but it really enjoyed me (and still does). I did really enjoy it up until that point though, though I did love the first half more than the second, since I love road-trip type books, that and the banter was fun. :) Still, glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Nicole Hewitt

    June 7, 2014 at 12:30 am

    I so love this book and was really excited to meet Alexandra Bracken at BEA (I couldn't believe she looked so young!). Can't wait to read Never Fade!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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