About two years ago, little Liv and little Ky met at a musical theater camp. We bonded over our shared annoyance with our mutual friend and soon Ky came to my school. We spent the whole year becoming closer and closer because of our love of books and our perfect combination of weirdness and intelligence. She often lent her books to me, and one of those books was The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, a fellow Phoenician. In honor of the movie based off of that book coming out yesterday, I reread the book and will be reviewing it currently.
First thing first: I love this book. I love the characters, I love the humor, I love the storyline, and I love more. I am incredibly happy that it has made it as far as to become a movie, and I am so excited to see it (with Ky, preferably, if I can drive down from Flagstaff in time). The cast is amazing (I love Amandla Stenberg) and I can’t wait to see them in action!
Anyway, onto the book. The Darkest Minds takes place in America, not too far into the future. Children are being affected by a neurodegenerative disease called IAAN, which either kills them or gives them powers like telekinesis, telepathy/mind control/empathy, photographic memory, electrokinesis, or pyrokinesis. Each power is categorized by a color, whereas telekietics are Blues, telepathics are Oranges, the smart ones are Greens, electrokinetics are Yellows, and pyrokinetics are Reds.
Ruby is Green—supposedly. The way she was classified as a Green was this: she simply took her doctor’s arm and willed him to think that. In reality, she is a dangerous one, and she knows it. It’s a good thing she tricked her doctor, too, because Reds, Yellows, and Oranges were all taken away from her rehabilitation camp called Thurmond. But the PSFs, the soldiers that keep track of the surviving children, are catching on that some dangerous ones escaped their reach. They tested out a new frequency of White Noise (sounds that torture the kids with powers because only they can hear it) that did more harm to dangerous kids, and Ruby was down for hours. The woman who treated her in the infirmary was different, and she helped Ruby escape Thurmond before she could be killed.
While they were on the run, Ruby and the woman who helped her stopped at a gas station to meet others, and while they were in there Ruby saw a little girl stealing food. She followed her, only wanting to ask her how she was safe, and after a huge commotion Ruby ended up on the road with the girl (Zu) and her two companions (Liam and Chubs). She joined them on an adventure to find a safe haven for kids like them, and finds love along the way.
As I stated earlier, I love mostly everything about this book. Alexandra Bracken does a magnificent job at imagery and description. I feel as though I am Ruby, never mind just being in the book. The book is an amazing read if you love dystopian books with a little bit of magical powers.
Though I don’t have many issues with the book, that doesn’t mean I have none. One thing I question is the logic of the book—how do these kids get these random powers? Do all humans have these powers and the sickness just unlocks them? Why are there only five powers? I honestly feel as though there would be millions, like the X-Men. Also, from a student’s view, what’s dangerous about a photographic memory? Why do Greens need to be tossed into a camp for being smart?
If I were able to ask one question to Alexandra Bracken, though I have many because I am such a huge fan, it would be this: Were you ever apprehensive about limiting the number of powers to five? That’s the thing I’m hung up on after rereading the book. How are there only five powers? If I were to rewrite the book, I would categorize the kids by their level of danger: there would be no set number of powers, but certain children would be more powerful than others.
I’ve searched throughout my memories from the book and I really can’t find anything else wrong with the book. Alexandra is an amazing author. I need to read more of her books. I’m very excited to see the Darkest Minds movie, and I hope you are too! But my advice is to read the book before, because the book is always better! I rate this book 4.5 stars out of 5.