I’ve been wanting to read Alexandra Bracken’s first novel Brightly Woven for years, but I’d been unable to find it in any library. So when I heard that she was coming to TBF and that I’d finally be able to read her books, I was very excited. On top of all that, I got to read an ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) of her newest novel The Darkest Minds, which comes out next Tuesday, December 18th. And I am delighted to say that I was in no way disappointed.
Most of the children in the US are dead. Some say those are the lucky ones. If that’s the case, then Ruby is far from lucky. When she woke up on her 10th birthday, amidst the deaths of her classmates from a mysterious illness, something about her had changed. Something terrible enough that she her parents had the police take her away. Now 16, she lives in a government camp, along with other surviving children, all of whom display uncanny powers --- and the stronger their powers are, the more dangerous it is. Ruby has disguised herself for years as someone with little power, but someone has figured out her secret. So when she is offered the chance to escape, she takes it. But these new “friends” might not be what they appear. Will she be able to get to East River, the one safe place there is for children outside the camps? And if she can find it, will Ruby be able to get there in time?
This book is honestly one of my favorite I’ve read this year, out of the hundreds that I’ve read. And to top that off, I’d rank The Darkest Minds as one of the top five dystopian books I’ve ever read as well. I’m not sure whether it’s the beautifully descriptive writing or the totally fleshed out characters. Maybe it’s the fact that I (as my friend put it after she read it) “suffered emotional trauma at the hands of this book.” (Yes, trauma in the most amazing way.) It might also be the fact that this is not your typical dystopian read --- it has more sci-fi aspects and is a type of coming of age story on top of that. There’s just so many good things packed into this nearly 500 page book, and yet it doesn’t overwhelm the reader.
So yes, this is one of my favorite books now, and I cannot WAIT to meet Alexandra Bracken in May. She’s also written Brightly Woven (check back for a review soon!), and she’s working on the sequel to The Darkest Minds, which I am looking forward to. Look at her website, http://www.alexandrabracken.com/, and follow her on Twitter and Tumblr. (The links for both are on her website.) I’m so excited, and I hope you are too, that Alexandra Bracken will be at the festival in May!