Just before Ruby's tenth birthday, her classmates start dying. The few that survive, "Psi" kids, develop special abilities like electrical influence, telekinesis, or mind control. Ruby discovers her new ability on her birthday and is immediately captured and taken to Thurmond, one of the largest Psi rehabilitation camps in the country. Ruby spends six years living in squalor, being neglected and abused by the guards, having no friends or confidants, until she manages to escape with the help of stranger. Ruby is thrilled to be out of her camp, but quickly comes to realize that life is not much safer on the outside.
Why It's Worth Reading:
This book has been on my list for a few years now so I was pumped when the Student Book Club selected it for the month of December. There has been so much YA dystopian fiction written in the wake of The Hunger Games that I am sometimes skeptical of new series. I worry that I will read the same story with a different dark and ominous cover. I was pleasantly surprised by The Darkest Minds. The concept of the ranges of abilites segmenting the surviving youth and the way the adults and government officials respond to them was particularly interesting to me. My book club astutely made connections between the rehabilitation camps and historical events like the Holocaust & Japanese internment, as well as some current issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. They spoke to the idea that nearly every character, large or small, in the novel feels very isolated due to the nature of their society and how easy it was to relate to that feeling. It was the natural connection with the characters that made the book appeal to them so much, and I couldn't agree more. Nearly every ELA classroom in the school has at least one copy of this book (received as part of a grant a few years back), so next time you need a new Independent Reading book, grab The Darkest Minds. You won't regret it!
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Awards/Accolades: At least 7 positive reviews and inclusion on the 2016 YALSA Popular Paperbacks list.
Do We Own a Copy?: Several. And we own the sequels as well!