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••• The International Writers Magazine: YA Review

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Quercus Childrens Books
ISBN 978-1-786-54024-9
• Sam Hawksmoor review

If ever there was a perfect Trumpian YA novel – it’s this one.

Darkest Minds

For some reason kids all over America come down with a virus that kills 98% of them leaving 2% that develop strange, often destructive, powers.  A political opportunist called Gray takes advantage of the situation and advocates ‘treatment’ centres for the kids, some as young as 8.  They are rounded up and put into camps and many are liquidated, the parents’ still thinking they are getting ‘help’.

America is saved – except kids are the future, so how will there be a future without them?

Hues Ruby was taken when a young child when her parents mysteriously ‘forgot’ her and she was classified Green, the least dangerous category 'Genius'.  Sadly being Red or Orange or any other colour and you are not long for this world.  Ruby is confined to the brutal Camp Thurmond where she has learned to suppress her powers for years.  But when she is 16, a sympathetic Doctor breaks her out, but she quickly discovers that she has been liberated for their own murderous ends.

Ruby escapes and hooks up with some other escapees hiding out in a battered Minivan, which they use to scavenge and steal to stay alive.  They aren’t too keen on her and she has to earn their trust, but as they are all being hunted, they have to stick together.

The question is, can there ever be peace in a land where kids have special powers, some lethal.  The TV show Heroes paved the way on this and the answer would seem to be no.

Ruby, Liam, Zu and Chub become buddies but it’s a chase fraught with danger and they seek a special sanctuary that may or may not exist.

The Darkest Minds is a fast-paced, relentless ride and there are two more in the series.  Start your journey here, but whatever you do, don’t tell anyone your secret power.

*Soon to be a movie in 2018:
The Darkest Minds
Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Writer: Alexandra Bracken
Stars: Mandy Moore, Amandla Stenberg, Gwendoline Christie

© Sam Hawksmoor June 2017
author of Marikka and J&K 4Ever

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