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Children, ages 2 to 3, who have been read to several times a day, did substantially better in kindergarten than youngs... More

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THE DARKEST MINDS (A Darkest Minds Novel)

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion, 2012

Material: hard cover

Summary: Ruby is not your average teenage girl. She may not live with her parents, but this does not mean she is free to do what she pleases. Due to new laws, Ruby is sent to a camp at the age of 10. It is a place for for children with special abilities. It took six years, but when she finally escapes the prison, Ruby meets a group of runaways from a different state. Together, Ruby, Liam, Zu, and Chubs travel in search of a rumored Promise Land — where children with special abilities are welcome — and Ruby tries to learn how to control her abilities before it hurts those she love the most. This young adult dystopian fantasy can be a high interest / low readability selection for teens.

Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud

Recommended Age: read together: 12 and Up; read yourself: 13 and Up

Interest Level: 12 and Up

Reading Level: 5.7

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: The most lovable feature of this book for me is the diverse group of characters. The group we follow through the book develops into a close-knit community of friends by the end; friends you come to love and cherish. The way the author eases you into the idea of these different categories of super abilities is very well done. She does not patronize the reader, and she doesn't get ahead of herself in the narrative. I also really enjoyed the society the author created and the way the people handle the children with these abilities. It seems very well thought out and convincing. Though I won’t give anything away, I have to say that the ending will definitely keep me around for the second book! There is not much to dislike about this one.

Note: Because this book explores darker themes, I would only recommend giving this a a gift to someone who has said they want to read it, or someone who likes "heavier" Dystopian fantasies.

Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Pros: With its well-paced narrative, authentic characters, and strong story, teens AND adults will enjoy this provocative YA novel.

Cons: The biggest warning would be for violence, though it is not graphically detailed. There is also mild sexual themes and language.

Borrow or Buy: Definitely borrow! If you love Dystopian fantasy, you'll want to buy this and have the whole series.

If You Liked This Book, Try: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, Angelfall by Susan Ee, The Young Elites by Marie Lu GONE   THE HOUSE OF SCORPION   THE SHIFTER (Healing Wars: Book 1)

Educational Themes: Lots of interesting discussions are generated from The Darkest Minds. From societal norms and practices, personal values, self esteem, survival, and being "different."

Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from their local library.

Literary Categories: Fiction - science fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult series

Date(s) Reviewed: February 2015

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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