The Darkest Minds Summary

Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds

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The Darkest Minds Summary

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American author Alexandra Bracken’s young adult novel The Darkest Minds (2012) is focused on Ruby, a teenage girl whose life changed when,at ten years old, her parents locked her in the garage and called the police. She was taken to a brutal government rehabilitation camp, where she found out that while she had survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, she wound up with mysterious powers she could not control. Now sixteen, she barely escapes the compound with her life and seeks out a safe haven for kids like her.She meets a group of freedom fighters led by the charismatic Liam, and is eventually faced with a terrible choice. The first installment in The Darkest Minds series, The Darkest Minds is followed by Never Fade, In the Afterlight, and Through the Dark, released in 2013, 2014, and 2015 respectively. Exploring themes of teenage alienation and how far to go to fight against an oppressive government, The Darkest Minds was generally acclaimed upon its release, being praised for its compelling characters, and was the winner of Goodreads’ 2013 Choice Awards for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science fiction. The movie rights have been optioned by 20th Century Fox, to be produced by Shawn Levy for a 2018 release.

As The Darkest Minds begins, Ruby Daly is ten years old when a plague sweeps the country, killing the majority of America’s children. Those who survive begin developing strange symptoms and powers. The government creates a police force to round them up, and many parents even turn over their “Psi” children willingly. Ruby watches as her friends fall ill, but she seems healthy until her tenth birthday, when she gets sick. As her parents argue, Ruby realizes she can see inside her mother’s mind. She wakes up the next morning, and is shocked when her parents do not recognize her. Ruby is locked inside the garage by her terrified parents; her policeman father tries to calm her down to find out who she is. To her horror, Ruby realizes she erased her parents’ memories of her when she entered their minds.She does not know how to reverse it. Her father does not believe her when she tries to explain, and plans to take her to the police station to try to find her parents. However, the special Psi forces arrive first. Ruby is taken into custody, and herded roughly onto a bus with other Psi children. By the time they arrive at the holding facility called Thurmond, the children have been beaten and terrified. When they get off the bus, one of the children whispers to a guard, who promptly shoots herself at the psychic suggestion.

The children are separated by powers. Although Ruby is classified as an orange, which is high risk due to her ability to manipulate minds, she plants an idea in the guard’s head that she should be classified as blue, or lower risk. Over the next six years, she successfully hides the truth about her abilities while most of the other kids classified as orange or red are transferred to more restrictive facilities, or killed. She remains in Thurmond until the facility is attacked by a radical political group, the League of Children. She is broken out, and although she does not trust these radicals, she goes with them and befriends a trio of young fighters named Suzume, Chubs, and their handsome, charismatic leader Liam. Ruby and Liam forge an instant connection, and she becomes a member of the League despite her hesitations about their tactics. They eventually find their way to a base run by Clancy, an orange-classified Psi who also happens to be the son of the US President. Although they hope he can help them, he is selfish and more than willing to sacrifice them to help his own goals. The Psi soldiers attack the camp, tipped off by Clancy, and the trio barely manages to escape. Ruby contacts the father of her old friend Jack, who was at Thurmond and was killed in an escape attempt, but he reacts violently when he sees them and shoots Chubs. Ruby knows Chubs will not survive without help, so she contacts the leadership of the League of Children for help. Now at their base, she makes a deal with them. She will side with them and use her powers to help their cause, if they let the others go. The League agrees, and Ruby meets with Liam one more time. The two have come to love each other, so she makes the painful decision to use her powers again to remove his memories of her so that he can go on with his life without trying to find her, as she goes on to her future in the League.

Alexandra Bracken is an American author of young adult fiction. She is best known for The Darkest Minds series, which has been optioned for a major motion picture. In 2016, she began her second series, Passenger, a seafaring time-travel romance, which concluded with its second volume, Wayfarer, in 2017. She was also hired to write the 2015 young adult adaptation of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in 2015, and while still a college student, published a total of eight books since her 2010 debut, Brightly Woven.