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Elena Likes Books

I am an avid reader of YA, fantasy, and romance, a librarian, and a writer of fantasy short fiction.

Currently reading

Cut & Run
Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Shel Silverstein
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius
John Joseph Adams
The Thousand Names
Django Wexler
The Duchess Hunt
Jennifer Haymore

The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds - Alexandra Bracken Note: I received an electronic ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.I described this book to a friend as "X-Men meets [b:Unwind|764347|Unwind (Unwind, #1)|Neal Shusterman|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1297677706s/764347.jpg|750423]." If that description appeals to you, definitely check out this book.In the world of The Darkest Minds, kids age ~10-13 suddenly start dying. Soon more than half the United States' pre-teen population is gone. The kids who are left are shuttled off to horrible internment camps, where it's revealed that the disease that killed their peers left each of them with one of five varieties of psychic powers. They are assigned a color--green, blue, yellow, red, orange--that signifies their particular power and determines their destiny at the camp. The feared yellows (power over electricity), reds (fire), and, worst of all, oranges (mind control) soon ominously disappear from Ruby's camp. Ruby has been classified as a relatively benign green (basically just extra-smart and logical-thinking), but she lives in terror that her secret will be discovered: she's truly orange, the most feared color of all. When her secret finally comes out five years after her arrival at the camp, she goes on the run. On the outside, Ruby is hard-pressed to know who to trust, what's safe to share, and who on the outside is on the side of the thousands of kids being held in camps across the country and who just wants to use them.This book was super exciting. Ruby's camp is terrifying, and when she gets out, her adventures on the outside are intense. From government agents to an underground anti-government organization to gangs of kids evading capture, the possibility of danger is everywhere, but also the possibility of allies and hope. I loved Ruby's companions on the outside, the little family they eventually form together, and their adventures in the evasion of authority. The culmination of their journey is extra-intense and a little heartbreaking, and I cannot wait to read more.However, I did have some issues with worldbuilding. I find it difficult to believe that there wouldn't be a huge outcry if the government suddenly decided that pretty much every kid between the ages of 10 and 13 needed to be shipped off to "rehabilitation camps," where parents wouldn't be allowed to see their children. Ever. I don't think the government even placates them with something about how they'll be allowed out when they're older. They're just gone. No way would parents just roll over and let that happen. Sure, in the book, there are some parents who hide their kids, but there's no nation-wide outrage, no parents storming the gates of the camps and demanding to see their kids. No way would that be at all accurate. So there's that. (I actually had the same issue with [b:Unwind|764347|Unwind (Unwind, #1)|Neal Shusterman|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1297677706s/764347.jpg|750423], but it bothered me a bit less here, probably because psychic powers are less of a morally-laden issue than the delayed abortions of Unwind, which I find even more ludicrously unbelievable.) There's also a lot of hand-waving in regards to the disease that somehow kills most kids but grants some of them one of five very specific psychic powers. And seems to be centered in the U.S., for more hand-wavy reasons. I sure hope Alexandra Bracken has some answers for me in book two, and that the hand-waving in this book was more a result of Ruby being kept in ignorance than lazy writing.Lastly, I just need to say that if someone hadn't pointed out in a review that this is the same author who wrote [b:Brightly Woven|6580510|Brightly Woven|Alexandra Bracken|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347330748s/6580510.jpg|6773942], I would never have made the connection. I read Brightly Woven when it came out in 2010, and all I remember is that it's a sort of blandly enjoyable generic high fantasy that involves a heavy dose of insta-love. Bracken certainly did a 180 here! Holy smokes, seriously can't get over the fact that this is the same author. If you read and didn't enjoy Brightly Woven, don't let that prevent you from picking up this book. In The Darkest Minds, Bracken has achieved whatever of the opposite of a sophomore slump would be called. It's definitely worth your time.