As most of you know, I am away on vacation in Alaska at the moment. One thing I make sure to have with me when away is a book (or books) either physically or on my iPad to read on the plane and/or whenever I have down time. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but every summer my best friend and I read a bunch of books together (it’s our own little book club). Why only in the summer? Well, I read for fun during the rest of the year too but it’s significantly less. Seeing as we’re both teachers, we like to take advantage of our extra time in the summer to get as many books as possible done and it’s always more fun to read the same book as someone else so you can discuss!
Anyway, the point is I’m currently traveling and while I’m not going to talk about the book I’m reading at the moment (The Girl on the Train) until later, I thought I would share a book series (trilogy) that I recently finished reading. Another thing I think I’ve mentioned before on here is that I’m the advisor for the book club at school. A few of my former students wanted to start a book club and needed an advisor so that’s how that happened. Back in the spring, they said they wanted to read The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken. So we started reading the series and while it was entertaining and I did enjoy it, you may be surprised to learn that my students loved it so much that they finished the series long before me. For example, we were supposed to read the first 120 pages of the first book over spring break and when we returned from the break, I had read exactly what I was supposed to and they had all read ahead. Some had even finished the entire trilogy. Talk about role reversal!
The Darkest Minds trilogy sticks to the very popular theme of a dystopian society. Ruby is a teenage girl and the protagonist. Readers learn that in the novel’s United States, many children fell ill due to some mysterious disease and died. Those that survived had special powers such as being able to move things with their mind, being able to start fires, etc. These kids are put into camps either forcibly taken from their parents by the government or voluntarily offered up for “rehabilitation”, but we all know that’s not what’s really going on in these camps. In the camps, the kids are sorted by their abilities and given a color – for example Blues can move things with their minds. They are also given an identification number to replace their names, which is very reminiscent of the concentration camps during the Holocaust. So without giving too much away, Ruby is able to escape her camp and she meets other kids like her who have either escaped or who have been on the run since the beginning and trying to avoid being put into camps. Oh yeah, and the country is basically falling apart and imploding. These kids and teens must work together to avoid capture and to find answers about what’s going on with the government.
True, the story is not incredibly original as we’ve seen so many variations of teenagers living in dystopian society’s trying to rebel and show the world/government they’re not to be messed with. But it’s still entertaining so if you’re looking for a fun summer read and you are into these kinds of stories, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. There were a few typos and inconsistencies in the books such as a part in the first novel when Ruby talks about how she slept until 5pm and then talks about how she was surprised to find she wasn’t the only one awake and they saw the sun rise together. So, clearly the author meant 5am but I guess no one caught that. Anyone know how I can get into the business of proofreading novels before they are published? I would love to do that as a side job! One other thing I noticed in the books is that Ruby gets hit in the head a lot. And I mean a lot. I swear she hits her head in car accidents or in falls or when fighting she always gets knocked out. I can’t even remember how many times she talks about how she got hit in the head and blacks out or is bleeding from her head. I don’t know how she doesn’t have brain damage. So that’s one critique I have, the author definitely could’ve changed up her injuries.
I had written down some page numbers for quotes that I really liked from the books, but unfortunately since I’m away and do not have the book with me I can’t share the quotes as I don’t remember what they are! But I did find one quote to share that I think is really poignant especially in today’s world,
“’Maybe nothing will ever change for us,’ he said. ‘But don’t you want to be around just in case it does?’”