The Darkest Minds - Alexandra Bracken “They were never scared of the kids who might die, or the empty spaces they would leave behind. They were afraid of us––the ones who lived.”A mysterious plague that only affects children has spread throughout America, killing a majority of the country's kids. Ruby is one of the few who survived the disease––but now it seems that she and the other survivors are developing strange abilities. On Ruby's tenth birthday, she develops a power of her own––one that makes her own parents lock her in the garage and call the police. And soon, Ruby finds herself being shipped off to a "rehabilitation camp" called Thurmond where kids like her are forced to live.Six torturous years have gone by, and now at sixteen years old, Ruby comes to realize that her power is a rare––and dangerous––one. And if anyone discovers her biggest secret, she could be killed for it. Ruby manages to escape from Thurmond and join a group of other camp escapees named Liam, Chubs, and Zu. But can she stay with them when her rare power makes her a government target, and after her abilities have harmed people she loved?I heard a lot of super positive things about this book. So, I went into it with really high expectations. It didn't really live up to the hype for me, unfortunately; I thought it was mostly good, and I got really excited about halfway through it … but then it started to go downhill. But I'll start with what I did like.I liked the premise of the book. Sure, plagues and superpowers are both pretty overused tropes, but ... I don't really get tired of them because I think they're cool. The idea was a little confusing in some ways, and after reading it I'm still not sure what the connection between the disease and the superpowers is. But it still intrigued me.In addition, I thought it was well-written. Bracken's style flowed nicely, and there were a lot of vivid descriptions. It was easy for me to picture everything and experience the story through Ruby's eyes.Probably my favorite part was the dynamic between Liam, Chubs, and Zu. It was clear that they had been through so much together and that they were really dedicated to each other. Their relationship felt very realistic and powerful to me. But now we get into the things that didn't work as well for me …So, I liked Chubs and Zu a lot as characters. Zu was really adorable and I wanted to reach into the book and hug her all the time. Chubs was probably my favorite character of all––he's very flawed in a lot of ways, but he's also endearing and he felt the most believable to me. However, I had issues with the other major characters.Liam was just … not that interesting for me. He was a pretty generic "sweet, caring" love interest, but there wasn't much to his personality. I felt like he was mostly just there so there could be a romance in the story, and otherwise I didn't feel he served that much more of a purpose. There was also Clancy, who was basically just there to stand in the way of the romance. Again, I didn't find there to be anything particularly memorable about his personality.And then, of course, there was Ruby. Uggh. I was not a fan of Ruby … and that really took away from the book for me. She was just so whiney, and at some point it just got unbearable. I got sick of her constantly whining about how she's so dangerous, she's a monster, she hurts everyone she loves, blah blah blah. This was Ruby throughout the entire book:And I mean, sure, I get that she has this dangerous mind-control ability and she can do terrible things with it. But still, it became overkill after a while. I think what bothered me most about it was that she kept acting like her ability was so much worse than anyone else's. And like … I just don't see how being able to control people is worse than say, being able to make things burst into flames or make whole buildings blow up. Her friends would be like, "Don't worry Ruby, you're not worse than the rest of us. We can like make people explode." And she'd be like:So yeah, I just never really understood why she thought she was that much worse than everyone else. It seemed pretty self-centered of her, if you ask me.My other most major problem was … well, the second half of the book, pretty much. The book started off pretty solid for me. It was a little confusing at the very beginning, but once the story started rolling, I was really into it. There were car chases and crazy people trying to kill them and it was like BOOM YEAH EXCITEMENT.But then … the excitement just kind of disappeared. The pace slowed down, and soon it was mostly just a lot of boring traveling and talking, etc. And then they got to this place (uhhhh I'm trying not to spoil too much) where they just kind of sat around and did nothing. It got pretty repetitive and not that compelling after a while. The pace didn't really pick up until the very, very end. Like, in the last two chapters maybe. And then I started to get interested again. And then it ended. Booooo.Anyway, I thought there was a lot of potential in the idea of this book. I had issues with the characters and the pacing, but I was still interested enough in the story that I'm interested in picking up the sequel.