Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Title: The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Number of Pages: 488

Genre: YA Dystopian

Overall Rating: 4/5

Summary From Cover: When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Discussion: I finished this book during our library time at school. When I read the last page and closed the book, I just kind of stared and told my friend sitting next to me, “I can’t believe it. I think I’m going to cry.” And some other stuff, but I might [accidentally] spoil the ending. But the gist was:

I thought of this exact quote.

If I hadn’t been in a library, I probably would’ve thrown it across the room. Let me do it now.

Done. It’s very satisfying. On with the review.

Ahem.

The beginning was kind of slow, and there were lots of flashbacks and moments [throughout the book] when I was just like, You could’ve done ________ and it would’ve been much easier/faster/better/safer/etc.

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I did, however, love Ruby, the MC, and the supporting characters, Chubs and Zu, and the love interest, Liam. Ruby is so kind and heroic, always doing things for the good of others, though I do think she should do more stuff thinking about herself. I facepalmed mentally a lot when she chose to keep secrets. [It actually really bugs me when characters keep secrets from people they know and love.] Chubs is so sweet, and very levelheaded. He seems like the kind of friend you could go to for sage advice. Although, he can be brutally honest. Zu is just so adorable and innocent, aside from her awesome powers. She’s so girly and cute, and reminded me of my friend Misa, who loves to laugh and joke. And Liam. Oh, Liam. He is going on to my OTP list. His only flaw? Not thinking through plans enough, resulting in bad consequences.

The writing is pretty spectacular. Bracken has you in this world so beautiful, yet so tragic. And the themes are quite amazing, somewhat parallel to our society today, putting people into boxes and labeling them.

Definitely read this book. It will hook you in!

P.S. I am posting a wrap-up today, too, but on a different post.

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Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor and Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Number of Pages: 325

Genre: YA Contemporary

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary From Cover: Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Discussion: My god. This book. Somehow, destiny maybe, it found its way into my hands, and as I turned each page, I fell even more in love. In love with what? The pages, the words, the plot, the characters, everything. It all seemed to speak to me in a way too real for words to describe.

I knew what Eleanor and Park were feeling, and not because of Rowell. I know the feeling of spending time together, in your own little bubble, and then having to go separate ways. I know. This book, this story, once in my hands, consumed me, went inside of me.

Afterword? Major book hangover.

It brought back so many memories I’ve been trying to push down deeper and forget, resurfacing them, shoving them in my face and saying, “Here. Remember?” This book was so painful to read. But it brought me joy.

I’m not actually totally sure if I should post this. It’s a bit…personal. And I know people personally, IRL, who are reading this. Too late now, I suppose, if you’re reading this. Which you are. I do ask one thing of you. Please don’t ask questions. Even if I will see you tomorrow or whenever, please don’t ask questions.

Now that we’re past the personal part, I get to be silly and free and myself.

ROWELL. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS SUCH A HEAVY BOOK? I WASN’T EXPECTING THAT.

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And I’m not talking about the weight. [Isn’t that pug so adorable?!] The stepdad stuff?

a) Plain scary

b) Why didn’t the mom call the police???

c) At the end…OMG. Just warning you, kind of a weird part near-ish the end.

And the music! I love how that brings them together (and comic books). Music is such an awesome way for people to connect. I seem to be reading about music a lot lately… [Remember Where She Went?]

I found the characters so realistic and loveable. Eleanor is the greatest. So down-to-earth and real. And she doesn’t let her family life mess her up. [I really hate it when bullies use “problems at home” as excuses. Even if you have a bad home situation, you don’t have the right to be mean to people!] Park. He reminds me somewhat of Leo from Stagirl. In love with a girl who’s different from everyone else, and has a hard time trying not to be embarrassed of her.

But I love-love-love-loved this book with aaaaall my heart. It was so sweet, and totally realistic. And even though it’s set in 1986, I didn’t feel the time difference; it could have just happened in 2014. Even though I’m reading The Darkest Minds [by Alexandra Bracken], I might reread Eleanor and Park, kind of as therapy. And I just want to hug it!

This is so perfect!!!

{end book review}

So I’m reading The Darkest Minds as soon as I reread Eleanor and Park. With sticky notes.

I’m leaving Nakoma until the weekend. Chapter Twenty-three might be a while; sorry.

Have you read Eleanor and Park? What did you think? And if not, will you now? Tell me in the comments below.

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Stacking the Shelves, Marissa Meyer Events, and Book Review of Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

I did some major stacking of shelves today. At Target! It was literally [almost] my entire TBR list. I had to take some off, though. :( The grand total was about $85.

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From top to bottom…

The Book Thief

Eleanor and Park

Fangirl

Dorothy Must Die

The Darkest Minds

Where She Went

I know, I’m behind on all of these! But I’m so excited to finally be able to read them. Since I [somewhat] recently read If I Stay, I’m reading Where She Went first.

I am subscribed to Marissa Meyer’s (the author of The Lunar Chronicles) blog, and today I got an email update of a post. There are a few things about it.

One. Marissa Meyer is releasing Winter in November 2015! Thought it would be sooner? Read on…

Two. She is releasing Fairest, the prequel to The Lunar Chronicles, will be released January 27. That is why! Are you stoked? I’m stoked!!!

Three. This is the greatest, in my opinion. Marissa Meyer is in the Fierce Reads Tour throughout the USA, visiting bookstores with Jessica Brody, Gennifer Albin, and Nikki Kelly! And she is coming to my state near me so I will probably see her!!!! I am sooooooooooooooooooooo happy about this!!!!!!!!!!!! Go here to see the dates for the tour.

Four. This doesn’t concern me, but I though you should know. There is an essay contest with the prompt “With all of the new forms of media appearing every day, how do you think the experience of reading books will change over the next ten years?” The winner will have dinner with Marissa Meyer during the Baltimore Boom Festival. I wish I could participate, but I don’t live near Baltimore. :( Go here for details.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Title: Number the Stars

Author: Lois Lowry

Number of Pages: 132

Genre: Historical fiction

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary From Cover: Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It’s now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are “relocated,” Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen’s life.

Discussion: My English teacher recommended that I read this book, since I had just finished The Giver, which is by the same author. I honestly knew nothing about it. But I judged it by its cover (I know, I know!) and the summary and decided, well, I have nothing else to read–why not give it a try? And, boy, am I so glad I did! I really enjoyed this book.

The first thing I noticed about the book was that it was really short. A lot of Lowry’s books are, though. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. For this book, I was a little bit disappointed that it was this short. It didn’t have as much detail as I would have liked, and I feel like it glanced over some big parts.

It tells the story of Germans invading Denmark. I thought this was an original place to set it, since the Germans invaded so many places. My friend spent the past year in Denmark, so it was cool to learn about its past a little.

The first scene shows Annemarie, the MC, racing her friend Ellen along the street. They bump into some German soldiers, and the story takes off from there. The friendship between Annemarie and Ellen is very sweet and sister-like.

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Overall, I found this book to be very sweet (there it is again!) and heartfelt. Read it!

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