Author: Alexandra Bracken
Goodreads Rating: 4.26
Format: ARC from BEA12, Signed at NYCC12
When Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday, something about her has 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.
I'm finding it really hard to collect my thoughts on this book because there are so many great things that I want to say about it, that just. Woah. There was so many of my emotions that went into this book that I didn't expect. I wasn't expecting this tremendous sadness that I got when I started to read this book.
What the camp, Thurmond, that Ruby was stuck in reminded me of was Auschwitz, and if that doesn't paint an image in your head I don't know what will. I'm also not trying to be melodramatic when it comes to what it was like, as a reader, this world that these children lived in, thankfully not as harsh as what people in Concentration Camps had to go through. Their education stopped, their food was limited, they couldn't talk to one another they were stuck in camps. Ruby cried the first time she saw stars since she was 10. That was the image that stuck with me the most.
I loved Ruby, not in the "yeah she was a pretty cool, MC" way, rather, I loved her in the sense that she was real to me. Despite knowing that she shouldn't trust everyone, she gives them a chance even if it burns her, but she also isn't gullible to the lies that people tell her. She doesn't act blindly on faith (except for that one time) but rather, she thinks things through which was a really nice change up from some other main characters I've seen. I also loved that she wasn't this girl who was a total damsel and she wasn't this totally hardcore chick, she was just all about surviving, and then all about Zu, Chubs and Liam.
Next, I loved the supporting cast and how wonderful they all worked together. Life wasn't perfect, and trust had to be earned. I loved that even when Chubs didn't trust or like Ruby, he still stepped in to protect her. I loved how each of their stories slowly threaded through and into the course of the book rather than having Bracken tell us all at once what their lives were like.
The love in this book? I adored it, there was no insta-love, and I'm finding it hard to find the words to describe what else it had. It felt natural, the way that these two fell together (I'm not saying who with because there are a few options). He trusted her and rather than let any kind of doubt sep into his mind, he refused to give up, he knew what kind of love that they had, or rather had the potential to be.
I felt at the beginning that Ruby sort of overreacted to her power because when we first get to know her and what she can do, it doesn't really seem like she can do something that would make her the worst and most dangerous. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking that maybe she was just referring to the color group she was in rather than how terrible her power was because while it could be earth shattering, I think there were others worse.
I'm gushing now, but totally check it out and love this book as much as everyone else seems to be. I'm really glad that I got the chance to check it out.
The Courts Decision: