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The Darkest Minds, Book 1
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Darkest Minds is the first volume of a psychic thriller series by Alexandra Bracken (Passenger). It's set after most of the world's children have died and the survivors have developed psychic powers, leading to mass incarceration and executions. The lead characters develop a romance, but there's little physical contact between them. Violent scenes include a vicious beating, crowd control with painful sonic blasts, retaliation by kids with mutant powers, and the shooting of a main character. One of the main characters may have been sexually assaulted while under mind control. Characters swear occasionally: "damn," "hell," "ass," "goddamn," with a few uses of "s--t" and "f--k." The novel has been adapted into a movie.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
As THE DARKEST MINDS opens, 16-year-old Ruby is an inmate at Thurmond, a government rehabilitation camp for children with mysterious powers. In danger of being killed, Ruby has been hiding the true nature of her powers for years. When given the chance to escape, she takes it, only to discover she's a pawn in a more complicated game. She eventually meets up with three other travelers searching for a rumored safe haven, but even her best friends won't be able to protect her when she's forced to make a terrible choice.
Is it any good?
Plenty of books feature kids with superpowers, but this one has an intensity that raises it above many others. The Darkest Minds is set in a near-future dystopia that feels fresh and interesting. The characters are multidimensional, especially Ruby, Liam, and Chubs. Author Alexandra Bracken generally keeps the level of suspense high and makes her readers feel the jeopardy in her characters' situations. The climax of the book is harrowing, and readers will want to continue with the next installment immediately.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Darkest Minds shows children being forcibly taken from their parents. What current examples of that are there? What excuses do government officials give in those situations?
The Darkest Minds is set in a dystopia where most children have died and many survivors have superpowers. Why are grim visions of the future popular now?
Why are memories so important to people? Would it be wrong to forcibly change someone's memories?
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.