by Alexandra Bracken
Plot Summary: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.
Review:The poignancy and intensity of this book was amazing. It's always poignant when terrible things happen to children, and the camps these children were assigned to were horrific. And because these kids were in so much danger pretty much all the time, I felt like I just couldn't relax while I read this book. The pace is relentless because it feels like something bad could happen at any moment. Which is fantastic really, when you want a book to completely engross you. The pace is also well maintained by the balance of action and character backstories - which was gradually revealed piece by piece. The characters were very well defined and it was easy to see how their past has impacted them.
The main character, Ruby, has had a very difficult past - there are moments when you don't know why she is so distrustful and scared, but when the details of her past come out, it's momentous to finally understand. I really loved her development in this story - she has to accept her power and also learn to trust her new friends. The group of kids she falls in with after the camp were such an amazing group of friends - the author wrote them so well, and they worked together fantastically.
Because there's so much to these characters and the dystopian world they live in is so bleak, there are many devastating moments in this story. It's a good sign that you're invested as a reader when you want to tear your hair out and wail at the things that happen in this book. (Yes, that was me. But I'm okay now...) This book truly has it all - it's an emotional read with believable, varied characters, an amazing new dystopian world, a main character who is on her way to being kick-ass and a story packed with tension and suspense! Highly recommended!