a spy in the house of love

author alexandra bracken

15 May

Kirkus Review

THE DARKEST MINDS
Author: Bracken, Alexandra
Imagine a not-too-distant future in which 98 percent of America’s 10- to 17-year-olds have fallen victim to disease, and the remaining 2 percent are imprisoned in “rehabilitation camps,” thanks to a paranoid government that fears the powers they possess.


In this haunting novel, 16-year-old Ruby joins up with a small group of fellow camp escapees in search of the Slip Kid, a near-mythical figure who promises shelter and protection for kids on the run. Ruby is hoping for even more—someone to help her understand and control the tremendous power she possesses. Bracken (Brightly Woven, 2010) creates a gripping and terrifying dystopian world. Ruby is a reluctant heroine, strong yet vulnerable in equal measure, who will endear herself to readers. Each member of the small band of runaways traveling with Ruby is equally compelling and distinct, making the danger they face all the more terrifying. If readers can force aside nagging questions about the origins of these empowered teens and any implied connection between their powers and the illness claiming their peers, they are in for a great ride.

Be prepared—the darkest minds do indeed “hide behind the most unlikely faces.” (Dystopian thriller. 14 & up)

Thanks, Anonymous KirkusReviewer!  That’s awfully nice of you to say.  Though, duh, of course I’m not going to tell you the full story about the illness (if it even IS an illness muwahaha) and how it all works in book one.  Gotta leave a little mystery for Sequel!

Kirkus has their 2012 BEA Big Book Guide up for everyone to read for free (Why are you being so nice Kirkus?  You’re making me nervous.), if you’d like to spend your afternoon reading reviews.  The Children’s/Teen section is at the end, so I’d recommend flipping to the back cover and going through it backwards. 

27 Apr
Ruby is a reluctant heroine, strong yet vulnerable in equal measure… Each member of the small band of runaways traveling with Ruby is equally compelling and distinct, making the danger they face all the more terrifying.

Kirkus Reviews

Because the universe apparently isn’t a total jerkface today, I actually got my first editorial review for The Darkest Minds today super, super early (the other big trade magazines are: Booklist, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal). You tend to get reviews a little before or a little after your publication date, which is why I was so shocked to see this one appear in my inbox. Kirkus is notoriously tough on books—like, I’ve seen multiple reviews from them that say something to the effective of “this book isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.  The author needs to apologize to the world for subjecting them to it.”  So when you get a good, even a so-so review from Kirkus, it’s cause for celebration.

I got a good review!  They even called the novel “haunting”!  I can’t post the whole thing until the magazine issue comes out on May 15th, but the above is a little clip of it.  I picked this praise out not to humble brag, but because it reflects what I love most about the book, and what I’m the most proud of—the characters.  It also, coincidentally, is what I’ve been the most nervous about.  I love these characters so much that, after I finished writing the first draft and dropped into bed around 4 AM one morning, I already missed being with them.  (Did not miss them quite so much during round after round after round of revision, though.)