The Darkest Minds
Book 1 Cover
Author/s Alexandra Bracken
Release Date December 18th, 2012
Publisher Disney Hyperion
Series The Darkest Minds Series
Pages 488
Preceded by
Followed by
In Time
Release Order
Released after
Released before
Never Fade

The Darkest Minds is the first novel in the Darkest Minds Series by Alexandra Bracken.


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

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. She is an orange, one who can control others. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have 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 having a life worth living.


Across the United States, children are dying at alarming rates to a disease known as IAAN. Ruby Daly, a ten-year-old child watches as most of her classmates die, and she has no idea if she will be next.

Little does everyone know that the children who don't succumb to IAAN develop strange abilities that are later classified according to colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, and Blue. Ruby Daly is one of the few children that survive the epidemic. After accidentally erasing her parents' memory of her the night before her tenth birthday, she is taken from her home by Psi Special Forces Officers, or PSFs, She is loaded onto a bus with many other children and taken to a camp in West Virginia called Thurmond.

Before she can be taken off the bus, however, one of the psi kids uses his abilities as an orange to mind control one of the PSFs into shooting herself in order to cause a distraction and escape. This plan backfires and the rest of the kids are assessed in their abilities.

Ruby realizes that the PSFs are scared of the orange kids, so she manipulates the scientist administering her test into thinking that she's green. She spends the next six years at Thurmond with a group of green girls, and makes friends with a girl named Sam in her cabin. However, one day, she accidentally erases Sam's memory of her and Ruby loses her only friend. A year passes and the PSF's test out a new frequency of "white noise" or Calm Control, and Ruby loses consciousness.

She wakes up in the infirmary and the doctor, Doctor Begbie secretly offers Ruby escape from Thurmond if she takes a little bag of pills. Ruby takes the pills and wakes up in a car that Dr. Begbie is driving. She learns that "Dr. Begbie" is actually Cate Connor, an agent for an anti-government agency called the Children's League. She also learns that Martin, another orange was rescued from Thurmond as well, but she is creeped out by him.

Eventually, Cate, Ruby, and Martin meet up with Cate's boyfriend and League agent Rob. They discuss the fact that Rob was supposed to have two kids with him as well, but he breaks the news that he wasn't able to get them out of their camp. Ruby accidentally slips into Rob's mind and finds out that he lied; he got the kids out, but instead of bringing them to freedom, he shot them in the head and threw their bodies in the dumpster.


Ruby Daly, the protagonist of the story, Liam Stewart, Clancy Gray, Charles Meriweather or "Chubs", Suzume or "Zu" and Cate Conner. Other characters include: Martin, Sam, Olivia, Lady Jane, Rob Meadows and others.