“You can destroy a factory, and they'll build another. But once you destroy a life, that's it. You never get that person back.”
In this dystopian setting, IAAN-a virus that targets prepubescents-roams around, killing a vast amount of children under the age of 10. Ruby, the protagonist of the story, wakes up on her tenth birthday feeling off, as if something had changed about her. This change provokes her parents to call the PSFs (the police force) so they can take Ruby to Thurmond, one of the many "rehabilitation camps" set up by the government.
These kids are categorized by color, depending on their power: Yellow (manipulating electricity), Green (intelligence), Blue (telekinesis, or being able to move things with your mind), Orange (controlling minds), and Red (controlling fire). Ruby hasn't told anyone what she is yet.
When she finds out which power she has, Ruby barely manages to escape. On the run, she bumps into three kids who have also escaped, who are also trying to find East River, a safe haven for kids like her. They finally arrive at there, and for a while, everything is harmonious; but with this mysterious leader of East River, they start to question if everything is what it seems. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government.
"They'd taken in a monster, thinking it was a mouse.”
The world building of this book was very well done, spacing out the information about how things work in this dystopian setting evenly so the reader isn't left confused. One of my problems is that the power explanations were slightly vague, being that we aren't told how they are controlled. We only get an explanation of Ruby's abilities.
My only other issue is that we aren't told where IAAN originates from, but I'm hoping that we get information on this mysterious virus in the next two books.
“Try to imagine where we'd be without you, darlin', and then maybe you'll see just how lucky we got.”
I love these protagonists-they have very distinct, real personalities I thoroughly enjoyed while reading the book; Alexandra Bracken really brings out these personalities by showing the reader what they're like under pressure, in danger, or when they're fighting for their lives. Brilliant characters.
A large part of this book is spent with this grand quartet, journeying to get to East River. Along the way, the plot thickens with every clue they find to find this safe haven. Then, when they arrived, the plot took a turn that I didn't expect and made me immediately pick up the second book once I was finished.
“Strong feelings, especially terror and desperation, leave an imprint on the air that echo back to whoever's unlucky enough to walk through that place again.”
Nice prose, with well-written descriptions of the setting and perfectly incorporated themes throughout the novel.
“God." He shook his head, mouth twisting into a shadow of a smile. "Did you know... you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forget to breathe? I'll be looking at you, and my chest will get so tight... and it's like, the only thought in my head is how much I want to reach over and kiss you.”
The relationship between Liam and Ruby was very believable, and, thankfully, they didn't spend the entire novel making out. My favorite thing about their relationship is that they were friends before they were ever romantically involved with each other, which made it feel real and made me go "aww" a thousand times while reading this book.
4 out of 5 cookies!