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
The idea of all the kids at puberty suddenly developing mysterious powers, and the ones that didn’t simply died, is intriguing, and an idea I don’t think I’ve come across before. This isn’t just some rehash of X-Men – which I think is what I expected when I first picked this book up – but the tale of the collapse of the USA from fear of these kids, by locking them up in essentially concentration camps, and hoping for the best.
I love that there are mentions of other countries like the UK imposing economic sanctions on the US. It shows that the author has thought about the wider ramifications of the world that she’s set up, and one that isn’t entirely without consequence. The US, in this book, is having to face up to what it’s done to these kids, through the sickness and the camps.
We meet Ruby as a 10 year old, scared, not knowing what she’s done. She manages to slip through the net and hide, to become someone that she is not in this new world of children defined by colours – the colours denoting their particular abilities [although, this isn’t exactly explained very well, hopefully more to come in the next book?]. Ruby is an Orange, and endangered species, because Oranges have the power of mind control.
Ruby was an interesting character, but the constant self fear and loathing did get to me a little, and in the middle of the book when the kids are searching for the “Slip Kid” the kid that will keep them safe from persecution, we see this a lot more. This section of the book moved a lot slower as well, but I can understand why it was needed – you can’t have the group of escapees miraculously and suddenly discover the camp with a little controversy.
Ruby knows she’s an Orange, she knows what she can do even if she can’t control it. She knows what other people can do to her – other Oranges, so I think my biggest problem comes a little later in the book when she’s being taught to use her abilities by the Slip Kid, also an Orange, when he begins to manipulate her. To make her want him, to make her behave in a different manner to how she was. At first I thought it would going to be a typical dystopian romance triangle, but actually I liked that it wasn’t, that she was true – despite being manipulated – to the person she loved. I did have problems with the mind-rape; I felt that this was glossed over too quickly, and that it was used as an excuse to get them to leave the camp rather than dealing with the fall out – mind, I suppose there wasn’t much time to deal with it, so again, maybe that might be something that’s dealt with in the next book?
I enjoyed this ride, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series, one to definitely loo out for, I think.