Synopsis: “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. 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.”
Review: I was really excited about finally get around to reading this book. It had been just sitting on my bookshelf for at least six months, and with 4.5 stars on Goodreads I figured that this book would be a great way for me to get into the fantasy genre.
Unfortunately, this novel did not meet my expectations. I only read up to chapter 10 before I stopped, but I felt that I should still review it because I believe wanting to stop reading before the ending says something about the novel in itself.
Throughout the chapters I read, I felt that Ruby’s character came across as cowardly, immature, and unlikable. I understood that she was shy, but there were times where I felt like that shyness made her act selfishly and put others in trouble / danger. Some examples could be:
- When Sam sticks up for Ruby, but then Ruby backs out and just lets Sam get punished for speaking out.
- When Ruby leaves the group of people who “saved” her from Thurmond because she wanted to see the girl, Zu, who was eating at the gas station. Even though leaving them might have been the best thing for Ruby, she didn’t know that at the time, yet she still selfishly chased another girl around.
- When Ruby gets caught chasing Zu by Zu’s friend group and puts them all in danger because she was being followed.
All of these acts are very selfish and portrayed Ruby as a character that I felt was ultimately unlikable.
However, even with the things I didn’t like about this book, I did think the overall plot sounded very interesting. I can see how people would read this book and end up liking it, I just personally am not one of those people. I’ve never really found a fantasy novel that I liked, and I think reading this book just reinforced that.