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.
I really like this, in fact I think I am going to have to go back to goodreads and give it 4 stars instead of 3. The more I think about it the more I like it. I think the concept is really interesting, I like the characters, and the world building is done really well. Ruby is interesting, she’s so scared of herself that her main goal is to keep herself out of others hands, and minds (she’s an orange – mind control). She was never able to learn to control her power and after several traumatic events using it on accident she is convinced that she will never be able to be part of a community or family. Once she meets up with three other escaped kids – two Blues (telepathy) – Charles and Liam, and one Yellow (electronics) – Zu; she begins to feel accepted for the first time in her life and forms a fierce protectiveness over her makeshift family.
Turns out Liam is just as wanted by the various groups who are hunting “freaks,” and as they run and look for the rumored haven for people like themselves she and Liam form a strong bond. Ruby becomes the co-leader of the group, helping Liam cope with his need to keep his group safe and help others like themselves, while Liam encourages Ruby to stop fearing herself. I really like their relationship – it’s not overly sappy, which a lot of YA’s can lead to, and it’s built on a platform of mutual respect and goals (a great message).
Once they find this haven, Ruby is introduced to the only other Orange she knows, besides the one she escaped camp with (who was a douche). He charms her immediately and she becomes enamored of him – I didn’t like him from the start though, there was just something off about him (and I was right!). He does teach her more about her power though, and with his teachings, and Liam’s encouragement she eventually is able to come to terms with her power and accept it as a part of herself. Like I said though, other Orange (Clancy) is a psycho and was really controlling them all, including Ruby.
After a lot of climatic events, Ruby, Liam, and Charles are put back into the hands of the people who helped Rudy escape her camp before she fled. Liam and his brother once belonged to the group and he defected. This group, the League, wants to turn Ruby, and other kids with abilities, into a weapons to fight the government.
I didn’t really like how this came about, but I think I always knew this is how it would end. Her need to protect those she loves leads her to rash decisions, which she seems to regret as soon as she makes them, but only she can get them out of this pickle. Knowing that she will have to act like the monster the League wants her to be, but also knowing that it will place her in a position of power, she makes some tough decisions (which I was pretty pleased about – though still sad that was how it had to happen) the book ends on a really strong note and a self-revelation for Ruby. I think a much stronger Ruby is going to emerge in the second book.