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Last Updated on August 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 573

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The Darkest Minds is young adult novel written by Alexandra Bracken. The main characters of the book include Ruby, Sam, Cate, Rob, Martin, Zu, Liam, and Chubs.

The protagonist of the story is Ruby Daly, a teenage girl who possesses a special ability to control others. These abilities come to Ruby as a side effect of surviving Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration (IAAN), a disease that has taken the lives of many children. On the eve of her tenth birthday, Ruby accidentally erases her parents' memory of her, causing them to call the police the next morning when they discover her. It is at this point that Ruby is taken to Camp Thurmond, a government-run "rehabilitation camp" for children who survived IAAN.

It is inside Camp Thurmond that Ruby meets and becomes friends with Sam, another survivor of IAAN. The two develop a close friendship over the course of the next five years until Ruby erases Sam's memory of her too. It is also in Camp Thurmond that Ruby meets Cate, a doctor who secretly offers to help Ruby escape. After the two successfully leave Camp Thurmond with Martin, another child, Cate tells them she is not a doctor for the government but is actually a member of The Children's League, an organization that rescues children from rehabilitation camps such as Thurmond.

After driving for some time, Ruby, Martin, and Cate meet up with Rob, Cate's boyfriend, at a West Virginia gas station. When Ruby shakes his hand, she sees images of him shooting two children in the head after having "rescued" them from another camp; Ruby then becomes suspicious that she and Martin will endure the same fate if they stay with Cate and Rob. Because of this, Ruby sneaks out the back door of the gas station, running into a young girl as she does so.

This girl, Suzume, or Zu for short, immediately begins running away from Ruby into the forest, but Ruby chases her. Cate and Rob begin looking for Ruby, and just as they are about to spot her, Zu pulls her into a van in the forest. Two boys then drive the van away quickly, as gun shots sound in the background. Ruby soon learns that the boy driving is Liam, and Chubs is the boy in the passenger seat.

Liam and Ruby connect almost instantly, with Liam even defending her to Chubs who accuses her of lying about her past and identity. Liam, Chubs, and Zu explain to Ruby that they are searching for "Slip Kid," another child who has also escaped a rehabilitation camp and has a reputation for helping other children reconnect with their families. Shortly after arriving at Slip Kid's camp they learn that Slip Kid is not who they thought he was and that he is actually working with the government. Chaos ensues as this discovery is made, and ultimately, Chubs is shot in the chest.

Upon discovering Chubs' critical state, Ruby uses a pendant she has to signal Cate for help. When The Children's League agents arrive, Liam negotiates with the agents to take him in exchange for saving Chubs' life. Similarly, in order to save Liam, Ruby offers offers herself to the League, but she realizes that Liam will not leave her due to his feelings for her. Ruby therefore makes the painful decision to erase his memory of her, after which the League lets him go, and he willingly leaves.