The United States has recently fallen victim to Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegenation, IAAN, a disease that targets children between ages 8 and 13. Those that haven’t died have been left with psychic abilities and are now considered dangerous to be around. In order to protect the country, the government has created camps to rehabilitate the survivors. When Ruby turned 10 she was sent to Thurmond Camp where she has spent the last 6 years being “rehabilitated” and trying to hide her abilities. Everything changes when a rebel group breaks Ruby out of Thurmond when they learn that she is really an Orange. Once out of Thurmond, Ruby does not know who to trust and sneaks away from the rebel group and meets up with a group of runaways from another camp. Together they begin looking for the legendary Slip Kid who may have the answers to their problems and be able to keep them safe.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read this book but the premise looked interesting. A disease that kills off so many of the country’s young population and leaves the survivors with unnatural abilities sounds plausible in a not too distant future. I liked that the kids all had different abilities but they were focused into 5 main categories. There was no sugar-coating in this book and violence and death were very real. I hate to compare it to The Hunger Games but it was very similar in that there is so much violence and even though the characters cling to a small bit of hope, there does not seem to be a happy ending in sight.
Ruby started off as a timid character because she was so afraid of her abilities but she learned to trust herself and become more confident. Lee was a great love interest. He is kind, loyal, and protective and never gave up on what he believed. I really liked Chubs, he was brutally honest and a little standoffish but he grew into a great character by the end and I really started to understand feel for him.
One of my big issues with dystopian novels is the world building but Bracken did a really good job building Ruby’s world. We learn what was the cause of the problems, IAAN, and what happened to get them where they were then, the government setting up camps for the surviving children to “rehabilitate” them. Overall this book was very good. It was interesting and definitely action packed however, because of all the violence, this book is not suitable for all readers.