|“||“Ghosts don't haunt people--their memories do.”||”|
–Ruby, in Never Fade
Ruby Elizabeth Daly is the main protagonist and narrator of The Darkest Minds trilogy. Ruby, an Orange, accidentally erases her parent's memories of her on the night of her 10th birthday. She then gets drawn into the world of Camp Thurmond. This sets in motion the series of events for the rest of the trilogy.
Ruby was born in the state of Virginia and had very average first years of life. Eventually however, the first signs of IAAN (Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration), appeared. Ruby was, for the most part, oblivious to it, very guarded by her parents and teacher. (She even recalls finding out about the disease by mere chance, since it had been purposefully hidden from her).
Her first true interaction with the disease was when she witnessed Grace, her classmate, die in fourth grade. After Grace, tons of kids followed, reaching a point where half her class had died, and she was the only living kid in her block.
The night before Ruby's tenth birthday, her parents got into an argument about her birthday celebration, which her father made her mother cancel. Oblivious to the tense atmosphere, Ruby made some questions about death, which ends up in another argument, which escalates quickly, scaring Ruby enough that she retreats into her room. That night, Ruby went into her parents' room and kissed them on the head in an apology but unknowingly erased all of their memories of her.
When she woke up the next morning, the morning of her tenth birthday, she discovered that her parents didn't know who she was, and had forgotten about her entirely. Out of fear, her parents then locked her in the garage. Her dad contacted the police, but the PSFs got there first.
After spending a whole day on a bus, hungry and scared, they finally reach Thurmond, a facility made to 'rehabilitate' the kids who survived IAAN, which developed dangerous abilities. After some chaos caused by some of the older and braver kids, she is ultimately carried inside, where she is made to wait so she can be color coded. She uses her powers on the man who is supposed to test her, convincing him into believing she is a Green, afraid of the restraints she had seen on those coded Yellow, Red and Orange.
There, she meets Sam, which becomes her first and only friend at Thurmond, before she accidentally wipes herself from her memory too. After erasing herself from her mind, Ruby doesn't say a word for a whole year.
The Darkest Minds begins with Ruby picking weeds in Camp Thurmond's garden. Without warning, the White Noise (or Calm Control) blares over the loudspeakers, causing Ruby to pass out.
Ruby wakes up in Thurmond's infirmary. Beside her, a doctor named Cate Begbie begins asking her questions about her color selection process. Ruby becomes worried that Thurmond knows that she's actually an Orange, not a Green. After Cate leaves Ruby's room, Ruby discovers a note telling her that Cate knows Ruby is an Orange, and that she wants to help her escape. Under the note, a package of two pills Cate had instructed that Ruby takes before bed. Cate signs off the letter "A friend if you'd like".
Though skeptical, Ruby agrees to take the pills before she goes to bed. She wakes up in the middle of the night in a seizure, and one of her roommates presses the "emergency button" located in their cabin. Ruby is taken back to the infirmary where Cate is waiting with a set of doctor's scrubs and a surgical mask. Cate instructs Ruby to put them on, and then they rush to her car. They successfully escape Thurmond, and Ruby fell asleep shortly afterward.
When Ruby wakes, Cate properly introduces herself as a member of The Children's League, an organization set on rescuing kids from the government's rehabilitation camps. After hours of driving, Ruby, Cate and Martin, another boy Cate had rescued, meet Cate's boyfriend, Rob, at a gas station outside of Marlington, West Virginia. Rob was supposed to have rescued two kids from another camp, but when Cate asks about them, Rob tells her he wasn't able to get them out. When Ruby shakes Rob's hand, she is sucked into his mind and sees images of him shooting two kids in the head after he had rescued them from camp. She comes to the conclusion that Rob and Cate are going to kill her and Martin.
Ruby and Martin were sent to the gas station to change into clothes Rob had gotten for them. Ruby makes the decision to sneak out the back door in order to escape from Rob and Cate. During her escape, she stumbles upon a young girl named Suzume, or Zu for short. The girl runs away from Ruby, but Ruby chases after her. Ruby hears Martin and Cate call after her as she chases Zu through a forest. They eventually reach a black minivan, and Zu pulls Ruby into it right before Cate or Rob could see her. Ruby hides with Zu in the minivan until two boys, who Zu seemed to know, appeared and started driving the van away.
The two boys were named Liam and Chubs. Liam was driving, and Chubs was perched in the passenger seat. Ruby was still hidden until a gunshot is fired in the distance. Ruby knew it was Cate and Rob, so she revealed herself to the boys. Shocked, Liam stopped the car. Ruby begged to be let out but before they had time to decide whether to let her out there or at a bus stop, a bullet shattered the back window of the van.
As the book continues, Liam and Ruby create a relationship almost. Meanwhile, Chubs shows a moderate dislike of her and Zu shows a friendship. Throughout the whole book, they and the others search for the Slip Kid (A kid who can help others like them get in touch with their families and so on. And provides a safe haven for those that stay there). Over time Ruby reveals her true ability, Liam is the only one who feels the same way about her as he did when he thought she was Green. They eventually find the Slip Kid, whose real name is Clancy Gray.
They spend time in the camp, but Zu, Ruby and Liam end up getting sucked into this magical fantasy, Chubs being the only sane one. Ruby spent her time being trained by Clancy on the ways of an Orange, and Liam on being one of the protectors of the camp. Later on Zu leaves with her cousin and others. Towards the end of their stay Ruby and Liam begin falling for each other.
The group comes to realize that he's not on their side and is really the leader of the various governmental facilities. Ruby, Liam, and Chubs try to escape but are caught, and in an attempt to protect her friends Ruby joins the Children's League. Towards the end of the book, Ruby erases all of Liam's memories of her. She does this because she fails to see any other condition on which he'd willingly leave. He walks away from Ruby, who is now a stranger to him.
Ruby is in the children's league. She had six months of training and is on a mission with Vida, and Rob as the leader of the mission. Their aim is to capture prisoner 27 but as Ruby lifts his hood, he turns out to be Cole Stewart, Liam's older brother. Cole sends Ruby on a dangerous mission to find a valuable flash drive which Liam unknowingly took. The book covers Ruby's quest to find him while forming new bonds and holding on to old ones before they break.
In the last book Ruby emerges as a fully developed character. She has quite some lows as a result of Jude's death in the previous books. She's instrumental in the grand plan to end the camp system. She pushes herself throughout the book to free the kids and help her friends. She stops Nico and goes back to Thurmond herself after her best friend's death to take down the system from inside. Ruby is successful and proudly walks out of the prison which abused her for years.
In The Darkest Legacy, it is revealed that Ruby goes in hiding after her father was shot. She spends her time rescuing other kids and especially helping reds. Ruby is missing for the major part of the book. She appears only in flashbacks and once in the present. We learn that she had been deeply troubled before she left (“She’s cold,” Owen said. “She’s so cold.”). It's later revealed that Ruby was kidnapped in her mission to find a dangerous trafficking group. Zu is successful in finding Ruby who had been taken in by Leda Corp. She's fully conscious by the end of the book and Chubby Choo fulfills his best friend duties by looking after her.
Ruby appears passive, but she proves otherwise when she and Martin were hiding in a car together. She thinks about "breaking his fingers" but decides not to because he might have made her think that (since he is an Orange) and wants her to get mad. Also, when Liam made her drive to the car while he made a tree fly in front of their followers, she screamed at him but drove the best she could. She is smart and rational. She thinks things through stays relatively calm during pressing situations. She has kept her true color secret from everybody for more than 6 years. She lies very easily and doesn't do things without thinking them through. She has a lot of demons but always looks past them when it comes to protecting her friends or gaining justice. She considers herself a monster and tries not to get too close to people for fear that she will end up hurting them or herself in the end.
Ruby is described to have long unruly (and often tangled) hair, which is a dark brown color, close to black. Her eyes are striking pale green color, and she describes them as big and "sleepy" looking. Her face is round shaped, and she has dark thick brows, and full lips. She is, at five feet and five inches, of average height and is described as extremely thin, ("so damn skinny I could see bones in my chest I didn’t know existed", in her own words) as a result of having been malnourished for six years while at Camp Thurmond. In Through The Dark, Sam says, "Ruby had been so stark when we were younger: black hair, white skin. Thin limbs and sharp joints." The difference in Ruby's character is noticeable by the end of In The Afterlight ("I could see thoughts moving behind her hard eyes, not fear.")
The director of The Darkest Minds (film) Jennifer Yuh Nelson, wishing to stray away from the "White Female Protagonist" troupe that generally is associated with YA dystopian novels, cast Amandla Stenberg, a biracial African American actress, as Ruby instead.
Ruby Daly is a known Orange which means she has the ability to manipulate ones mind. Some Oranges can push emotions into others and make them do things they would never do themselves. In this case, Ruby can see, project and erase people’s memory of her as well as push her thoughts into others. The first time she unknowingly uses her abilities, she accidentally erases her parent's memories, which was the reason why she came to Thurmond.
Ruby and Cole relate to each other as both of them have similar and extremely strong powers. Through the course of the series, they begin to trust each other and soon become best friends. Cole's words of encouragement and bravery come back to Ruby in one of her most difficult moments and act as a guiding light. Ruby keeps his dream alive by helping other kids like Cole even after he turns to dust.
Cole’s younger brother by approximately four years, and Ruby’s love interest throughout the series. They meet near the start of the first book, when Ruby was running away from the League. As time goes on, and she begins to form relationships with Zu and Chubs, she also forms a much stronger bond with Liam. They both support each other, and come to love each other. At the end of The Darkest Minds, she wipes his memories of her in order to get him to leave her, and reunites with him in Never Fade. Their relationship is rocky as a result of Ruby erasing Liam's memories but they patch up in the end of Never Fade and build shelves. In The Darkest Legacy, they go in hiding because of the threats to Ruby's life. Their new home becomes a safe haven for the other kids just like Black Betty was for the original gang.