|“||“Ghosts don't haunt people--their memories do.”||”|
–Ruby, in Never Fade
Ruby was born in Salem, Virginia and had an average early childhood. Eventually, the first signs of IAAN (Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration) appeared. Ruby was, for the most part, oblivious to it due to the guiding hands of her parents and teacher.
Her first true interaction with the disease was when she witnessed Grace, her classmate, die in fourth grade. After Grace, numerous 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, on her tenth birthday, she discovered that her parents didn't know who she was, and had forgotten her existence entirely. Out of fear, her parents then locked her in the garage. Her dad contacted the police, but the Psi Special Forces got there first, taking her with them.
After spending a whole day on a bus, hungry and scared, with a group of other PSI kids captured by the special forces, 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 colour 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 orange, red and yellow
While 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 to her for a 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 Connor begins asking her questions about her colour selection process. Ruby becomes worried that Thurmond knows that she's actually 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 sceptical, 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 afterwards.
When Ruby wakes, Cate properly introduces herself as a member of The Children's League, an organisation 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 starts to love Ruby as a big sister. 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. They eventually find the Slip Kid, whose real name is Clancy Grey.
They spend time in the camp, but Zu, Ruby and Liam end up getting sucked into this magical fantasy, Chubs being the only one unconvinced of its perfection. 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 realise that Clancy is not on their side and is really the leader of the various governmental facilities. Ruby, Liam, and Chubs try manage escape but are caught by an old friends father, and in an attempt to protect her friends Ruby calls 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 meets with Ruby and sends Ruby on a dangerous mission to find a valuable flash drive which Liam unknowingly took. This flash drive contains knowledge about the cause of IAAN. Which is needed to stop Rob Meadows plan to destroy the camps through children being sent as suicide bombers.
While in the midst of another mission Ruby and Jude escape from Rob Meadows. Ruby exposes Rob via her headset to the Children's League. Jude and Ruby are now on the run desperate to find Liam they almost are captured by PSF's and then encounter Vida however they escape her and find Andy a train driver who offers to take them to their location. On the way, Ruby discovers that not all the adults are against the Psi kids. They eventually find the address of Liam's house. Only to encounter Chub's, who has become a skip tracer to keep tabs on Ruby, Liam, Zu, and Vida, who was able to find them due to the trackers inside Jude's clothes. Vida joins them in their quest to find the flash drive.
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 in an attempt against her. 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 Chubs fulfils 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 and stays relatively calm during pressing situations. She has kept her true colour 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 colour, close to black. Her eyes are striking pale green colour, 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. 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. Oranges have the ability to see people's thoughts and memories, cause hallucinations, implant emotion or ideas and take full control over someone's actions. Some oranges have the added ability to erase memories. 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. She has also been shown to control and manipulate the thought patterns of other living beings, allowing her to control their minds, via physical contact or within her visual line of sight.
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 is a red.
Cole’s younger brother by three years, Liam Michael Stewart is a blue and Ruby’s love interest throughout the series. Things are not easy for these two, but time and time again, their relationship pulls through.
Ruby and Lee first meet after Zu pulls Ruby into Black Betty. At first, Lee didn’t know what to think of this fierce teen on the run, but after she mentions her distrust of the Children’s League (an organization Liam ran away from) he begins to trust her. They stay the night in a hotel where Ruby breaks down in the bathroom and Liam awkwardly knocks on the door to give her socks. Ruby remarks how she wasn’t okay and somehow Liam knew that. This reflects a common pattern of Liam and Ruby being able to read each other better than themselves.
Their relationship is built on harmless, friendly teasing. During a time when the Children’s League is about to catch them, Liam relinquishes the wheel of the car to Ruby so that he can get the League off their tail. He remarks that driving is just like riding a bike despite the terrifying terrain she was driving in. After Ruby pulls the car to a stop and Liam resumes driving, she punches him in the shoulder saying, “That was not like riding a bike, asshole!” Liam smiles and replies, “Yeah you’re gonna fit in here real nice.” They tease each other a lot like this. Ruby and Liam often say that they are each other’s “safe place” where they can say anything to each other. We see this constantly through the first novel and leading all the way to the third.
In the first novel, the largest threats to their relationship are Ruby’s fear of her powers and Clancy’s manipulation of Ruby. Ruby often feels like she loses control with Liam and is terrified of wiping his memory, the way she wiped her parents’. When Ruby and Lee finally end up at East River, Ruby is constantly under the mental manipulation of Clancy until he inevitably sexually assaults her. This infuriates Liam who harbors an intense feeling of protection towards Ruby.
Ruby has an even larger feeling of protection harbored toward Liam. So much that at the end of the first novel, after Ruby and Lee have been captured by the League, she erases his memory of her so that he can escape and be free of the League.
This leads to their problems in the second and third novels. In the second book of the series, Ruby is forced to find Liam after he unknowingly takes a flash drive from his older brother, Cole. Ruby eventually finds him extremely ill and does everything she can to get him medicine. Throughout the entirety of the second novel, Lee is standoffish towards Ruby until he finally breaks down and tells her he loves her. He talks about how scared he is that he doesn’t know her and would do anything for her. They end up kissing and this reconnects his memories of Ruby. After this, he is incredibly hurt and angry that Ruby would betray him by taking his memories.
This hurt continues throughout the next book, though they are shown to reconcile occasionally. They always love each other even if they don’t agree, which is quite often. Cole is a common source of tension in this book. Lee feels betrayed that Ruby sides with him so frequently and that he seems to be more of a source of emotion release than Lee. They make up eventually towards the end where they “build shelves” and realize that they both had been acting like stupid heads.
Liam is said to have been in the hospital when Ruby wakes up after the Thurmond operation and Grams adores him. They reunite and mend their ties during the end where they both think about the life that could be. They both dream of going to Virginia Beach together and falling in love in another life.