Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
17-year-old Marcus loves technology and computers, and he delights in finding new ways to hack software, hardware, and most especially security systems. But Marcus is in the wrong place at the wrong time when the San Francisco Bay Bridge is bombed by terrorists. He and three friends are taken into secret custody by Department of Homeland Security and interrogated mercilessly. While Marcus and two friends are eventually released, one boy isn't freed. Is Darryl dead? A prisoner? They have no way to know...and they discover that while they were imprisoned, their beloved city has turned into a police state, with more citizen rights and freedoms disappearing each day.

Marcus decides to fight back against the DHS, but will his efforts make the city safer? Or will Marcus become a different kind of terrorist? Plenty of San Franciscan youth join in with Marcus' plans to jam security systems and derail the DHS, including his new girlfriend, Ange. But what will happen when the DHS finally tracks down Marcus and Ange?

Set in the "near future", Doctorow's technology digressions and discussions are fascinating...especially when I did a little research and discovered that most of story's "futuristic technology" already exists.
This is dystopic science fiction, political commentary, teen fiction, and spy thriller writing at its best. The narrative contains violence (including a description of torture practices, specifically waterboarding), mild cussing, and some hot-but-tactful sexual situations between Marcus and Ange.

Highly, highly, highly recommended for ages 14 to adult. Adult book groups and high school enlish teachers, I'm talking to you: get this book, read it, and talk about it!

The author makes the text of Little Brother available for download at no charge on his website. If you read the book, you will understand why.

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