Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Little Brother

Doctorow, Cory. 2008. LITTLE BROTHER. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 9780765319852 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

When Marcus and his buddies skip school to participate in an online adventure game, they end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Terrorists attack San Francisco and as the group try to get home, they are arrested by Homeland Security and taken to a secret prison where they are mistreated and interrogated for several days. Once released, they find that they are still suspects but that everyone in the city is being treated as if they were terrorists. Marcus cannot convince his parents of the extent of control Homeland Security has over everyone but believes he must do something to counteract what is happening. A computer “geek” with a genius for action, Marcus enlists first a few friends and eventually a whole network of technologically-savvy teens to bring down Homeland Security. Danger, intrigue, and even romance combine in this page-turner that makes even the most apolitical of us stop and think.

This dystopian novel is a must read for all gamers and hackers and all who worry about the loss of privacy in a post 911 world. While often rather technical, this does not detract from the overall impact of the book.

This is the perfect choice for a book discussion book. Doctorow has a website to accompany the book at http://craphound.com/littlebrother/. Pair LITTLE BROTHER with George Orwell’s 1984 for a literary study with teens.

Other dystopian novels:
Blackman, Malorie. NAUGHTS AND CROSSES. ISBN 9781416900160
Butler, Octavia. PARABLE OF THE SOWER. ISBN 9780446675505
Farmer, Nancy. THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION. ISBN 9780689852237
Hautman, Peter. RASH. ISBN 9780689869044
Westerfield, Scott. UGLIES. ISBN 9780439806114

By Janet Hilbun

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