From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Doctorow picks up the story of Marcus Yallow, two years after the events of Little Brother (Tor, 2008). Marcus and Ange are attending the Burning Man event in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, enjoying the myriad oddities there, when Marcus is approached by Masha. He had never expected to see her again and is even more surprised by her reason for contacting him. She gives him a flash drive containing the key to unlock more than 800,000 files that document numerous acts of governmental and corporate skullduggery and asks him to make them public if anything happens to her. Before Burning Man ends, Masha is snatched by Marcus's nemesis, Carrie Johnstone, and some rent-a-goons. As if this isn't enough, Marcus also meets the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation playing D & D, with Wil Wheaton of "Star Trek" fame as game master. One of the EFF founders gives Marcus a lead on a job working as webmaster for Joseph Noss, an independent candidate running for the California Senate. When he arrives back in San Francisco, he has to figure out how to release the incriminating documents without compromising his job. While Doctorow is known as a sci-fi writer, none of the science or technology here is fictional so the story hits close to home. The author combines excitement, romance, humor, and geekery with challenging questions for readers. Anyone concerned about the future of information should read this book.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Marcus is back in this sequel to the crossover thriller Little Brother (2008). While attending the Burning Man festival, Marcus receives a USB drive from a hacker, Masha, with more than 800,000 incriminating government documents, and she advises Marcus to publish the material if anything happens to her. Meanwhile, a contact at the festival recommends Marcus to California Senate Independent candidate Joe Noss as a webmaster, and he has his first real job, but can he fulfill his promise to Masha and keep his new position? Doctorow sends readers into a world of Darknet secret websites, Occupy protests, kidnapping and interrogation, and hacking. The narrative is threaded with geek teen culture, economic problems, election strategy, corporate greed, government conspiracies, and privacy issues, and technology nerds will eat this for breakfast with a cup of really good coffee—Marcus says cold-pressed is the only way to go. Libraries are going to want to “pwn” multiple copies to meet demand, and hope that readers take up the activism call to use their “skillz” for good. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Doctorow’s international following is already lining up for this long-awaited sequel. Grades 8-12. --Cindy Dobrez
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