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Little Brother Paperback – April 13, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Teen; 1 edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765323117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765323118
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (376 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 10 Up—When he ditches school one Friday morning, 17-year-old Marcus is hoping to get a head start on the Harajuku Fun Madness clue. But after a terrorist attack in San Francisco, he and his friends are swept up in the extralegal world of the Department of Homeland Security. After questioning that includes physical torture and psychological stress, Marcus is released, a marked man in a much darker San Francisco: a city of constant surveillance and civil-liberty forfeiture. Encouraging hackers from around the city, Marcus fights against the system while falling for one hacker in particular. Doctorow rapidly confronts issues, from civil liberties to cryptology to social justice. While his political bias is obvious, he does try to depict opposing viewpoints fairly. Those who have embraced the legislative developments since 9/11 may be horrified by his harsh take on Homeland Security, Guantánamo Bay, and the PATRIOT Act. Politics aside, Marcus is a wonderfully developed character: hyperaware of his surroundings, trying to redress past wrongs, and rebelling against authority. Teen espionage fans will appreciate the numerous gadgets made from everyday materials. One afterword by a noted cryptologist and another from an infamous hacker further reflect Doctorow's principles, and a bibliography has resources for teens interested in intellectual freedom, information access, and technology enhancements. Curious readers will also be able to visit BoingBoing, an eclectic group blog that Doctorow coedits. Raising pertinent questions and fostering discussion, this techno-thriller is an outstanding first purchase.—Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Seventeen-year-old techno-geek “w1n5t0n” (aka Marcus) bypasses the school’s gait-recognition system by placing pebbles in his shoes, chats secretly with friends on his IMParanoid messaging program, and routinely evades school security with his laptop, cell, WifFnder, and ingenuity. While skipping school, Markus is caught near the site of a terrorist attack on San Francisco and held by the Department of Homeland Security for six days of intensive interrogation. After his release, he vows to use his skills to fight back against an increasingly frightening system of surveillance. Set in the near future, Doctorow’s novel blurs the lines between current and potential technologies, and readers will delight in the details of how Markus attempts to stage a techno-revolution. Obvious parallels to Orwellian warnings and post-9/11 policies, such as the Patriot Act, will provide opportunity for classroom discussion and raise questions about our enthusiasm for technology, who monitors our school library collections, and how we contribute to our own lack of privacy. An extensive Web and print bibliography will build knowledge and make adults nervous. Buy multiple copies; this book will be h4wt (that’s “hot,” for the nonhackers). Grades 8-12. --Cindy Dobrez --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Canadian-born Cory Doctorow has held policy positions with Creative Commons and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and been a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Southern California. He is a co-editor of the popular weblog BoingBoing (boingboing.net), which receives over three million visitors a month. His science fiction has won numerous awards, and his YA novel LITTLE BROTHER spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Customer Reviews

This book is a great story... exciting and well written..
Loki
As with any tool, today's computer and communications technology can be used for good and evil.
Linux Geek
This book will make you think - and not just a little bit.
TeensReadToo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Chris Gladis on January 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Probably the biggest hurdle to overcome when reading young adult fiction is the fact that I'm not a young adult. As most adults know, things look very different from this part of the timeline, and it's often very difficult to remember not only how you thought when you were younger, but why you thought the way you did. And it's not a matter of just denying the feelings and emotions of youth - it's that we literally cannot reset our minds to that state. We know too much, we've experienced too much. The best we can do is an approximation of how we think we remember how things were when we were still young enough not to know better.

It was with this in mind that I started to read Little Brother, and while I thought the book was a lot of fun to read, it probably wasn't nearly as cool as it would have been if I were fourteen years old.

Young Marcus Yallow, AKA w1n5t0n, AKA m1k3y, is a senior at Cesar Chavez high school in San Francisco, and he's what we used to call a "computer whiz" back when I was a kid. Marcus has an excellent grasp of how systems work, and finds great pleasure and thrill in either strengthening or outwitting those systems. Thus, he is able to fool the various security measures in place in his school building so that he can do the things his teachers don't want him to do - send IMs in class, sneak out whenever he wants, steal library books, that kind of thing. He's a hacker supreme, a trickster, and a very big fish in his little pond. He's so confident and cocky, in fact, that within twenty pages I wanted nothing more than to see him get his comeuppance.

Which is pretty much what happens. A series of bombs go off, destroying the Bay Bridge and killing thousands of people in an attack that dwarfs 9/11.
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138 of 153 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In some ways, this book harks back to the juveniles of fifties as written by some of the great masters of sf, most especially Heinlein. Like those earlier books, it portrays teenagers that are intelligent, resourceful, game-loving, and confrontational, but are still at times prone to making stupid mistakes in the name of peer-group status. In other words, they are real teenagers.

The setting is the near future, when some ill-defined terrorist group decides to blow up the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Marcus, our hero, and several of his friends are picked up in a rather wide sweep by Homeland Security forces as possible suspects. And therein lies the tale, as the actions of the security forces clash violently with Marcus's idea of what is right and proper in the supposed land-of-the-free America. What Marcus decides to do about this situation is an instructional manual to the reader in just how personal freedom and privacy have been restricted and what can be done about it in today's very high-tech world of security cameras, RFIDs, cryptography, computer databases, and the insidious insinuation of propaganda both at our schools and into everything we see and hear on the internet and our TVs and from the mouths of our political leaders.

The story bubbles with suspense, and the actions that Marcus takes are very believable as something a seventeen-year old could actually do. It is very easy to identify with Marcus and become very sympathetic to his cause, while the situation itself is stark enough to frighten the daylights out of the reader as being all too possible.
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61 of 69 people found the following review helpful By R'lyeh on April 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this novel immensely. I want to make that clear from the start. There are many reviews that are going to talk only about how important and topical Little Brother is. They're going to talk about how this novel needed to be written. They're all right, but I think everybody should know how much FUN it is to read (even while you're being outraged by how possible it all is). I started reading it and didn't put it down until I was finished.

Little Brother is the first-person narrative of Marcus, a 17 year-old with a talent for technology. Doctorow gets Marcus' voice just right. He alternates between street-swagger and vulnerability, between naivete and expertise. I found him to be an entirely believable contradiction, which is a pretty good definition of a teenager. At first, I found Marcus' love of explaining technology a little irritating, but I couldn't figure out why. Then I realized that it reminded me of my own poorly restrained tendency to try to explain computers to anyone who would listen (35 years ago). Nothing reaches you quite like seeing your own flaws in the hero.

Marcus finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time. Without revealing any plot details, suffice it to say that he comes to the attention of a law-enforcement agency with a broad remit and limited oversight. Deceit and mistrust test his family and friendships as he comes face to face with the conflict between personal safety and the responsibilities of a citizen.

Cory Doctorow has managed to create a wonderful fusion of science fiction, action novel, political thriller, and whimsical romp. It's very hard to bring those elements together, but he has succeeded admirably. I haven't seen anyone pull this off since "The Long Run" by Daniel Keys Moran.

Buy it. Read it. Buy copies for your kids. Once they start reading it, they'll finish it.
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