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Homeland Hardcover – February 5, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

*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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765333694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765333698
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read and loved Little Brother when it came out two years ago, but I was fuzzy on the details by the time I got around to Homeland, its sequel. So I approached Homeland essentially as a stand-alone novel.

Both are dystopian novels about surveillance societies, but in many ways, Homeland is a more immediate, present day thriller. The vast majority of surveillance technology Doctorow describes exists now, and is already deployed in schools and by governments and corporations. Schools are today monitoring kids, taking pictures of them at school, in their homes, in various states of undress. Governments are installing spyware, with its own weaknesses that then make it easier to for criminals to get access to your computer. Companies are turning vast quantities of personal data into ever-more targeted marketing.

While I recall being outraged at the spectre of draconian surveillance in Little Brother, that feeling turned more to fear in Homeland. The future is here, and it's not pretty.

As another reviewer noted, 'Severe Haircut Lady' is not very threatening as the villain of the story, but I would say the true antagonist is the surveillance state itself, rather than any one person.

Like most Doctorow novels, Homeland is one third entertainment, one third education about the state and direction of technology's influence on us, and one third practical lessons in privacy defense. Since reading it I've changed and lengthened passwords, turned on two-factor authentication, encrypted hard drives, and started using a secure VPN.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Homeland is the sequel to Little Brother, Cory's first novel about a dystopian near-future/present of the American Surveillance State, which was one of my favorite novels of all time. Homeland doesn't disappoint -- it's realistic enough to be scary, but sufficiently fictional to not be downright terrifying. Little Brother and Homeland are the Nineteen Eighty-Four of the 21st century -- a warning of an issue that society is largely ignoring, and that will affect every one of us.

Like Little Brother, Homeland must be read by anyone who cares about privacy, civil liberties, technology, or their intersection. Not only does the book address serious issues, it does so in a manner that makes it impossible to put it down until the very end. You'll be left actually thinking about social, legal, technological, and ethical issues, and that's exactly what society needs so desperately.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Little Brother several years ago and hadn't even realized there was a sequel until I saw this on sale. I remembered liking the first book, so I was willing to give this one a shot... and ended up regretting it. For whatever reason, I didn't enjoy following Marcus' anti-establishment adventures this time around. I found the youthful first person narrative grating. Even worse, the book seems overloaded with technical jargon (which in itself is fine) backed up by long-winded explanations about *everything*. Whether it's D&D, server technology or the latest slang among today's youth, too much of the book reads like a manual. Any movement in the plot gets bogged down by far too many details.

Perhaps the worst part about the experience is that it made me second-guess whether Little Brother was really all that good to begin with. I kind of hope that Homeland really does pale in comparison to its predecessor, but maybe I've just outgrown this author's writing. Regardless, it was a disappointing read.
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Format: Hardcover
Cory Doctorow's award-winning YA novel "Little Brother" (2008) was an enjoyable cautionary tale, and so I looked forward to the sequel. To my disappointment, "Homeland" expands on the first book's principal flaw--its preachiness--and departs from the suspensefulness that made it work, thus drawing greater attention to the flaws in his protagonist.

The new story is set a couple of years after the events in "Little Brother." Marcus Yarrow, who is struggling to pay for his college classes, is trying to find work. His parents, as always sympathetic, supportive but clueless, are now, unfortunately, also underemployed. The story opens with Marcus and his girlfriend, Ange Carvelli, attending the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert. This is the best part of the novel, in part because Doctorow describes the event so well, and in part because he recreates some of the mystery and suspense that drove "Little Brother." (Doctorow also juices up the Burning Man part of the book with some surprising real-life cameos.) At the festival, Marcus is given a thumb drive with sensitive documents that compromise the misdoings of a government contractor, and is instructed to post the materials on the Web if the source should "disappear."

There's some promise to this set up, but the momentum is quickly lost. When the source of course disappears, Marcus decides first to catalog the documents in his possession; this plot device allows characters from the first novel to come back in from the cold. Marcus's trusted network sets to work reading and providing notes on the trove of files, and while not quite a Sisyphean task, neither is it practicable.
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