Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Reviewer: Blaine H.
Rating: 5 Stars
Little Brother is set in present-day San Francisco, California. The main character is a teenage boy named Marcus. He is your average class clown, who always finds himself in trouble. In the story, he is trying to hack into his school’s overly watchful security system so that he can sneak out of school to meet up with his friends to play their favorite video game. After making a few necessary detours to avoid being caught, he finally manages to exit the school without being detected and meet up with his friends. As Marcus and his friends are meeting up, a terrorist attack happens. An area very close to where Marcus and his friends are meeting is bombed. As people race to shelter, the small group of friends are arrested by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for having “suspicious devices” on them so close to the bomb site. These “devices” were really the electronics that Marcus and his friends were using to play video games. They try explaining that to the DHS, but the DHS doesn’t listen to them. Marcus is sent to be detained on an island DHS facility. His journey to the island is not pleasant. He is handcuffed the whole time, and is forced to stay on his knees. Basically he is mistreated by the DHS for three weeks until he is released.
When Marcus gets back home, he tries to act as though his experience with the DHS never happened. However, that turns out to be pretty difficult because the DHS is starting to take over every aspect of everyday life in San Francisco. Marcus tries to rebel against the DHS by assembling a secret communication system without the DHS knowing. This system is called the “XNet”, and if the DHS finds out about it, Marcus will have to suffer through more than just three weeks on an island with the DHS! Throughout the book, Marcus tries to free San Francisco, and his own personal life, from DHS control.
Little Brother was a great book to read, and I give it five stars. It’s an interesting novel that is relevant to this day and age, with terrorism still an active part of the world today. The Department of Homeland Security is also a big part of national protection today. However, in this book they were portrayed as more watchful than they really are, and it made for an interesting read. I would recommend Little Brother to anyone who likes present-day fiction and to those who like action-packed novels.
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