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Streams of Babel (Streams of Babel #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  936 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
In a New Jersey suburb, two women die of brain aneurysms within twenty-four hours--events that cause the government to suspect that a terrorist cell has unleashed a deadly biochemical agent. With each glass of water they drink, the people of Trinity Falls are poisoning themselves.
A world away in Pakistan, a sixteen-year-old computer genius working as a virtual spy for the
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published February 29th 2000)
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Apr 30, 2009 Smaileh rated it really liked it
I started this book in a "now" mind-set and as such it seemed especially timely given the current swine flu concerns. It took me a little while to pay attention to the date headings on each chapter and realize that it is set in 2002, just a few months after the Towers fell. It is a 2008 release, and I wonder if the author started it in 2002 but it has taken this long to be released or if it was a conscious decision to set it in the recent past, when concerns about terrorism were still fresh and ...more
Nov 12, 2008 Aaron rated it it was amazing
For me, Carol Plum-Ucci is one of the unsung greats of young adult novelists. She excels at creating suspenseful stories with strong characters in New Jersey settings that place whole communities on edge. In many cases, the readers is not always completely sure what has happened since there may or may not be a supernatural aspect to the story.

Her newest novel seems to be drawn from the fears of terrorism that seem to swirl about us at the back of our minds. It all starts when Cora's mother becom
Mar 02, 2009 Hannah rated it it was amazing
This was a great book! It had a few swear words, and there was blood, but it was still a great book!
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Oh dear, my to-review list is starting to build up. Better get to it.

Well, luckily for me I don't have a ton to say about Streams of Babel. I'm sorry to say, I found it rather disappointing. I'd been looking forward to reading it, and had been meaning to read it for so long, and then I didn't find it particularly compelling. The reason I wanted to read it so badly is because I loved Carol Plum-Ucci's book What Happened to Lani Garver. So, if you're going to read anything by Plum-Ucci, I recommen
Apr 16, 2010 Katrina rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All Teens
Shelves: teen, fiction
I loved this book. It really keeps you on your toes. The story is told through multiple characters, though I liked Shahzad's voice the best. He is funny in his naive, deadpan way, and he is really, really smart. The switching between characters every chapter kept the pace racing along and kept me at the edge of my seat.

This story is almost plausible and I like that Plum-Ucci wrote about a topic that doesn’t get much coverage in the teen world. This book fills that niche with aplomb. I think Plum
Jun 08, 2008 Karlan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adults and teens
This exciting ya novel concerns bioterrorism when the water supply is poisoned in one neighborhood of a small town. The villains are testing their technique and are foiled by two brilliant teen computer experts. It's a real page turner with interesting characters and subplots.
Jul 17, 2008 Z rated it really liked it
I picked up Carol Plum-Ucci’s Streams of Babel hoping to find something as gripping as The Night My Sister Went Missing, albeit on a larger scale. What I found was something rather different, but just as interesting.

Streams of Babel is about bioterrorism. A group of terrorists target a city through their drinking water, a slow-acting plan that will leave their victims confused as to its source. The book centers around four teens—Cora, Owen, Sam, and Rain—who are infected, as well as Shahzad, a P
Jun 08, 2008 Lucy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who like modern terrorism thrillers
Shelves: teen
When Cora Holman’s mother dies, she attributes it to an inevitable drug overdose. But when another neighborhood woman dies the same night, also of an aneurysm, Cora begins to suspect that something is very wrong.

Meanwhile, halfway across the world in Pakistan, Shahzad is, at 16, a talented v-spy for the American government. While working in his uncle’s internet café, he spies on terrorists and extremists who are making terrible plans. When he begins to read chatter about Red Vinegar in Colony On
Oct 13, 2014 Harper rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jetta Bell
Cora Holman has lived a pretty normal life, living with her grandma for most of it, until her mother shows up whens she’s 13. That’s all Cora had wanted her whole childhood was her mother, but then she realized her mother wasn’t a caring, loving mother that she had wanted. Cora’s mother was a morphine addict and there was no way Cora was ever to call Aleese mother, Cora was just a little brat to her. Still, that didn’t stop her from caring when out of nowhere Aleese has a brain aneurysm and die ...more
Dec 13, 2011 Lucy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Streams Of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci

************Contains Spoilers************

Streams of Babel is a book based mainly in a the small New Jersey town of Trinity Falls. The book is told from six different teenager’s point of views: Cora Holman - a girl who lives with her drug addict mother, Scott Eberman - a paramedic who can’t afford medical school, Owen Eberman - a religious football player who want’s to do more in life, Rain Steckerman - a popular girl who wants to live an ordinary life, Tyler
Homewood Public Library
Mar 06, 2012 Homewood Public Library rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, mystery
Half a world away a 16-year-old boy sits in an Internet cafe near Karachi, Pakistan. A brilliant computer programmer, Shahzad works as a v-spy for the United States government. He's picked up some Internet chatter about a substance called Red Vinegar: "Waters will run red in Colony One...Waters will run red three hours from Home Base in December...They will drink in December and die like mangy dogs in April."

It's March in Trinity Falls, New Jersey. On the same day, on the same street, two women
Annie Oosterwyk
This book was pretty good, at least it made it off the night stand and into the living room on a couple of occasions. Bioterrorism and kid-hackers make for an exciting premise, but overall the pace was slower than I'd like.
Alex A
Sep 14, 2012 Alex A rated it liked it
I read the book "Steams of Babel" by Carol Plum-Ucci. I found this book very interesting at times but very dull and boring during others. In this story it puts you in the perspective of a few different characters and showing you how they see the world. Since this book changes characters every chapter there is not a main character. The characters in the story that are focused on are Cora Holman, Shahzad Hamidani, Scott Eberman, Rain Steckerman, Owen Eberman, and Tyler Ping. Cora Holman was kind o ...more
May 17, 2014 Donald rated it really liked it
My expectations prior to reading this book were definitely exceeded by its end. I had anticipated a Jersey version of the Dustin Hoffman film Outbreak. Only it would be terrorist and not some constantly irate disease ridden monkey spreading the sickness. What I read instead was something that took a far more focused approach. By limiting the exposure to only a handful of people the author was able to make the characters' experiences and relationships the focus not the brutality of the illness. I ...more
Jul 10, 2011 Lyn rated it really liked it
Streams of Babel flows in a number of mind boggling directions with characters so well drawn you'd be able to pick them out of a line up.

· Cora Holman, reclusive, lonely and beautiful, whose secret life includes living with a morphine addicted mother.

· Scott Eberman, disappointed at not being able to go to medical school, a young paramedic still in training.

· Owen Eberman, a young jock whose lifestyle and many friends leave him too little time to be alone with his thoughts.

· Rain Steckerman, eas
Jul 05, 2008 Alex rated it liked it
Set in the wake of 9/11/01, this story follows several different teenage characters whose lives become intertwined when they are effected by a sinister plot on American soil. Computer whiz kid Shazhad has been working for the US government helping to track the activities of terrorists until his work winds up having him sent to the US. Cora's mother's bizarre death ends up sending her and several friends into the hospital.
Water born agents, secret cells, virtual spies,and global terrorists set a
Oct 04, 2010 Yomiuri rated it really liked it
The Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci deals with terrorism in the United States and its consequences during 2002. Two women in New Jersey die because of what is believed to be the flu; however, there is more to it. It seems as though terrorist have poisoned the water which could be called a biological agent. Cora Holman had to deal with a drug addict mother, with her death and the fact that she too was sick. Scott and Owen Eberman, the latter who goes to school with Cora also had to deal with ...more
Aug 20, 2012 Josamarie rated it it was ok
Fast paced and mildly interesting, everything wrapped up a little too neatly for me. Obviously as "Book 1" it was left open for a sequel, so everything wasn't tied up completely, but the climax left me feeling pretty blah. I felt like there were too many characters partly developed, but on the whole everyone felt sort of one dimensional....

As for the take on the role of teens in a post 9/11 world, I for one felt all of the kids were pretty blasé about the potential for terrorist attack. Maybe t
Carol Plum-Ucci tackles bioterrorism in her novel, Streams of Babel. I picked up this book because a favorite former student loaned Streams of Babel and it's companion Fire Will Fall to me. Initially, I had a bit of trouble getting "into the book." However, once I got going I couldn't put the book down. The town of Trinity Falls' water system has been infiltrated by bioterrorists, and people begin falling ill. It becomes a race against the clock to find out who is behind this and what has been i ...more
Kristin Lundgren
Apr 10, 2012 Kristin Lundgren rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-teen, terrorists
This one is a little bit different. It revolves around the lives of a group of kids living on a street in a small town in southern New Jersey, who's parents take ill, then they get sick, and there are questions about what it is. Then the action switches to a computer hacker, 16, in Afghanistan who works for the US government, sending them chatter he captures in his uncle's internet cafe from the visitors who use it. The rest of the story is about how the boy becomes integral to taking down a ter ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Lynn rated it really liked it
Well written thriller that highlights the frightening aspect of just how easy it is for terrorists (of any type and nationality) to gain access to a country's resources with a view to harming people.

I found it rather refreshing that a young Pakistani hacker does not buy into the notion of America being the 'land of the free'.

However, the author's description of Shazahd's asthma lacks credibility. For an asthma attack to be so bad that Shazahd faints, at which point his lungs open up sufficiently
Catalina Sennett
Jul 17, 2010 Catalina Sennett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was the best book by Carol Plum-Ucci I have read yet. I was so hooked I immediately headed out and bought the second. It follows the lives of some teens, in the span of a few weeks. One of the teens is a pakistani boy who is a spy for the US, he is like a computer whiz, who can hack into any site and he knows a whole bunch of languages. He finds out some terrorsts are planning an attack on the US, in a certain area and he alerts the US agents he works for, but they dont really believe him. ...more
Apr 14, 2011 Alex rated it it was amazing
I found this book at my local library and just had to get it. A book about bio terrorism AND teenagers? Sign me up.

Basically this has become one of my favorite books of all time. It was great to see the character growth while at the same time they are just teenagers struggling to find the good and the worth in life. The terrorist plot was also wonderfully executed and did surprise me in certain spots.

You know that feeling of yelling at a character when they don't know they have a valuable piec
Rachel Seigel
Jan 22, 2010 Rachel Seigel rated it it was amazing
When two women from the same small town seemingly die from brain annurisms, the deaths seem unrelated. But when four teenagers from the same town become ill with similar flu-like symptoms, warning flags start to shoot up. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, a teenage V-spy picks up chatter about a bio-terror agent referred to as "Red Vinegar" which the terrorists claim will gradually poison the water stream in Colony one, causing multiple deaths.

This is a taught, fast-paced, and thought-provoking thriller
Jan 15, 2014 Beverly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 13-16
Streams of Babel is a scary and realistic story of bioterrorism. Because the targeted victims are in a very small community, Homeland Security is slow to see the threat. It takes several hospitalizations with weird and fatal symptoms, and a heads up from a teen computer genius hacker spy in Pakistan, before the feds take action. Meanwhile, the terrorists are plotting to expand their bioterrorism to NYC. Streams of Babel is fast paced and tense. The characters are interesting, especially Shahzad, ...more
Mar 17, 2009 Allison rated it it was amazing
Just after 9/11, in a small New Jersey town, two women die of similarly bizarre symptoms and 3 teens fall ill.

Across the world in Pakistan, 16-year-old Shahzad, an Internet cafe employee who also works for the US as a v-spy, is monitoring the conversations of an extremist group. The group has released what they call Red Vinegar in Colony One.

Will Shahzad's talents at online spying and his brilliant knowledge of languages be enough to find these extremists and identify the chemical agent of whi
Jun 13, 2011 Bryn rated it it was amazing
Everything Carol Plun-Ucci writes is golden! So far she hasn't written a thing that I haven't loved. I enjoyed this book and its sequel because of the slow tension. As the terrorist attack looms, nothing is a surprise, and you might get frustrated waiting for some action, because it's a slow burn kind of tension. However, I though the end did not disappoint, even if it wasn't exactly a surprise. She also creates these fantastic characters you want to root for. As always, I love her thematic cont ...more
Mar 23, 2010 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Bioterrorism has come to a small town in New Jersey. Two residents die of brain aneurysms within twenty-four hours and several teens become ill with a mysterious flu, leading the government to suspect that a terrorist cell has unleashed a deadly biochemical agent. With each glass of water they drink, the people of Trinity Falls are poisoning themselves. nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; A world away in Pakistan, a sixteen year old computer genius working as a spy for the U.S. sees an influx ...more
A girl in New Jersey struggles with her mother's morphine addiction, a consequence of a brutal accident during a journalistic assignment in Iraq. Brothers struggle with poverty, the result of their mother's commitment to using her law degree defending the rights of the poor. A counter terrorism agent's daughter just can't shake the flu. A Pakistani boy spends his days and nights surfing the web looking for suspicious chatter to report to US agents. The son of a Korean spy located in New York dea ...more
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English 9 2B/D: Streams Of Babel 1 10 Oct 07, 2012 06:47AM  
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Carol Plum-Ucci is a young adult novelist and essayist. Plum-Ucci’s most famous work to date is The Body of Christopher Creed, for which she won a Michael L. Printz Award in 2002 and was named a Finalist to the Edgar Allan Poe Award. Describing her subjects as «the most common, timeless, and most heart-felt teenagers,» Plum-Ucci is widely recognized for her use of the South Jersey shore to set sce ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Streams of Babel (2 books)
  • Fire Will Fall (Streams of Babel, #2)

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