TeenFiction Teton County Library's Reviews > Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
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's review
Sep 02, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: freedom, computers
Read in September, 2010


Christy's review: 4 stars
A high school techno-geek-hacker-gamer and his friends go against the man (in the guise of the over-bearing Department of Homeland Security) in a San Francisco of the near future. It doesn't matter if your phones are bugged, internet activity watched, movements tracked, life manipulated... unless they think you are guilty. Then you have to either do what they want you to do, or fight against it.

Marcus (aka M1k3y) is every teenager, but he's also every teen's hero: confident but still insecure, rebellious but ethical, alternative and sometimes subversive, unique even though he's trying to fit in. He's also the perfect narrator to give the reader an introduction to the mindset of a hacker, the way technology works in our society today, and what some people are doing to get around the security therein.

This is a great story about our freedoms as Americans, about action and self-preservation, about peaceful and creative protest, about computers, and about the idealism, outrage, and potential of people under 25.


Chris’s Rating – 3 stars
Marcus is a technology nerd who has learned how to outsmart the school’s electronic surveillance systems. Ditching school with some friends to participate in a game’s special event he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as a bomb explodes, blowing up a nearby bridge. After being arrested by the Department of Homeland Security, enduring poor treatment while not being allowed to contact anyone, Marcus realizes that the freedoms he always took for granted are slipping away. Once he gets out he vows to fight back, not against his country, but against the corruption which is plaguing his home city.

The story idea for Little Brother was very compelling to me, but I expected it to be better than it was, which likely accounts for the disappointment I felt as I read. Many of the ideas regarding freedom verses security are interesting and thought provoking. Also some of the technological information and statistical methods (when Marcus is figuring what to do and what not to do based on how people are caught) were intriguing, although sometimes it went over my head. But I felt like too much effort went into that explaining to the point that it slowed down the story. It also annoyed me how quick Marcus was to stereotype others.

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