Saturday, June 30, 2012
Author: Cory Doctorow
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.
But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.
When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.
Review: I was assigned this book for my English class, and it took me a bit longer than usual to finish because I had to annotate. Little Brother takes place in a slightly different America, with high-security public schools and the book begins with a terrorist attack on San Francisco. Marcus and his friends were close to one of the attacks, but not inside a shelter, so they were picked up by the Department of Homeland Security. They were released, but not after suffering torture by people who refused to believe that they were innocent. The story is really about Marcus getting revenge for the increased security measures in the city, being tortured, and the DHS probably killing his friend. The book also has explanations about the computer programming Marcus uses in his fight against the DHS. The Xnet was something Marcus started for his own purposes, but as other teens joined, it became a rebellion fueled by the teenagers of San Francisco. How far Marcus was willing to go for revenge surprised me. He put everyone on the Xnet in danger, and lost his friends who were either too scared to go with him or angry with what he was doing. This was definitely one of the best assigned reading books I've ever read.