Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Little Brother (2008)

Cory Doctorow's science-fictiony young adult novel Little Brother (2008) was my most recent read from dailylit (a site which emails me an easily digestible chunk of the book every day, and is actually a totally fun way to read something like this).

The book takes us through a not-so-distant future / alternate reality where Marcus Yallow and his group of friends geek out on computers, outwit the monitors at school, and have unrequited crushes on each other. Most of the fun futuristic technology stuff is in this section, and I thought that was the most entertaining and intriguing part of the book. All that changes, though, when Marcus and his friends are ditching school right as terrorists blow up the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge and they get picked up as suspects when they flag down a van to try to get medical help for their injured friend. The DHS has taken over San Francisco, and they don't believe Marcus when he tells them he is just a high school kid and he has nothing to do with the attacks. Eventually (after some very harsh treatment) they let him go. First he is scared. Then he is mad. Then he starts fighting back.

This book is pretty heavy-handed, and some of the sections read like instructional boing boing posts on Cory Doctorow's interests (encryption, freegans, wireless signals, etc.). I didn't love it, but I think a junior high kid might. There is definitely some suspense and romance, and the narrative is quickly paced. Worth picking up if you have a hankering for some young adult science fiction, if you like the underdog, if you want to know what the fuss is about, or if you just feel like hating on the modern police state.

2 comments:

nikki said...

This looks like Austin's kind of book - SF Bay, alternate reality future, heavy-handed, geeks - his favorite.

Joolie said...

Cory Doctorow wrote a YA novel? I can't believe he never mentioned it.