Monday, September 15, 2008

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Little Brother

Just finished Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. Excellent book! From the start it made me think of the movie, Enemy of the State, with Will Smith and Gene Hackman. I kept thinking that if you weren't a bit paranoid when you started, you would be afterwards. Little Brother takes place in the near future. Surveillance of the general public is more intense than it is now. When terrorists attack the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, the Department of Homeland Security basically goes nuts and puts massive restrictions on everyone, and monitors every move everyone makes. A teenager, who was falsely imprisoned immediately after the attack, starts to mount an electronic attack on the DHS to try to make people realize how much they have given up in a misguided attempt to increase security, and to let them know what happened to him and his friends, one of whom hasn't been seen since their imprisonment and is presumed dead. In addition to it being a darned good story with plenty of action, it also gives you a real education about encryption, surveillance etc., but does it in a way that doesn't feel like a lesson - more like a good, geeky friend explaining something to you naturally in the course of a conversation. A good one to read with someone so you can talk about it afterwards. There's a little bit of mature content, but it's not graphic or gratuitous. I'd highly recommend it for older middle school students as well as high school students (adults, too now that I think about it.)


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