Little Brother

Little Brother

Book - 2010 | 1st trade pbk. ed
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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.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2010, ©2008
Edition: 1st trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780765323118
0765323117
Call Number: y DOCTOROW 2010
Characteristics: 429 pages ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

The NSA has gotten big, too big in the eyes of teenage hacker Marcus. He’s going to bring it down.

In an almost-future San Francisco, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has gone mad with power, turning the city into a police state. Marcus, a 17-year old computer hacker, first becomes a target of the government’s suspicion, and then he decides to fight back.

What do you do when big brother is watching everyone, including you?

After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, California, seventeen-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right.

After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, California, seventeen-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right.


From the critics


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pacl_teens Oct 13, 2020

“Little Brother” by Cory Doctrow is an action-packed novel that takes place a few years in the future. It’s an incredibly engaging read that is very hard to put down once you pick it up. The main character, Marcus or his tech alter ego “w1n5t0n”, is a pretty clever kid, he’s super tech savvy and he’s got street smarts. Unfortunately, one day he and his friends get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and get arrested by the Department of Homeland Security. Marcus and his friends get mercilessly interrogated by the Department of Homeland Security, who thinks they were behind a terrorist attack, even though they were actually the victims of that attack. Eventually, they get freed but when they return home but everything has changed. The terrorist attack promotes the DHS to take unnecessary and intrusive precautions in the name of national safety. In rebellion Marcus creates a new alter ego "M13y" who uses technology to take down the DHS along with other teenage tech rebels.

You could classify “Little Brother” as a dystopian novel but unlike many dystopian novels it’s plot feels scaringly plausible. And at least to me that adds to the intrigue of the story and makes it even harder to put down. Coupled with Cory Doctrow’s great writing you get pulled into the story and have a hard time getting out. Another great thing Cory Doctrow does is have his characters use real technology that actually exists and explains them to the reader. For example, I learned a lot about cryptography, arphid cloners, and much much more. Overall, “Little Brother” is a well written, super interesting, and even informative novel about teenagers taking a stand in what they believe. It’s the ultimate underdog story and if you do enjoy it make sure to check out the sequel “Homeland”. - Ariela, Grade 9

haushallmartinez Jul 16, 2020

One thing that has stayed with me from this book was how plausible most of the technology was. How the tricks being used by and against the characters were things that could be done now, with only a slight shift in what is considered acceptable, and how, post 9-11 (or a similar event), shifts like that can become acceptable.

ChristchurchTeens Jun 17, 2020

A standalone cyber-thriller from the savvy and clever Cory Doctorow, packed full of teen hackers, revolution, terrorism, a police state, and an awesome romance.

n
NB_Books
Apr 04, 2020

Extremely informative on cyber security and civil rights, but man the characters all sound so smug and the romance felt so forced, everyone felt unlikable to me. I hated almost every person in this book.

I'll be honest, this book holds way more educational value than entertainment value. Probably would've been better as a nonfiction book lol.

r
ryner
Jul 15, 2019

Is Cory Doctorow prescient? Though published in 2008, I couldn't shake the sense that this book could just as well have been written in response to the political climate of 2019. (The irony being that had I read it then it would have seemed far-fetched...now, not so much.) Definitely worth a read, though adults may find the narrator's smug, teenage arrogance somewhat tiresome.

o
Owen_King
May 07, 2019

This is a great book. The characters are excellent and the way Cory Doctorow explains everything that you may not know (crypto etc.) is
wonderful. Overall, a book that cannot be put down.

this book is bad

Vilka Dec 01, 2018

Breathtaking page-turner about computer-savvy kids who start a covert resistance to a rights-tramping Homeland Security surveillance state that starts up after a terrorist attack on San Francisco, and become viewed as security threats themselves. Fast-moving, suspenseful thriller that feels eerily real considering current events, and you happen to learn a bit of real-life technology, statistics and ciphers in a way that blends seamlessly with the story!

l
louislampe
Nov 29, 2018

Good one by Cory Doctorow. Fast moving, great character development, interesting premise, well developed. The fiction in Science Fiction is kept within bounds although Homeland Security might disagree.

j
JLMason
Jun 25, 2017

This young adult novel offers a cautionary tale about government oppression through increasing surveillance and loss of civil liberties justified by a terrorist attack. The description of hacks to get around on-line and physical tracking was interesting.

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joierika
Jan 02, 2020

joierika thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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RobertELPL thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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ilovecats2003
Jun 27, 2016

ilovecats2003 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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Legion_0
Mar 31, 2015

Legion_0 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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goldbean
Oct 25, 2014

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Oct 12, 2013

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elijahn
Oct 02, 2013

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TheBigMan
Sep 22, 2011

TheBigMan thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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TheBigMan
Sep 22, 2011

Sexual Content: First book I've read in which a character has sex. Also there is sexual dialog as well.

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Jvorstenbosch
Mar 11, 2011

Sexual Content: It gets a bit, steamy if ya know what i mean, nearer the end.

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Nia1217
Jul 26, 2014

The Xnetters weren't happy about the stepped-up police serveillance, but they weren't gong to take it laying down.

l
liza
Jan 21, 2009

“My technology was working for me, serving me, protecting me. It wasn’t spying on me. This is why I loved technology: if you used it right, it could give you power and privacy.”

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liza
Jan 21, 2009

Marcus is a likable if undeniably cocky hero — he hacks cellphones, sasses clueless authority figures and quotes the Declaration of Independence from memory. That cockiness gets scuffed a little in the disaster, and both the story and Marcus himself acquire grit and interest as a result. The fear and humiliation he experiences in interrogation are vividly detailed, and after­ward Marcus takes a principled stand that leads him into an ingenious program of resistance and civil rights activism.

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