ReviewsIt’s timely, smart, relatable, realistic, thought-provoking and fun, and that’s why I strongly believe that readers will be talking about Cory Doctorow’s novel for a very long time.
Remember the scene in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress where Manny sketches a structure for an underground organization? Now imagine that, done properly. With X-boxes.
Ken Macleod, author of The Cassini Division and The Execution Channel
Doctorow makes the technology so easy to understand it becomes practically invisible—except, of course, to eyes trained to find ways to make it break. Granted, some of the strokes he uses to paint the bad guys are overly broad, but this is still one of the most awesome books any young adult could read this summer... and one of the most important novels anyone of voting age could read in the months leading up to our next election.
Marcus is a wonderfully developed character: hyperaware of his surroundings, trying to redress past wrongs, and rebelling against authority. Teen espionage fans will appreciate the numerous gadgets made from everyday materials. One afterword by a noted cryptologist and another from an infamous hacker further reflect Doctorow's principles, and a bibliography has resources for teens interested in intellectual freedom, information access, and technology enhancements.
School Library Journal
A worthy younger sibling to Orwell's 1984, Cory Doctorow's LITTLE BROTHER is lively, precocious, and most importantly, a little scary.
Brian K Vaughn, author of Y: The Last Man
It's about growing up in the near future where things have kept going on the way they've been going, and it's about hacking as a habit of mind, but mostly it's about growing up and changing and looking at the world and asking what you can do about that. The teenage voice is pitch-perfect. I couldn't put it down, and I loved it.
Jo Walton, author of Farthing
The right book at the right time from the right author -- and, not entirely coincidentally, Cory Doctorow's best novel yet.
John Scalzi, author of Old Man's War
Cory Doctorow is a fast and furious storyteller who gets all the details of alternate reality gaming right, while offering a startling, new vision of how these games might play out in the high-stakes context of a terrorist attack. Little Brother is a brilliant novel with a bold argument: hackers and gamers might just be our country's best hope for the future.
Jane McGonical, Designer, I Love Bees
Little Brother is a scarily realistic adventure about how homeland security technology could be abused to wrongfully imprison innocent Americans. A teenage hacker-turned-hero pits himself against the government to fight for his basic freedoms. This book is action-packed with tales of courage, technology, and demonstrations of digital disobedience as the technophile's civil protest.
Andrew "bunnie" Huang, author of Hacking the Xbox
A rousing tale of techno-geek rebellion, as necessary and dangerous as file sharing, free speech, and bottled water on a plane.
Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies and Extras
"I can talk about Little Brother in terms of its bravura political speculation or its brilliant uses of technology -- each of which make this book a must-read -- but, at the end of it all, I'm haunted by the universality of Marcus's rite-of-passage and struggle, an experience any teen today is going to grasp: the moment when you choose what your life will mean and how to achieve it.
Steven C. Gould, author of Jumper
I'd recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I've read this year, and I'd want to get it into the hands of as many smart 13 year olds, male and female, as I can.
Because I think it'll change lives. Because some kids, maybe just a few, won't be the same after they've read it. Maybe they'll change politically, maybe technologically. Maybe it'll just be the first book they loved or that spoke to their inner geek. Maybe they'll want to argue about it and disagree with it. Maybe they'll want to open their computer and see what's in there. I don't know. It made me want to be 13 again right now and reading it for the first time, and then go out and make the world better or stranger or odder. It's a wonderful, important book, in a way that renders its flaws pretty much meaningless.
Neil Gaiman, author of Sandman and Anansi Boys
Filled with sharp dialogue and detailed descriptions of how to counteract gait-recognition cameras, arphids (radio frequency ID tags), wireless Internet tracers and other surveillance devices, this work makes its admittedly didactic point within a tautly crafted fictional framework
Readers will delight in the details of how Marcus attempts to stage a techno-revolution ... Buy multiple copies; this book will be h4wt (that's 'hot,' for the nonhackers).
This book has a whole bunch to recommend it: It's fast-paced, well-written, and the protagonist is engaging in a geeky way, if just a tiny little bit generic. The book is a bit didactic in places. However, since in some ways it's a fictionalized manual for how to build an underground resistance to an evil government, that's only to be expected. Really very good, and based on what I remember about my own teenage years,
Little Brother is not a light-hearted book. Many of the "pro-revolution" YA books I've read in the past few years go from resistance to victory without really passing through pain and sacrifice. In the course of this book Marcus and his friends, and others they don't know of, are tortured, and each time Marcus comes up against the mentality that official suspicion must rest on something, that people must have done something or they wouldn't be in trouble. Marcus has to deal with betrayal from some of the adults in his life, and the discovery that not all his friends can or will follow him. He learns some hard truths about his own privileged position as he realises that this war against youth is also a war against non-whites. He discovers that the America he understood as historical is not a consensus, that there is no consensus America, only one that has been bitterly contested time after time and is safe only if people fight for it to be safe. Even his victory will be partial, as he discovers that there is no way he is going to be allowed to think of himself as wholly innocent.
Farah Mendlesohn, Strange Horizons
“I can talk about Little Brother in terms of its bravura political speculation or its brilliant uses of technology — each of which make this book a must-read — but, at the end of it all, I’m haunted by the universality of Marcus’s rite-of-passage and struggle, an experience any teen today is going to grasp: the moment when you choose what your life will mean and how to achieve it.
Steven C. Gould, author of Jumper