Little Brother, the most important YA book to read right now

Little-BrotherLittle Brother by Cory Doctorow

This is an important book. You don’t come across those everyday. Set in a slightly different future with even more surveillance and paranoia, Little Brother gives one of the best critiques of modern society I’ve seen in current YA fiction.

The hero, a very cocky 17-year-old hacker named Marcus, is always trying to find a way to work around security systems, but his talents become even more useful after a real terrorist attack occurs, the whole country freaks out.

Little Brother is part novel, part hacker instruction manual, and part manifesto. It’s not a perfect book by any stretch. There are a lot of plot problems, which are distracting. But I have a theory that premise trumps everything—and wow does Little Brother have a good premise.

And we really need to look at what could happen if we let security eclipse individual rights. Given the recent revelation that the NSA is monitoring our phone and Internet use, the world of Little Brother isn’t so far fetched.

Little Brother comes down pretty hard on the side of privacy over invasive security and monitoring, and it doesn’t really address the question of: well, what then should we do about the actual terrorists? I don’t have an answer to that either, but I’d really like to see some more debate. So check out Little Brother (if you haven’t already), and let me know what you think.

4_starsAnother beautiful thing about Little Brother is you can pick it up for free. Among other things, Cory Doctorow is an ebook evangelist, which warms my heart. So he’ll let you hack a copy from this site. (You can also buy it from Amazon just click the image above).

And speaking of free . . . I recently published a free short story, The Last Zoo, that has some things in common with the world of Little Brother. You can download the version of your choice for free from Smashwords. (Did I mention, it’s free?)

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