Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Sunday, April 10, 2011

Plot Summary:
San Francisco, California, was just bombed by terrorists. While out exploring the city, to look for clues put out by Harajuku Fun Madness, Marcus, Van, Jose-Luis (Jolu), and Darryl are caught in the chaos of the aftermath. While trying to escape the huge crowds of panicked citizens, Marcus, and his friends,  are detained by the Department of Homeland Security as possible terrorists. Moreover, as the DHS discovers who Marcus really is, he becomes a marked man and teh DHS will be following his every move. Unwilling to abide by the rules of the DHS, who have not only stripped the people of San Francisco of their constitutional rights, he creates the XNET to not only outwit the DHS, but convey to the people that need to fight back against  "The Man" and their illegal actions.

Critical Evaluation:
Little Brother is an essential text for teens today. Doctorow has provided readers with an excellent example of when everything goes wrong. Echoing the previous events of 9/11, a group of teenagers are faced with the same events where terrorists have destroyed their city and fear has run rampant. What is extraordinary about this story is that it gives a very real, and incredibly scary, picture where a country has decided that is was necessary to not only spy on its citizens, but interrogate and torture people who were suspicious. Just like the events of today, especially the stories on Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo), Doctorow has brought them to the heart of San Francisco where the former Naval station (Treasure Island) is turned into a detention center within ten miles of the city.  I can definitely say that this story haunted me as I read because not only can it happen, it can easily destroy the hopes and dreams of the youth of today. Not only are teens growing up too fast, but to have something like this happen, will only make adolescence that much more intolerable; teens will always be seen as trouble makers and treated as criminals.

Information about the Author:
According to his website, Cory Doctorow is a sci-fi author, blogger, activist, software developer and former executive. Born in Toronto, Canada, Doctorow has accomplished quite a bit in his life:

"He is the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing (, and a contributor to The Guardian, the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Wired, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. He was formerly Director of European Affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (, a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties. He is a Visiting Senior Lecturer at Open University (UK) and Scholar in Virtual Residence at the University of Waterloo (Canada); in 2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California" (para. 6)
In 2003, Doctorow co-created an open source peer-to-peer program called "OpenCola," which was sold as Open Text. He continues to serve on advisory boards such as the:  Participatory Culture Foundation, the MetaBrainz Foundation, Technorati, Inc, the Organization for Transformative Works, Areae, the Annenberg Center for the Study of Online Communities, and Onion Networks, Inc. When not being involved in a million projects, Doctorow continues to write young adult novels and is enjoying being a father to his three year-old daughter, Poesy Emmeline Fibonacci Nautilus Taylor Doctorow who, he claims to be "a marvel that puts all the works of technology and artifice to shame" (para. 12).

Teen Dystopian Thriller

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 10 & up

Books Similar to Little Brother:
Awards & Recognition:
  • 2008 nominations for the Hugo, Nebula, Sunburst, and Locus Awards
  • 2008 Ontario Library White Award
  • 2008 Prometheus Award
  • 2008 Indinet Award

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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