Little Brother

Little Brother

Book - 2008
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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, not so much.) Definitely worth a read, though adults may find the narrator's smug, teenage arrogance somewhat tiresome.

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.) 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!

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.

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.

Mar 17, 2017

Little Brother, written by Cory Doctorow is an amazing insightful book, that is hugely inspired by the book 1984 written by George Orwell, with the idea of a controlling force (Big Brother). However, even though 1984 is a fantastic and suspense-filled story, Little Brother, is more directed for our modern millennials, with technology based on our generation and modern day global crises. With the concept of freedom over safety, and political fear against social fear, this book is a great read for anyone who likes to question the morals of society. The main character is a tech savvy and resourceful 17 year old boy by the name Marcus Yallow. He starts off being a very relatable and interesting character. When he comes face to face with the government's idea of safety and privacy against his own opinion, he develops a strong and passionate sentiment for his rights as an American. Furthermore, the reason this book is one you won’t forget, is that it shows it doesn't matter how old you are, what your gender is or how high your level of knowledge is, we can all do remarkable things to fight for equality. In this case, one seventeen year old boy with a couple of friends and technology by his side, decides to do the impossible, overthrow the government.
- @Because_Logic of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

ArapahoeErika Aug 08, 2016

This was absolutely fantastic. You got that vastly creepy and overwhelming feel like you get when you read 1984 but it managed to be more hopeful due to more people (mostly teen hackers) fighting the status quo. I would hands down recommend this for all ages. Doctorow also includes a list of suggested reads fiction as well as non-fiction.

Jun 27, 2016

This book was an amazing book, that is custom tailored for computer nerds and people who love to read. This book follows Marcus Yellow, 17, after a San Francisco terrorist. He gets held in custody and when he gets out he fights them if it is everything he does. An amazing book with great detail and interesting plots. This book got me thinking and hooked on Cory Doctorow.

Feb 15, 2016

Finally a good book for teenage girls.

This book is one of the best I've read in my life. The conflicts made me question my opinions and become more educated about the subjects. This book is amazing.

Only rating it five stars because that's the highest the scale goes.

Jul 16, 2015

Marcus Yallow is a 17 year old technophile in Cory Doctorow’s young adult fiction novel “Little Brother”. One day, Marcus and three of his friends skip school in order to play an online game called Harajuku Fun Madness. While doing one of the games quests which involves searching for clues in San Francisco, the group witnesses a terrorist attack on the city. Trying to get back home, one of his friends is stabbed and the group searches for help. They find a military jeep expecting for aid, only to be instead shackled and taken in for interrogation by the Department of Homeland Security. After 6 days of brutal interrogation, Marcus and two others are released. Angered, Marcus decides to revolt against the Department of Homeland Security by using technological means to reveal the truth. Using his knowledge of technology and help from others, Marcus stops at nothing to get his friend back and defeat the Department of Homeland Security.

“Little Brother” is a story that manages to pack important themes and messages in an easy to understand format for young adults. The story is written in first person from Marcus’ perspective. I thought that the informal writing style used was appropriate as it makes it easier for the books intended audience to understand. The theme of privacy versus security was something I found easy to connect with, and I think that it is a theme that many can also relate to. Personally, I found this book easy to understand. However, the one flaw I found was that the book uses terminology that those without an interest in technology may not have an easy time reading. “Little Brother” is a book that has powerful messages. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend it to those who don’t have an interest in computer technology.

May 01, 2015

I enjoyed this very much. Teen material set in a city I know very well. A good read.

Apr 27, 2015

'Little Brother" is riddled with hundreds of excruciating clichés about San Francisco, and worst of all, the author failed to develop any of the characters beyond ironic cuteness. 'Little Brother" is a moronic and shitty little book, that is best avoided.

BookReviewer2015 Apr 24, 2015

An excellent and thought provoking book that combines teen romance, suspense, techno-thriller, political drama, and cyberpunk espionage all in one volume!

ehbooklover Mar 09, 2015

This gripping page-turner of a book is a combination of speculative fiction, action novel, and political thriller, with a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure. The subject of personal freedom VS safety is a timely one and this book provided lots of food for thought.

Aug 31, 2014

Speculative future in the truest sense--this is a "what if" future that could all too easily happen tomorrow. Tightly plotted with high and very real stakes for very real characters, this story takes place in a very true-to-life San Francisco. Doctorow shows us why we should care about online privacy and the real-world repercussions of the Patriot Act, while taking us on a wild romp with the hacker next door. I highly recommend this book to just about everyone.

Jun 19, 2014

This is a good book. It really taught me a lot about governments and technology.

mawls May 12, 2014

This one is not only timely, but it will take you on a ride. All about how far the government and all its agencies will go when it comes to terror in a city. Story follows a young man and how he tries to fight back after being mistaken for a terrorist. Definitely good for people who are into computers, coding, hacking and security systems.

rthawk Oct 11, 2013

The author was interviewed on PRI's "To the best of our knowledge":

Aug 17, 2013

This book is everything that I hate in literature: a story in service to a clear agenda and science fiction so obsessed with technology that every other section is a long explanation of some geeky process. And I loved every page. The book is that good. The story needs the agenda to function, but it is a good story in and of itself, and the agenda is important to consider (the situation described is not far-fetched at all, if hysterical). Doctorow’s explanation of technology and hacking is long but easy to follow and well-interwoven with the rest of the text. If computers make your eyes glaze over, you won’t be able to follow it, but if you’re comfortable with tech-y explanations despite not being capable of producing them yourself, you should have no trouble. Premise: A terrorist attack hits San Francisco, and in its aftermath, California essentially becomes a police state run by the Department of Homeland Security. After being imprisoned and brutally interrogated on an unsubstantiated charge, a teenage hacker decides to fight the system. Gripping. Energetic. Read it.

Jul 05, 2013

Very thought-provoking, though the interrogation and torture scenes are a little intense. This book is a little disturbing because you can see this future, with the US government illegally spying on, detaining and torturing its citizens, becoming real so easily. The examination of our technology easily turning "big brother" on us makes this a great modern, techie version of Fahrenheit 451.

Jun 22, 2013

This novel doesn't boast stellar writing (in a one-sentence paragraph, Doctorow uses some derivative of "grab" three times) or any truly deep insight into teens' minds. At times, the dialogue is unbearably cheesy (Marcus actually says "Hiya!" -- exclamation mark and all -- to his girlfriend. *gag*), and characters are liable to go on speeches to sledgehammer home an opinion. And yet, somewhow, the reader isn't likely to mind the long passages of narration as Marcus details the crypting of the Xnet, SMTP tunneling, and the Onion Router, which I wish I'd read of when I went to China and its great Internet Firewall. And Marcus explains things clearly, with plenty of analogies, so that when he says, "If you've never programmed a computer, you should. There's nothing like it in the whole world. When you program a computer, it does exactly what you tell it to do" (p. 119), you're inclined to agree with him. (Trust me, I took a programming course last year and really -- programs actually do whatever you tell it to do. It's exhilarating... and maddening, when you fail to debug the program properly.) It isn't the action sequences that stand out in Little Brother, the prison questioning and torture; it's the quiet (then not-so-quiet) pushing-back of Marcus's network, the "Don't trust anyone under 25", the realizations and redrawings of what terrorism means, and how technology isn't meant to keep things secret; it's meant to keep things secure. This book truly is relevant, so please, read it.

Jun 19, 2013

A timely and engaging technothriller, along the lines of early Stephenson for a younger audience.

May 17, 2013

I really liked this book which is weird because when I read it, I was still reading all teen romance novels and nothing else. One day, on a whim I picked it up and realized how awesome books can be even without it being mainly about two people falling in love. Books like this are the reason why, if you don't usually read, you should step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Apr 08, 2013

How very "ironic" that a book like this is written by someone like Doctorow, a complete fraud and farce who censors his web site ( in order to keep it as vanilla as possible, that is, as commercially viable and therefore content-free. In these days of WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, John Kiriakou, Thomas Drake, Dr. Cate Jenkins, Edward Snowden, and many others, a fraud like Doctorow should never be countenanced!

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