Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Privacy? Or Security? Which would you prefer? Little Brother takes place a few years into the future, in a San Francisco that’s already well-monitored. After a terrorist attack, the surveillance tightens to catch the terrorists, but also monitors everyone else without their permission. The Department of Homeland Security has decided that the Bill of Rights can be ignored in the name of “freedom”—a freedom that allows the DHS to monitor everyone without their consent.

Marcus Yallow skips school with his friends, but then his world forever changes after the terrorist attack—and getting picked up by the DHS. He determines to take revenge on them, and in doing so, raises questions about rights: the right to privacy, the right to liberty, the right to justice, the right to stand up for ourselves. Marcus’s technological prowess is admirable, but perhaps isn’t completely surprising considering that almost everything is under surveillance. However, his abilities with technology allow him to do what he does, and he does it well, eventually bringing others—many others—into his fold.

Although I didn’t always agree with everything Marcus did (mostly regarding his personal life), the book was a really good discussion about freedom and privacy and the lengths the government and citizens can go to—from trusting the government unconditionally, to taking issue with it when they’re doing wrong.

-Aliya A.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow is available to download from Overdrive

Code of Honor by Alan Gratz

Image result for code of honor bookIf you are into current events, this is a good book to read. Kamran Smith is half Iranian, the QB of the varsity football team, and is named homecoming king. But that all comes crashing down on him.

Kamran has always looked up to his older brother Darius. He is currently in the military, and Kamran has decided to follow the same route as him. But when Darius says on video that he was in charge of several terrorist attacks, all bets are off.
Everyone at school looks at Kamran like he’s a terrorist himself. He girlfriend ignores him, his best friend doesn’t want to talk to him, and he’s distracted in football practice. At home, the phones are ringing off the hook, and his parents aren’t functioning well. Camera crews show up at his house. And it only gets worse from there.

I feel that the ending was a little bit weak, and it could have been written better. When you find out who one of the terrorists is, it’s funny. The beginning and middle of the story was well written, but then the ending was crammed.

Terrorism has been a major part of current events since 9/11. It’s been 16 years, and it’s not improving by much. This story really hit me hard, because if we were in the shoes of Kamran’s friends, we would probably do the same things. Even if you aren’t that into current events, this still is a good book to read. Sure, a lot of the action is unrealistic, but imagining it is still interesting. It’s also a short book, about 250 pages, if you’re tired of annotating your long, annoying English book.

-Rebecca V . 9th grade

Blackout by Robin Wells

blackout_robinwellsImagine you are having a nice day in a peaceful, secluded town when suddenly the government is hauls you and your friends away to test for a biological virus that could give you, or any other teens in the whole world, super powers. This is what it is like for Aubrey Parsons, a normal girl in high school, is suddenly thrown headfirst into a battle between the U.S. government and a terrorist organization using super-teens to destroy national monuments across the country.

With this information, the U.S. government uses their teens to stop these terrorists. Aubrey is highly suited for the situation having some of those powers herself. She has the ability to become unnoticed by anyone around her. Aubrey, along with some friends, eventually joins a special task force in the army that specializes in the destruction of terrorist groups and will help bring the war to an end.

The author, Robin Wells, tells the story from the point of view of a few teens with special powers caused by the virus that go on adventures to stop, or join forces with, the terrorists. Having families back home and being abducted by the government, these kids don’t know who to trust; but they do know one thing: they will not let these terrorists continue to destroy their country and the people in it.

-Kyle H.

Blackout is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library