I have been in the middle of several books for a while now. Travel and other commitments have interrupted and fragmented my reading. So, I decided to power off the laptop for a while and finish one of the books. LITTLE BROTHER has received starred reviews as well as raves from other experts in YA literature. I will certainly echo their sentiments, too. Marcus is 17 and spends a great deal of his time circumventing the restrictions placed on his school issued computer. He and his friends happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when terrorists blow up the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. Marcus (whose online identity is w1n5t0n or Winston) is detained by Homeland Security and forced to divulge his passwords and unlock codes. He is released and told not to mention what has happened if he wants to stay free. Instead, Marcus embarks on a mission to subvert all DHS does to make the U.S. "free" from terrorism. In this homage to 1984, Doctorow pulls no punches. How much freedom will we relinquish in the name of security? It is not a new question nor one just for an unspecified future. It is NOW that we must wrestle with governments who do not tell the truth, who hold folks captive in violation of habeas corpus law, who assert that if you do not agree with them you side with terrorists. That makes this book all the more frighteningly real. Perhaps it will even motivate students to pay attention to the world around them? Dystopias abound in adult and YA literature. I hope teachers are using them in addition to 1984 and BRAVE NEW WORLD or even in lieu of these classics. Literature has the power to open minds. Perhaps that is why there are so many people who want to curtail what our kids can read???
Now, back to some more reading. Scout is napping, and I must use this quiet time wisely.