Marcus is an expert with a computer, and he has to be. In his school computers rule. They are not only for doing schoolwork, but technology is being used to keep track of and spy on the students. In Marcus’ near-future world, technology is slightly more advanced than it is today. In order to have some sort of freedom and control while being online, Marcus has figured out how to maintain his privacy online while staying under the radar, mostly through hacking.
This all changes one afternoon when Marcus and his friends skip class to join in a scavenger hunt as part of one of their favorite online games. San Francisco comes under attack from terrorists and Marcus and his friends finds themselves close to the attack. So close, in fact, the he and his friends are taken in by the Department of Homeland Security as possible threats. Even though they had nothing to do with the attacks on San Francisco, Marcus and his friends are interrogated for days in an unknown prison about their involvement. When they are finally set free, their lives are changed forever. Marcus is scarred by the interrogation and to make matters worse his best friend Darryl was never released.
Marcus takes to the net determined to fight against all the new restrictions, curfews, and increased DHS presence in San Francisco as a result of the terrorist attacks. Marcus feels that his story must be told and that people must fight back against Big Brother. However, by fighting back, he risks everything… even his life.
Little Brother is a great book for any reader. There is a lot of action in this book and a good mystery. Little Brother also makes you question if this could really be our future. It is really believable that this world could one day be ours, and if it is, we all need to be better informed about how to maintain our privacy online. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and also give you a lot to think about.
Dead End in Norveltis a semi-autobiographical novel by the author Jack Gantos. So, it is not a true autobiography, rather it is a work of fiction based on real events and things from Jack Gantos’ life. At the beginning of the book, we meet Jack who is twelve-years-old in the summer of 1962. He lives with his parents in the small town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania. Jack’s summer is not off to a good start, though. He accidentally shot off his father’s Japanese rifle in the backyard and has been grounded for the entire summer. Jack is not allowed to leave his house at all for the whole summer, but there is a stipulation. He can leave to help out his elderly, arthritic neighbor Miss Volker. Due to Miss Volker’s arthritis, she has a hard time using her hands so she needs Jack to help her out around the house and also with her duties as town coroner. As the coroner, Miss Volker needs Jack to drive her to wherever there is a dead body in town and he also helps her by typing up the town’s obituaries. Jack expects that his summer is going to be a boring one. Let’s face it, how many people are going to wind up dead in one summer? But Jack’s summer is anything but boring! First, the old ladies of Norvelt are dropping dead one after another and this leads to a murder mystery investigation. Jack’s father also decides to restore an old plane, Jack has a run in with the Hell’s Angels, and there are house fires and nosebleeds galore! And that’s not even half the story!
I admit my only exposure to Sherlock Holmes has been the action-packed Robert Downey Jr. movies and the super awesome BBC adaptation. No, I have not read the original novels. However, I do enjoy the character of Sherlock and his abundance of knowledge that always seems to come in handy at just the right moment. The mysteries and the way Sherlock uses his superb sleuthing skills are always interesting and surprising. So, I was excited to find out that Andrew Lane is writing a series that introduces us to the fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes. As an added bonus, this series is the first teen series endorsed by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate.
In the first book of the series, Death Cloud, it is 1868 and Sherlock has just been sent to live with his aunt and uncle in their large estate in Hampshire. This arrangement is only supposed to be for Sherlock’s holidays from boarding school, but with his father stationed in India and his mother unwell, Sherlock is not sure what his future holds. His brother, Mycroft, has arranged for Sherlock to be kept busy with an American tutor named Amyus Crowe. Crowe is a Texan from America with a mysterious past, but a great knowledge of many different things. Sherlock is still bored, though, living in the country. Luckily, he makes friends with a local boy named Matty. Of course, through their boredom, the two boys stumble upon a mysterious black cloud that leaves its victims dead with plague-like symptoms. Together, Matty and Sherlock risk their own lives to solve the mystery of the cloud of death.
Death Cloud is filled with tons of action and adventure. And, of course, there is a great mystery that kept me guessing throughout the entire novel. One of the best parts about this book are the things I learned while reading the book. Each aspect of the mystery and how Sherlock comes to his conclusions are explained in depth in the novel, and most of the explanations are logical scientific ones! This is definitely a great read for all teens of all ages who enjoy a good mystery with lots of action and adventure.
Once you’re finished with Death Cloud, be sure to check out the next book in the series, Rebel Fire. In this next book of the series, Sherlock and his friends intercept a plot to resurrect the Southern Cause in America with the supposedly dead John Wilkes Booth!