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Book review: Doctorow sequel 'Homeland' educational but not for teens

By Emily Christensen

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013 1:40 p.m. MST

"HOMELAND," by Cory Doctorow, Tor Teen, $17.99, 386 pages (f)

Cory Doctorow's latest young adult fiction novel, "Homeland," is an excellent educational book engaging the reader with his plausible tech-conspiracy-saga as a sequel to "Little Brother." However, with four chapters of back story before the plot begins to move forward, it is a slow transition from the first book into this sequel. Once the plot is moving, though, it remains at a fast and entertaining pace until the last page.

The opening chapters were mostly unrelated to the rest of the story, slow to pick up pace, and filled with red flags of language and inappropriate references that some readers will not feel comfortable reading long enough for the actual plot to begin.

The plot picks up with hactivist Marcus working for political reform through his IT day job while spending his nights cataloguing government privacy violations and related cover-ups. Doctorow causes the reader to wrestle with the realization that what has become the private communication and personal world of our everyday lives is easily only data that is mined, intercepted and invaded without our permission by anyone with the skill or resources to do so.

The moral of the story is that while this may be true, not even the government has the authority to do this, and we can only fight such rights violations by uniting together to advocate for ourselves and ensure protection.

Marketed to teens ages 13 and up, the greatest concern for this book is the foul language used throughout by each of the main characters. There are no scenes written around sexual behavior or drug and alcohol use; however, there are several drug and alcohol references and several sexual innuendos.

Doctorow is famous for explaining technology well without weighing down the plot. The reader learns about the technology behind computers, the Internet and other technology. The novel explores the implications and impact of our societal use of and dependence upon technology and examines the question of government interference in use of technology and self-expression.

If you go ...

What: Cory Doctorow book signing

When: Saturday, Feb. 9, 2 p.m.

Where: The Leonardo, 209 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City

Web: www.samwellers.com, www.tor.com

Emily Christensen lives with her husband, Nathan, in Owasso, Okla. Her doctorate is in marriage and family therapy. Her blog is www.housewifeclass.com, and her email is housewifeclass@gmail.com.

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