“Never underestimate the determination of a kid who is time-rich and cash-poor.”


Marcus aka “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, his injured best friend Darryl does not come out. The city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: “M1k3y” will take down the DHS himself.

Personal Experiences

Little Brother is a intense book giving the experience of being arrested for something you didn’t do. It is very real and could have really happened. 

I loved this little book of reality. Marcus could have been a real person, and so could everything else in the book. I would keep the age limit about 13, because if a younger kid reads it he/she will feel scared, and this isn’t the outcome Cory Doctrow would have wanted.

I also think that this book has some perfect advice for what the world is going through right now. Maybe this book is the answer.


“When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.”

“If you stare at someone long enough, they’ll eventually look back at you.”

“I can’t go underground for a year, ten years, my whole life, waiting for freedom to be handed to me. Freedom is something you have to take for yourself.”

“It’s our goddamed city! It’s our goddamed country. No terrorist can take it from us for so long as we’re free. Once we’re not free, the terrorists win! Take it back! You’re young enough and stupid enough not to know that you can’t possibly win, so you’re the only ones who can lead us to victory! Take it back!”

“Skipping school isn’t a crime. It’s an infraction. They’re totally different.”

“The opposite of esprit d’escalier is the way that life’s embarrassments come back to haunt us even after they’re long past. I could remember every stupid thing I’d ever said or done, recall them with picture-perfect clarity. Any time I was feeling low, I’d naturally start to remember other times I felt that way, a hit parade of humiliations coming one after another to my mind.”

“Abnormal is so common, it’s practically normal.”

“Once you get to naming your laptop, you know that you’re really having a deep relationship with it.”

“Take it from someone who’s read the Wikipedia entry: this is how the Ottoman Empire was won: madden horsemen fueled by lethal jet-black coffee-mud.”

“Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

“I don’t know anything about press conferences.”
“Oh, just Google it. I’m sure someone’s written an article on holding a successful one. I mean, if the President can manage it, I’m sure you can. He looks like he can barely tie his shoes without help.”

“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. It’s like designing a machine — any machine, like a car, like a faucet, like a gas-hinge for a door — using math and instructions. It’s awesome in the truest sense: it can fill you with awe.”

“There’s something really liberating about having some corner of your life that’s yours, that no one gets to see except you. It’s a little like nudity or taking a dump. Everyone gets naked every once in a while. Everyone has to squat on the toilet. There’s nothing shameful, deviant or weird about either of them.”

“I’d never been a tall guy, and the girls I’d dated had all been my height–teenaged girls grow faster than guys, which is a cruel trick of nature.”

Where to find this REAL book?

Indie Bound*


*If you are unaware, I have a video on how to use Indie Bound as a resource on how to find books

**Also, if you have a Windows Phone, there is a really good EPUB reader app called Bookviser Reader. You can check out their website here.

Happy Reading . . .

Cite this article as: Serene Haroon, "Little Brother (Little Brother #1) by Cory Doctrow," in {sereneharoon.com}, July 18, 2016, https://www.sereneharoon.com/2016/07/little-brother-by-cory-doctrow/.

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