"Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow. Tor Teen, 2008.

This book should be required reading for every teen and adult. Just as Orwell's "1984" explored Russian society gone wrong, so this book does the same for the United States and the western world. It might just make you turn in your FasTrak card and make purchases with cash instead of your debit card.

Marcus, aka W1n5tOn, and several friends, all seniors in high school, have ducked out of classes to play a computer game that is like a scavenger hunt. While they are looking for clues, someone blows up the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. Marcus and his friends are "detained", interrogated and tortured for several days. When released, Marcus finds the social climate of the city completely transformed to a police state by the Department of Homeland Security in their search for the terrorists. Determined to set things right, he takes on the DHS using his knowledge of networking and security hacks.

All of the technology Marcus uses is currently and freely available today, and is accessible and hackable by anyone with a little knowledge and experience. Experts Doctorow consulted in writing the novel contributed additional essays at the end of the book. There is also an annotated bibliography of books, articles and web sites that lends a great deal of credibility to the ideas proffered in the story.

Cory Doctorow is a digital rights activist and works with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He blogs at Craphound.com.