Sam is a teenage hacker extraordinaire. He single-handedly brought the Internet to its knees hacking into a large telecom company. He can and does hack anything-- even the White House. His skills attract the attention of a secret agency inside the department of Homeland Defense. The agency recruits hackers and employs them to keep the Internet safe from, well, them. As Sam becomes a member of the anti-hacker team he discovers something in the Internet that is far more dangerous than any hacker or cyber-terrorist. Sam and his new friends will either defeat the new threat or die trying.
Why I picked it up: I love science fiction and computers. When I saw it at Barnes and Noble I had to have it.
Why I kept reading it: There is plenty of action to keep the story moving and some cool new technology that seems very believable. The story combines elements of Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot.
Who I would give it to next: Edward and Gerardo. They both like Doctorow’s books and I suspect that they are budding anarchists.Recommended for grades 6-12
Tony Doyle, Teacher Librarian, Reviewer for School Library Journal
From the ominous opening pages, Brain Jack delivers as a rocket paced cyber thriller. The prologue creates a sense of urgency and despair about the Internet's grip on our lives. Anywhere there's a network, cyber thieves can steal information, and not just information but even human thoughts. Technology has evolved and cyber gamers are using headsets instead of keyboards to control their computers. People are becoming addicted to gaming and losing control of reality.
When teen cyber hacker and uber-geek Sam Wilson hacks into a telecommunications company, he gets busted by national security, which locks him up. It doesn't take him long to escape, but then he realizes he has been set up; the government hires him to bring down other hackers like himself.
As Sam works with his super secret team, they realize they are up against a threat not just to national security but to human life and human thought itself. An entity has begun that is too powerful to stop. This cyber-presence is everywhere and all-powerful; it reacts before the human team can. What is it they are up against?
When a computer can be smarter than Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey and a society can be more frightening than A Clockwork Orange, humanity is in trouble. Brain Jack is well-written, deftly and superbly told unravelingly at a break-neck pace and will have readers turning the pages late into the night. This chilling tale will resonate with readers who like technology, computers, and thrillers.Highly, highly recommended grades 7-up. 349 pages
Pamela Thompson, MLIS, Library Media Specialist
visit her ya novels blog at http://booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com/
*now a featured blog on the Texas Library Association's homepage at http://www.txla.org/TLA-blog
It's the future of the United States. A place where black-market and side alley deals are made for video games...a place where computers and their peripherals are high commodities. There is no Las Vegas, and Sam knows he's the one responsible for the downfall of the United States....
It started out harmlessly. A little hack to get some free neuro headsets for him and his best friend Fargas. Sam knew the hack was easy, but he still couldn't shake the feeling someone was watching. And then the invitation arrived. Neoh@ck would invite him to the elite of the elite if he could find their con. What did he have to do? Crack the firewall of the White House and find the virtual con. Sam did, and now the feds are knocking on his door.
But there is more to it than meets the virtual eye. Sam runs into Dodge while incarcerated and makes a daring plan to escape. And his escape turns into the a proposition he can't refuse, working on what he does best. One that means life or death, protection of countries and their resources and governments, and a battle against Ursula, a virtual being that wants to take control of not only the what Sam and the crew are trying to protect, but of people as well, using the only means available to her...neuro headsets.
WOWOW!!! Okay, this isn't quite a word you'd use for a review, but from the beginning I was hooked. Brian Falkner writes a YA thriller that does exactly what he set out to do - thrill the reader. A dystopian novel in a very futuristic, realistic way, Falkner writes about the dangers of the future involving technology, and one that could quite conceivably happen. Sam is one of those teens we all know...an extremely bright and talented person who walks, talks and lives for technology. He is vibrant, intuitive, and leaps off the pages as well as the other characters in this novel. The prologue will capture and the book will follow suit.
I requested a guy read on the floor of ALA...the next best novel that will capture this audience. The rep at Random House handed me this...Brian Falkner's book will too with the guys.
Recommended by: Naomi Bates, Librarian, Texas USA
See more of her recommendations: http://naomibates.blogspot.com/