Posts Tagged 'hacker'

Zero Day by Jan Gangsei

Genre: Mystery/realistic fiction

# of Pages:  359

2018-19 Iowa High School Award Winner

Addie Webster was kidnapped from her home when she was 8 and there has been no trace of her ever since.  Then, after her father becomes president of the U.S. she mysteriously shows up again and claims to have escaped from her terrible captors.  The head of the NSA finds her story troublesome and enlists her former best friend, Darrow, to keep an eye on her and see if she does anything unusual.  Darrow is offended at first, but unfortunately has some deeds in his past he would prefer did not become public and agrees to keep an eye on Addie.  He is surprised to find that she does exhibit some unusual behavior, such as being able to hack and take down a video posted by a bully in a threatening manner.  He’s happy she did it of course, but where did she get such computer skills if she was raised in a compound with no connections to the modern world? What is she up to and how far will she go to get what she wants?  Most importantly, is any part of her still the Addie he remembers playing board games with as children?

This book is fun, surprising, and fast paced.  Readers will enjoy the unusual set up, but will most likely see through some of the lies that take Addie awhile to figure out.  It is set up to continue and I’m sure that readers will want more after the exciting ending and subsequent cliffhanger.  Many of the characters are not fully developed, but as the series continues I’m sure they will develop further.  This would be a popular title to share with reluctant readers, not because of its length, but because of its ability to grab the reader from the very beginning and keep him or her guessing until the very end.

 

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The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

eye of minds

Genre:  Science Fiction/Mystery/Adventure

# of Pages:  310

RAC:  Yes

Michael enjoys playing video games, but he lives in a world where the best games are part of the VirtNet.  In the VirtNet you can actually immerse yourself completely into the game and leave your body behind in your house.  There are many types of games you can play, adventures you can try, and friends to meet in the virtual world.  People like it because they can do things they wouldn’t normally do in real life and if they “die” they simply wake up  safely in their own home.  Recently, there have been reports about a gamer who has managed to hurt people both in the game AND in real life.  Michael and his friends are enlisted to track this gamer down because they are very successful hackers and can see stuff others can’t.  Michael and his friends learn quickly that this is no ordinary gamer and if they are not careful they will not come out of this alive.  If they do not help the Virtual Authorities to catch this guy they will have all of their privileges revoked and can never game again.  Can they face a life without gaming?  Are they willing to risk their lives to keep gaming?

Fans of The Maze Runner series will enjoy this title as well.  Like that series, this one has a fair amount of excitement and violence.  The book is also set up as a series of tasks the characters must accomplish in order to be free.  The tasks are very challenging and often scary, but the characters feel they have no choice but to press on and follow through.  The ending is a bit of a surprise, but fans of  Dashner would be surprised if there wasn’t a twist at the end.  Video gamers, boys, and reluctant readers will enjoy this title.

Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  424

RAC Book:  Yes

A computer hacker in Pakistan finds some mysterious threats directed toward the U.S. and he alerts the proper authorities.  The threats are examined, but there is no evidence found of any bio threats.  Then, in the U.S. two women who live on the same street die of mysterious aneurysms on the same night.  The daughter of one woman and the two sons of the other try to find out what happened to their mothers even as they start exhibiting similar symptoms.  Meanwhile, the computer hacker is moved to the U.S. where authorities hope he will be able to pinpoint a location and identification of the culprits behind the attack on a neighborhood water supply.

This bio-thriller moves at a brisk pace for the beginning and end of the story, but the middle lags a bit as the characters try to put the pieces together for why they are all getting sick. The idea behind the attack is clever and well-executed which forces the reader to think about how easily any of us could be influenced by a terrorist attack.  The steps authorities take to locate and extinguish the threat seem realistic and make the officials seem very knowledgeable and credible.  The characters are interesting, but a few have some habits of using bad language on a regular basis.  For students who enjoy spy and terrorist books this is a must.


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