I'm writing this review at 5 am because I stayed up all night reading this book. It's gripping, that's for sure. It's also the kind of book that will make you want to store all your money under your mattress and microwave your passport to destroy the RFID chip embedded in the front cover.
The title of the novel obviously alludes to George Orwell's classic 1984 exists today, and much of it is applied to you on a daily basis. You're on camera at the ATM, when you drive past a traffic light, even sitting at home in front of your computer (who doesn't have a webcam these days?). Your movements can be tracked through the GPS in your phone. Your buying habits are recorded and analyzed at the grocery store. Same thing at the library. And in a Post-Patriot Act America, just checking out The Anarchist Cookbook to see what all the fuss is could land you a cell in Gitmo if the Feds really felt like it.
I was really tempted to give this one 5 stars, but it does have some flaws. I found the occasional l33tsp34k distracting and juvenile - it made me cringe every time someone was described as "h4wt". There were a few plot holes, loose ends, or instances where things just weren't explained clearly - I couldn't figure out why Ange wasn't supposed to know that Marcus was m1k3y since they had been chatting on Xnet forever, until I realized he must have kept up his w1nst0n identity as well - if this is stated in the text, I missed it. And why is the President never given a name? It just seems like an odd omission, since plenty of other references are made to date the novel accurately and really hammer it home that this is our country, our society, and our time. Was it just because the novel was published in an election year?
In any case, this book, though categorized as Young Adult, is extremely relevant. I doubt it will stand the test of time - there are so many references to contemporary products and services (Firefox, Red Bull, Domino's pizza) that it will probably seem dated in 10 years. But for right now, with The War on Terror still making huge headlines and new security theater protocols at the airport every other week, this is a book every American should read.