Review: Streams of Babel

Streams of Babel
Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one is a little bit different. It revolves around the lives of a group of kids living on a street in a small town in southern New Jersey, who’s parents take ill, then they get sick themselves, and there are questions about what it is – a flu, a virus, or something worse?  The fact that these sick kids, although teenagers, are sort of left on their own in one of their houses where the mom died, is rather unbelievable.  The action switches to a computer hacker, age 16, in Afghanistan who works for the US government, sending them spy chatter he captures in his uncle’s internet cafe from the visitors who use it. The rest of the story is about how the boy becomes integral to taking down a terrorist cell, how the kids get sicker, and how although the adults in the story are working on it (one parent works for a branch of the government sort like a bio-threat CDC), it is the teenage Afghan hacker, and an American hacker, that really find the terrorists. It’s a good read, exciting, without being bloody or inappropriate for 12 years and up I would say. I enjoyed it, esp. the young hacker, and the one in the U.S. who is also very good, but a trifle unstable, and isn’t given the opportunities of this other kid. Fun, but not terribly memorable for me.

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