So I said that I happened to have a young adult in the house, and that I'd have her review it when it came out. Klima was awesome - he sent us his ARC so Elayna could review it early! Here are her thoughts.
First off, the length isn't a problem for me - it's longer than most YA books, but I like big books! The length doesn't matter when I'm choosing a book.
It feels like it was written for seventeen-year-olds. This is mostly because of the character's interactions with his girlfriend. The sexual parts* didn't make me uncomfortable, exactly, but I don't think people my age would really enjoy those parts that much. (Or maybe they would. I don't know.)
The technology parts were interesting - I really didn't know that some of these things were actually already possible! It was good to have a list of resources in the back so I can follow upon things, because a lot of them kinda fell out of my head.
The story was pretty interesting. I would have participated in XNet and the protests, especially the concert and the vamp mob.
I already knew that our current government sucked. *grin*
I would recommend this to older teens.
Mom's notes on kid's review:
* There is some sexual activity between the main character and his girlfriend. I read the book before Elayna and didn't find it to be wildly inappropriate for mature young teens.
My (brief, because I have to get going) review: I think it's best for mid-to-older teens, simply because of the tech stuff. As Klima notes, there's a bit of an instructional air to it. This is Doctorow's primer for revolution, and in places it does read like a primer. Security, crypto, hacking, freedom fighting: this is propaganda for budding cypherpunks.
It's also a good story about what a smart kid does when he's mistakenly targeted by Homeland Security and gets a firsthand tour of how fucked-up the system is. Secret prison, interrogation, surveillance upon release into a city that's now a police state. What do you do? Take down the Department of Homeland Security. How? Let's just say that Marcus is innovative as hell (at some points beyond his years, as Doctorow attempts to present everything he knows through the lens of a seventeen-year-old narrator).
Recommended for people who distrust the government. Which is all of you. Also recommended for mid-to-older teens. Want a revolution? Teach them how to lead one.