Monday, June 02, 2008

Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci

This book was quite the page turner, but it dropped the f-bomb all over the place, and without discretion. It wasn't a one time thing from a character in a horrible situation, it was used conversationally. As a parent who has grounded an 8th grader several times for using this word, I'm not about to have it in a middle school library. There was no need. It added nothing to the story. Sigh.

Told from alternating viewpoints, this book follows a suburban community where two mothers have died from a sudden and bloody flu that has also hit several teenagers. The other main characters are two boys, both computer hackers, who learn details of a conspiracy to sicken people in the US by contaminating the water supply. These alternating viewpoints are skillfully woven together, and the details of the investigation, virtual spying, and biological agents used in the poisoning are interesting. This book certainly gives one something to think about. When I biked past our local water tower this morning, I thought about how easy it would be for terrorists to poison it!

Timely and well-written mystery for high schools, or middle schools if you haven't been fighting with language issues, as I have!

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