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The Doubt Factory



by
Paolo Bacigalupi

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Hachette Book Group
Imprint
Little, Brown
ISBN
9780316220750

Awards and Honors
2015 Edgar Nominee, Young Adult
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Drug Use/Abuse, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use
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Alix isn’t sure what—or whom—to believe when a shadowy group of hackers expose a deadly corporate conspiracy involving Alix’s father.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Drug Use/Abuse, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

496

Dewey

Fic

AR

4.5: points 15

Lexile

HL640L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

24

JLG Release

Feb 2015

Book Genres


Topics

Whistle blowing. Fathers and daughters. Corporations. Corrupt practices. Social action. Action and adventure. Law. Crime. Romance. Parents. Alternative family. Self-esteem and self-reliance.

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

School Library Journal

Alix Banks lives a cushy life in a rich, mostly white, Connecticut suburb. She attends a prestigious private high school, is loved by her parents, and gets along with her ADHD younger brother. Her privileged world is shattered when her school is attacked by the enigmatic renegade 2.0, who appears to be stalking her. Alix’s father is well connected, and soon the house is swarming with security professionals, including Alix’s own personal bodyguard. But that doesn’t protect her from a terrifying encounter with 2.0, whose real name is Moses Cruz, and the other members of his multicultural band of teen rebels. Moses tells Alix that her father’s company, Banks Strategy Partners—otherwise known as the Doubt Factory—was the lead defense consultant for several major corporations that produced faulty drugs and other products that caused countless people to die. Alix’s love for her father conflicts with her growing anxiety that Moses may be telling the truth. Is her devoted dad really a killer? Uncertainty causes Alix to do some investigating on her own and forces her to make a fateful decision. Bacigalupi’s characters are clearly drawn and believable. This gripping, outstanding contemporary story cites actual cases of corporate greed, which adds realism to the plot. Suspense builds at a steady pace, leading to increasingly dramatic plot twists and a climax that will leave readers’ hearts pounding. Some swearing and mention of drugs and sex make this suitable for older readers.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

Horn Book

Alix Banks has a stalker. Moses Cruz, leader of a diverse group of orphan teens, has targeted her in order to destroy his real objective: her father, who runs a PR firm that specializes in the defense of harmful products Fortune 500 companies want to keep on the market. Moses and his friends shatter Alix’s sheltered, privileged existence—causing upheaval at her school, spying on her family, and kidnapping her—in hopes that she’ll turn against her father and help them expose this corrupt practice. At times, Bacigalupi’s conspiracy thriller veers too far away from the action and toward moralism—his teen characters wax philosophical about the (flatly drawn) bad-guy adults who want to maintain the status quo. But Bacigalupi excels at the fully rounded characterization of his two narrators: Alix’s transformation from naive rich-girl to activist and her inner conflict about destroying her family are thoroughly compelling, while the initial mystery surrounding Moses’s motivation, combined with his enigmatic, dangerous, yet somehow likable personality, make him a complex, conflicted character. Though he tries to view Alix as collateral damage, Moses is inexplicably drawn to her and she to him, and their developing romance, while highly unusual (and, at times, disturbing), feels convincing. This is a gripping, unsettling read that will no doubt prompt further discussion long after the climactic, cinematic finale. cynthia k. ritter

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Alix Banks lives a cushy life in a rich, mostly white, Connecticut suburb. She attends a prestigious private high school, is loved by her parents, and gets along with her ADHD younger brother. Her privileged world is shattered when her school is attacked by the enigmatic renegade 2.0, who appears to be stalking her. Alix’s father is well connected, and soon the house is swarming with security professionals, including Alix’s own personal bodyguard. But that doesn’t protect her from a terrifying encounter with 2.0, whose real name is Moses Cruz, and the other members of his multicultural band of teen rebels. Moses tells Alix that her father’s company, Banks Strategy Partners—otherwise known as the Doubt Factory—was the lead defense consultant for several major corporations that produced faulty drugs and other products that caused countless people to die. Alix’s love for her father conflicts with her growing anxiety that Moses may be telling the truth. Is her devoted dad really a killer? Uncertainty causes Alix to do some investigating on her own and forces her to make a fateful decision. Bacigalupi’s characters are clearly drawn and believable. This gripping, outstanding contemporary story cites actual cases of corporate greed, which adds realism to the plot. Suspense builds at a steady pace, leading to increasingly dramatic plot twists and a climax that will leave readers’ hearts pounding. Some swearing and mention of drugs and sex make this suitable for older readers.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

Horn Book

Alix Banks has a stalker. Moses Cruz, leader of a diverse group of orphan teens, has targeted her in order to destroy his real objective: her father, who runs a PR firm that specializes in the defense of harmful products Fortune 500 companies want to keep on the market. Moses and his friends shatter Alix’s sheltered, privileged existence—causing upheaval at her school, spying on her family, and kidnapping her—in hopes that she’ll turn against her father and help them expose this corrupt practice. At times, Bacigalupi’s conspiracy thriller veers too far away from the action and toward moralism—his teen characters wax philosophical about the (flatly drawn) bad-guy adults who want to maintain the status quo. But Bacigalupi excels at the fully rounded characterization of his two narrators: Alix’s transformation from naive rich-girl to activist and her inner conflict about destroying her family are thoroughly compelling, while the initial mystery surrounding Moses’s motivation, combined with his enigmatic, dangerous, yet somehow likable personality, make him a complex, conflicted character. Though he tries to view Alix as collateral damage, Moses is inexplicably drawn to her and she to him, and their developing romance, while highly unusual (and, at times, disturbing), feels convincing. This is a gripping, unsettling read that will no doubt prompt further discussion long after the climactic, cinematic finale. cynthia k. ritter

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