________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 16 . . . .April 14, 2006


Hacker. (New Series Canada).

Alex Kropp.
Toronto, ON: High Interest Publishing, 2005.
93 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 1-897039-09-3.

Subject Headings:
Computer hackers-Juvenile fiction.
Theft-Juvenile fiction.
High schools-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 9-12 / Ages 14-17.

Review by Christina Pike.

*** /4



"So," he said with this awful smile on his face, "how did you do, Cole?"

"Just great," I lied. "Just shows what hard work can do." There was no way I'd admit my mark to someone like Spike.

"Yeah, right," he said with a laugh. "The way you're going, you'll be a rocket scientist in no time."

Hacker rolled his eyes and looked up at Spike. "Hey, Spike, why don't you do us a favour and go play in traffic. There's some big truck out there that's just looking for a target."

Spike looked very angry, but he wasn't stupid enough to mess with Hacker. He went back to his own computer.

At least my day can't get any worse, I thought. I'm already at the bottom of the barrel.

But I was wrong. The barrel was deeper than I thought. I wouldn't even see the bottom until the end of class. That's when a voice came over the PA system.

Cole Walsh please report to the office. Cole Walsh to the office....


Hacker, by Alex Kropp, takes place in today's world and revolves around our reliance on computers. Strange things start happening at the high school. Spike Gruber, a student who doesn't normally pass, gets a 92 in computer class while another, Cole Walsh, who normally passes, gets a 38. Things start to turn really bad when three thousand dollars goes missing from the football team's account. Immediately the question is, “Who took the money?” Suspicions are high, and the main character, Cole Walsh, looks like the one who will be blamed. Hacker, Cole’s friend and a computer genius, helps him to figure out what has been going wrong. Like many investigations, the first suspect, a teacher at the school, turns out not to be the culprit, but this recognition does not occur before Cole and Hacker have accused her. Suspense builds as Cole and Hacker, having returned to the school one night looking for another suspect, the janitor who is taking computer classes at night, stumble across three students on the library’s computer. Are these the hackers?

     Alex Kropp has created a hi-lo novel that is timely. Everywhere one turns, things are computerized and it is only a matter of time before something will go wrong. The characters that Kropp creates are stereotypical teenagers, and the friendships and conflict between characters are predicable, as is the conclusion. In spite of these qualities, the story is easily readable and attention grabbing. One is compelled to read on to find out if things do, in fact, get resolved.

     A good read.

A good read.

Christina Pike has been seconded to the Department of Education in Newfoundland and Labrador.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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