cover image The Doubt Factory

The Doubt Factory

Paolo Bacigalupi. Little, Brown, $18 (496p) ISBN 978-0-316-22075-0

In this provocative thriller, Bacigalupi (The Drowned Cities) traces the awakening of a smart, compassionate, and privileged girl named Alix Banks to ugly realities of contemporary life, while seeking to open readers’ eyes, as well. Alix’s life is thrown into disarray when an activist group targets her family, its eyes on her father’s powerful public relations business. Moses is a charismatic black teen living off the money from a settlement with a pharmaceutical company after one of its medications killed his parents. Along with four other brilliant teens who have lost family to this sort of legal/medical maleficence, Moses hopes to enlist Alix’s help to release incriminating data from her father’s files, à la Edward Snowden. This openly didactic novel asks challenging questions about the immorality of the profit motive and capitalism, but does so within the context of a highly believable plot (backed up with references to actual front groups, lawsuits, warning labels, and literature on the subject, which will send readers to their search engines) and well-developed, multifaceted characters. Fans of Cory Doctorow’s work should love this book. Ages 15–up. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Oct.)