An absorbing read about digital privacy and one man’s fateful choice to disclose government secrets.



The young readers version of the bestselling memoir by a man who revealed the scope of the U.S. government’s spying on its own citizens.

Snowden gained instant fame in 2013 when he released documents to hand-picked journalists that demonstrated the depth of the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional surveillance of ordinary Americans’ phone calls, emails, texts and more. His memoir uncovers the roots of his concerns and traces his journey from eager government intelligence worker to whistleblower. The book is divided into three parts. The first covers Snowden’s growing-up years, including his fascination with computers and the internet, his hacks for getting through school with minimal effort, his first job, a short stint in the Army, meeting his future wife, and eventually obtaining his first high-level security clearance at age 22. Part 2 focuses on his increasing unease as he moved up the intelligence career ladder. Part 3 details how he discovered the massive invasion of ordinary citizens’ privacy, his decision to alert the press, and the sobering aftermath. Snowden tells good stories that illuminate his thinking while also providing intriguing glimpses into the world of surveillance. His prose is crisp and clear, although the afterword written for this version, which focuses on staying digitally safe on the internet, is not as tight as the rest of the book.

An absorbing read about digital privacy and one man’s fateful choice to disclose government secrets. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76791-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Small but mighty necessary reading.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Deaf, trans artist Man meditates on his journey and identity in this brief memoir.

Growing up in conservative central Pennsylvania was tough for the 21-year-old Deaf, genderqueer, pansexual, and biracial (Chinese/White Jewish) author. He describes his gender and sexual identity, his experiences of racism and ableism, and his desire to use his visibility as a YouTube personality, model, and actor to help other young people like him. He is open and vulnerable throughout, even choosing to reveal his birth name. Man shares his experiences of becoming deaf as a small child and at times feeling ostracized from the Deaf community but not how he arrived at his current Deaf identity. His description of his gender-identity development occasionally slips into a well-worn pink-and-blue binary. The text is accompanied and transcended by the author’s own intriguing, expressionistic line drawings. However, Man ultimately falls short of truly insightful reflection or analysis, offering a mostly surface-level account of his life that will likely not be compelling to readers who are not already fans. While his visibility and success as someone whose life represents multiple marginalized identities are valuable in themselves, this heartfelt personal chronicle would have benefited from deeper introspection.

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-22348-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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