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The Doubt Factory

The Doubt Factory

5.0 1
by Paolo Bacigalupi

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In this page-turning contemporary thriller, National Book Award Finalist, Printz Award winner, and New York Times bestselling author Paolo Bacigalupi explores the timely issue of how public information is distorted for monetary gain, and how those who exploit it must be stopped.
Everything Alix knows about her life is a lie. At least that's what a mysterious


In this page-turning contemporary thriller, National Book Award Finalist, Printz Award winner, and New York Times bestselling author Paolo Bacigalupi explores the timely issue of how public information is distorted for monetary gain, and how those who exploit it must be stopped.
Everything Alix knows about her life is a lie. At least that's what a mysterious young man who's stalking her keeps saying. But then she begins investigating the disturbing claims he makes against her father. Could her dad really be at the helm of a firm that distorts the truth and covers up wrongdoing by hugely profitable corporations that have allowed innocent victims to die? Is it possible that her father is the bad guy, and that the undeniably alluring criminal who calls himself Moses--and his radical band of teen activists--is right? Alix has to make a choice, and time is running out, but can she truly risk everything and blow the whistle on the man who loves her and raised her?

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—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
The New York Times Book Review - Robin Wasserman
Alix's reluctant investigation draws her down a rabbit hole of corporate conspiracy and pits principle against family, while offering everything you could ask from an airport thriller: death-defying chases, gun-toting mercenaries, idealistic techno-hackers…In our proudly post-postmodern world of antiheroes and shades of gray, the value of nuance, in fiction and beyond, is almost axiomatic. To see the world in black and white is to see it through a child's eyes. Bacigalupi is challenging this conflation of simplicity with naïveté, which makes for a…stirring cri de coeur. Compromise, complication, doubt: These are his enemies. Maybe there's nothing childish about moral clarity; maybe to understand that some stories have only one defensible side is what it means to grow up.
Publishers Weekly
★ 08/11/2014
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.)
Los Angeles Times
Praise for The Drowned Cities:
"Suzanne Collins may have put dystopian literature on the YA map with 'The Hunger Games'...but Bacigalupi is one of the genre's masters, employing inventively terrifying details in equally imaginative story lines."
starred review Booklist
* "Bacigalupi writes with a furious energy that makes this brilliant depiction of an all-too-believable future impossible to forget."
The Horn Book
* "Bacigalupi's intense, action-filled novel is a heartbreaking and powerfully moving portrait of individual resiliency amidst extreme circumstances that rivals, if not surpasses, the excellent of its predecessor."
From the Publisher
Praise for The Doubt Factory:

A 2015 Edgar Award Nominee
A 2015 Locus Award Nominee
A Winter 2014-2015 Kids' Indie Next List Book

* "[A] provocative thriller.... Fans of Cory Doctorow's work should love this book."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

*"From the opening pages, this is an action-packed thriller with the FBI, secret service, thousands of rats, a kidnapping, and a little romance.... Bacigalupi scores again."—Library Media Connection, starred review"

A suspenseful, page-turning yarn.... Bound to provoke thought."—Kirkus Reviews"

This gripping, outstanding contemporary story... builds at a steady pace, leading to increasingly dramatic plot twists and a climax that will leave readers' hearts pounding."—School Library Journal"

A searing indictment... Bacigalupi, unafraid to name names, makes readers question the morality of everyday decisions... and recommends that all of us be cynics when it comes to megaconglomerates....Multi-award-winning Bacigalupi is becoming an indispensable voice in YA."—Booklist"

This is a gripping, unsettling read that will no doubt prompt further discussion long after the climactic, cinematic finale."—The Horn Book"

An exciting read... Bacigalupi has done an impressive job of placing the reader in the front seat."—VOYA"

The book's snappy pace, caper set-up, and sharp political perspective easily save the (novel's) day and will bring in readers of thoughtful high action."—The Bulletin

VOYA, December 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 5) - Beth H. Green
Alix Banks, a student at prestigious Seitz Academy, witnesses her school’s headmaster being brutally assaulted while sitting in her AP Chemistry class. Once the authorities investigate and everything seems to return to “normal,” the school building is targeted by a political activist group known as 2.0. Alix’s father, who is a “product consultant,” begins to worry about the situation that his daughter describes to him, so he hires a private security team, complete with armed bodyguards, to watch over Alix and her brother, even while they are attending Seitz during the day. After being trailed almost around the clock by her bodyguard, Alix decides that she has had enough of the “babysitting,” and with the help of her friend Cynthia breaks away to an abandoned factory, where she parties at a rave. Alix, after taking some unlabeled pills given to her by Cynthia, is kidnapped by 2.0, taken to another location, and held in a cage while questioned about her father’s job and the role he played in representing pharmaceutical corporations. The Doubt Factory is an exciting read, and older readers will appreciate the timeliness of the focus on political activism and standing up for the “little man.” There are instances in which Alix (who is still a minor) is drinking alcohol and taking illicit drugs, so issue a precaution for “sensitive” readers. Bacigalupi has done an impressive job of placing the reader in the front seat with Alix and 2.0. Reviewer: Beth H. Green; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
The public relations business becomes an unlikely but effective villain in this techno-thriller. High school senior Alix lives in privilege: designer labels, Caribbean vacations, elite private education. But when the mysterious activist group 2.0 targets her school, Alix learns that her father is their real objective, and soon Moses, 2.0's seductive leader, makes her doubt everything she once believed. Despite choppy, repetitive and unabashedly didactic prose, clogged with infodumps detailing the history of corporate spin, multiaward-winning Bacigalupi cranks out a suspenseful, page-turning yarn. While any caper involving such a perfectly ethnically and sexually diverse team of teenagers, all blessed with genius-level skills, is scarcely plausible, it is nevertheless praiseworthy. Alix keeps the story grounded with her thoughtfulness and integrity. Her insta-romance with Moses—creepy origins notwithstanding—feels both authentic and intense, with a sensual physicality that pushes the book firmly into the crossover category. Even though some chapters are in his viewpoint, Moses remains a chameleon, elusive and opaque; although his philosophy of "trust no one" and "test everything" is hammered home repeatedly, readers devoid of their own superteams aren't given many tools to follow through in real life.Whether readers ultimately find it passionate, preachy, inspiring or quixotic depends upon their own levels of cynicism; nonetheless, it's a book bound to provoke thought—and arguments. (Thriller. 15 & up)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Paolo Bacigalupi is the New York Times bestselling author of the highly acclaimed The Drowned Cities and Ship Breaker, a Michael L. Printz Award winner and a National Book Award finalist. He is also the author of a novel for young readers, Zombie Baseball Beatdown, and the adult novels The Windup Girl and Pump Six and Other Stories. He is a Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, John W. Campbell Memorial, and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award winner. He lives in western Colorado with his wife and son.

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The Doubt Factory 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago