Penguin. May 2003. 384p. pap. $19. ISBN 9780452284234.
Gr 10 Up–Winston Smith rewrites history as part of his job at the Ministry of Truth, but as he slowly realizes the impact of these lies, it throws into question everything he’s believed. Throughout it all, “Big Brother” is a menacing force who looms over every aspect of existence. This work remains as powerful, timely, and important now as it was when first published in 1949—even more so as Orwell’s totalitarian vision unfolds disquietingly in the present day. The novel challenges students with thought-provoking ideas that will spark discussion, composition, research, and debate. In one of the original dystopian cautionary tales, past history is changed to serve an agenda and independent thought is outlawed. Orwell’s text guides readers out of complacency so that they never slacken the vigil against oppression. (This review was created using content from the educator-created book rationale available in NCTE’s rationale database. Used with permission.)
VERDICT Due to the complexity of topics and discussion of sexuality and torture, this book is recommended for older teens.

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