Scary in the way that 1984 is but times a million, because 1984 is about a future that never happened, but Little Brother is about right now.
Basically, it's about what happens after a terrorist attack in San Francisco. Marcus, a relatively normal 17 year old with a penchant for minor hackery, gets arrested by the Department of Homeland Security for being found near the attack site without a good excuse. He is taken to a secret offshore prison, tortured, and then forced to sign a document stating that he was held voluntarily.
Outside, the DHS is taking over. Civil liberties are being stripped from citizens who happily allow it because it's making them safer. A general air of terror and paranoia lies over everything. And Marcus can't help wondering - who are the real terrorists, here?
It's an extraordinary novel that every teenager should read. Every adult should read it too, but it's young people who really need to read it. I think it'll really speak to the new generation of technology and news-savvy kids who are growing up in a world where fear and secrecy are considered to be the same thing as security*.
The world is a scary place, and it's easy to believe that there's nothing you can do - especially if you belong to one of the most politically disenfranchised groups of people in the world - young people. Hopefully Little Brother will encourage them to take a little turf back.
You can buy the book here, or download the whole thing for free in just about any format you can imagine here.
*Plus, there's sex!