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iBOY by Kevin Brooks Kirkus Star


by Kevin Brooks

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-545-31768-9
Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Tom Harvey's world is upended after he’s hit by a smartphone thrown from 30 stories up.

Living with his grandmother in the projects known as Crow Town, a grim, sprawling urban jungle where drug-dealing gangs rule by intimidation, Tom keeps his head down and dreams of turning his childhood friendship with Lucy into something more. That life ends when, waking from surgery, he’s told that parts of the iPhone fused with his brain and can’t be removed. That fusion endows Tom with powers that give new meaning to “hacking.” It feels exhilarating to apply his new powers to paying back a local gang that carried out a brutal sexual assault on Lucy, but revenge can’t bridge the gulf between him and Lucy or heal her psychological wounds. Using his powers is changing Tom; he’d like to stop; yet against an unscrupulous enemy that’s utterly amoral, don’t his moral scruples amount to weakness? Those aiming to attract the elusive teen male to teen fiction have no better ally than English novelist Brooks, whose lean, suspenseful thrillers feature compelling heroes facing tough choices, and this is no exception (Being, 2007, etc.).

This classic superhero plot, at once cutting-edge science fiction and moral fable, is guaranteed to keep even fiction-averse, reluctant readers on the edge of their seats. (Science fiction. 14 & up)