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iBoy is a YA sci-fi novel by Kevin Brooks.

Tom was just a normal, teenage guy walking home from school – thinking about Lucy and how she had asked him to come over to talk about something. He was hoping it’d be about more than helping to straighten out her brother’s recent inclination toward unsavory friends and wondering how early he could come by without seeming too eager.

Then his whole life changed. An iPhone, thrown from a high balcony, collides with his skull at such speed that shattered fragments of it imbed themselves in his brain. Next thing he knows, Tom wakes up in a hospital alive, but different.

Somehow he is now a walking App. As the doctors talk about organs and muscles in the body that ordinarily he would never know a single thing about, his iBrain rattles off dictionary-like explanations. It doesn’t take Tom long to find out that his way of thinking and his way of life may be forever altered.

Before he gets the chance to adjust to his new way of life, though, he finds out that Lucy and her brother were viciously attacked at the same time he was hit in the head with the iPhone.

His new powers allow Tom to try and avenge the horrible crime and rid all of South London of the sickos who did it – but will Tom succeed? And if he does, will he be the same person once it’s over?

iBoy is much darker than I expected it to be. And much better!

The slums of London seep into your nerves as Kevin Brooks portrays the setting vividly. The gang life and lack of any hope of police help is frightening and feels sadly convincing. It was easy to begin rooting for Tom and for his new iAbilities to help turn things around.

Kevin Brooks makes Tom, his gran, and Lucy all very likable characters. So you become invested very early. And as Tom starts to experiment with his new powers it almost felt like the beginning of a new superhero for a modern age – a story with humor, hints of romance, and tons of grim realism.

iBoy is riveting and fast-paced. I was sucked into the psychological aspects and deeper criminal aspects of the novel, which were shocking and unsettling (especially for a book with a title like iBoy). I, of course, don’t want to give anything away – you want to enjoy this rollercoaster ride without knowing anything, believe me – but I will say that iBoy has truly scary developments and is very, very suspenseful.

Though I felt the end was bit abrupt (but good), I was wowed. iBoy is quite the inventive sci-fi thriller for older teen readers! I’ll now be on the lookout for more Kevin Brooks novels, an author I was unfamiliar with before iBoy!


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