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Being
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Being

3.8 25
by Kevin Brooks
     
 

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"The Fugitive" meets "Blade Runner" with a Kevin Brooks kick in this heart-stopper about a boy who discovers he's not one hundred percent human.

It was just supposed to be a routine exam. But when the doctors snake the fiber-optic tube down Robert Smith's throat, what they discover doesn't make medical sense. Plastic casings. Silver filaments. Moving metal parts

Overview


"The Fugitive" meets "Blade Runner" with a Kevin Brooks kick in this heart-stopper about a boy who discovers he's not one hundred percent human.

It was just supposed to be a routine exam. But when the doctors snake the fiber-optic tube down Robert Smith's throat, what they discover doesn't make medical sense. Plastic casings. Silver filaments. Moving metal parts. In his naked, anesthetized state on the operating table, Robert hears the surgeons' shocked comments: "What the hell is that?"
"It's me," Robert thinks, "and I've got to get out of here." Armed with a stolen automatic and the videotape of his strange organs, he manages to escape, and to embark on an orphan's violent odyssey to find out exactly who--exactly what--he is.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

HB
During a routine endoscopy, a doctor finds something inside Robert that makes no sense -- metal filaments, pipes, and wires, all hidden under a casing designed to fool such mundane exams. Escaping the sinister men who order a doctor to "cut that thing open," Robert teams up with Eddi, a charismatic thief with her own agenda. Being operates at top speed, at once a conventional chase adventure, a psychological thriller, and a romance. While the duo alternately hides and flees, Robert struggles to come to terms with his apparent inhumanity; and as his relationship with Eddi evolves from distrust to companionship (an element of sweetness that lightens an otherwise bleak tale), he uses it to convince himself that he's just like everyone else: "I looked like a human. I thought and felt like a human. Did it matter that I wasn't a human?" Poetic descriptions of Robert's mysterious hardware are terrifying and beautiful -- within him resides "a subatomic dome, a dark cathedral, a perfect abomination" -- and shade the book with a tense self-loathing. More than his pursuers, Robert is running from himself. A lifelong foster kid, both his street smarts and vague past are entirely believable, making his disorientation that much more powerful. Brooks takes the fantasy of being special -- Robert is uniquely strong and possessed of a singular, if shrouded, heritage -- and mines its dark side with grit, compassion, and intrigue. CLAIRE E. GROSS

Kirkus
During a routine exam, 16-year-old Robert Smith feels the scalpel's slice and helplessly views metal and plastic parts inside his stomach wall. Who, or what, is he? Like a character from Robin
Cook's medical thrillers, the teen breaks out of anesthesia, throws down with the bad guys and executes a daring escape. Trusting nobody, Robert decides to hide out with Eddi, a former acquaintance. His protector is a 19-year-old master criminal running her own fake ID business. Here the story grinds to a glacial pace and the author turns his suspense story into a character-driven work.
Over 200 pages feature Robert droning on about his current dilemma, mysterious background and destiny. Eddi and Robert have roles more like cloak-and-dagger spies than frightened teens, and conflicts are easily solved. The story limps along until the final 18 explosive pages. After being teased by early suggestions of an action story, readers may be satisfied by the gruesome ending. However,
it's more likely that once the opening premise fades, teens will give up on this title. (Fiction. YA)
. . .

PW Starred
Brooks's (The Road of the Dead) latest novel wraps high-speed, adrenaline-laced adventure around a thought-provoking exploration of the very nature of identity and existence. A routine endoscopy goes terribly wrong for 16-year-old Robert when the camera discovers that the boy's belly is filled with a network of mysterious, inhuman machinery. Rousing himself from deep anesthetization, Robert calls on hitherto untapped inner powers to escape from a steely-eyed and sinister man called Ryan and others who seem to have been called in from a covert government agency. Robert finds himself accused of murder and, in desperation, lands on the doorstep of Eddi Ray, a young woman who specializes in producing thoroughly documented false identities. Soon Robert and Eddi flee the English chill and gloom (so vividly evoked by Brooks that the icy drizzle is nearly palpable) for a new life-and eventually romance-in sunny southern Spain. A tantalizingly open-ended conclusion invites speculation long after the book's finish. Though readers who have patiently waited for the answer to whether Robert is "robot, automaton, android, cyborg, beast, machine, [or] alien" may initially be frustrated, they will likely be satisfied by an ending that feels true to his character. Expect a wild ride from this

Publishers Weekly
Brooks's (The Road of the Dead) latest novel wraps high-speed, adrenaline-laced adventure around a thought-provoking exploration of the very nature of identity and existence. A routine endoscopy goes terribly wrong for 16-year-old Robert when the camera discovers that the boy's belly is filled with a network of mysterious, inhuman machinery. Rousing himself from deep anesthetization, Robert calls on hitherto untapped inner powers to escape from a steely-eyed and sinister man called Ryan and others who seem to have been called in from a covert government agency. Robert finds himself accused of murder and, in desperation, lands on the doorstep of Eddi Ray, a young woman who specializes in producing thoroughly documented false identities. Soon Robert and Eddi flee the English chill and gloom (so vividly evoked by Brooks that the icy drizzle is nearly palpable) for a new life-and eventually romance-in sunny southern Spain. A tantalizingly open-ended conclusion invites speculation long after the book's finish. Though readers who have patiently waited for the answer to whether Robert is "robot, automaton, android, cyborg, beast, machine, [or] alien" may initially be frustrated, they will likely be satisfied by an ending that feels true to his character. Expect a wild ride from this desperado romance. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
When 16-year-old Robert goes into the hospital for a routine test, he wakes up on a gurney to hear doctors exclaiming, "What the hell is that?" Inside him there are strange, moving plastic and metal parts, and a menacing man named Ryan is insisting the doctors cut him open. Robert grabs Ryan's gun and takes off. He's both puzzled and horrified by the mystery of what's inside him, and he's trying to hide from Ryan, who is pursuing him. Robert ends up in London at the flat of an acquaintance, an attractive young woman named Eddi. Eddi makes fake IDs, and while at first the two find it hard to trust each other, their experiences on the run from Ryan bring them together and they eventually fall in love. They hide out in a sleepy village in southern Spain, but even there Ryan hunts them down. There's no lack of suspense in this gritty, exciting thriller by the acclaimed author of Martyn Pig, The Road of the Dead, and other novels for YAs, but the ending begs for a sequel. We never find out what the mysterious stuff inside Robert is, nor who exactly Ryan is and what it is he wants. Violence and some adult language and sex (not very explicit) make this more suitable for older teens; in general, this comes across more as an adult thriller than a YA novel, but the age of the protagonist gives it YA appeal.
VOYA - Nancy Zachary
Teens grapple with who they are and what will become of them as a matter of course in adolescence, but Robert Smith's dilemma is significantly more complicated. When a gastrointestinal symptom sends this sixteen-year-old foster child to the hospital for tests, the endoscopy reveals mechanical parts within his body. The real world suddenly takes on a science-fiction, suspenseful mode, and adults assemble as enemies with unexplained secrets. Anesthesia, botched surgeries, violence, murder, and a fight for survival ensue while questions of trust, friendship, and mortality pulse through this confused young man's head. Who is Robert Smith, where has he spent his solitary childhood, and who is responsible for the steel microchip inside him? Danger follows him from car chases to hotel rooms until he thankfully meets up with Eddi. A drug-using criminal with a fake passport business, she becomes a paragon of virtue in comparison to the crowd that is ruthlessly after Robert. Gruesome scenes in gloomy British surroundings provide the backdrop for provocative questions about "being"-physically, emotionally, and rationally. Eddi and Robert find themselves in a sexual relationship after fleeing to Spain, but their safety is not secure. Sadness and frustration pervade this lively page-turner, and Robert's future is surely uncertain.
Children's Literature - Sara Touchet
Robert Smith is a 16-year-old orphan who lives in Essex, England. At the hospital, Robert has a routine endoscopy done to examine his stomach, and the results turn his world upside down. What the doctor's record on tape is baffling: "nonhuman." Robert wakes up to find his still opened gut and men with guns. Ryan, the leader of the threatening men, is dressed in a black suit and has an unnerving look. Despite his being cut open, Robert escapes from the hospital, looking for help from Eddie, a girl he met briefly. Following Robert and Eddie's attempts to do all they can to be rid of Ryan, the story's pace is immediately noticeable: despite the slow pace of the opening of the book, the pace significantly picks up and results in a very fast paced work of fiction. Not knowing what or who he is anymore, Robert's inner struggle over his identity is fascinating. Able to suck its reader into the story, there is something for everyone in this novel: action, science, suspense, and romance. Reviewer: Sara Touchet
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up
A lonely teen, Robert Smith finds himself involved in events totally out of his control. A foster kid with a stomachache, he arrives at the hospital alone for a routine endoscopy. Not fully anesthetized, he hears the doctors claim that his insides aren't human. Unidentified men with guns swarm in, Robert bolts, and finds himself on the front page of the newspaper accused of stabbing one of the doctors. His subsequent flight begins a grisly string of events where murder, alcohol, and fear abound. Conveniently the one person Robert runs to, Eddi, the ex-girl of an acquaintance's brother, not only takes him in but is an expert in creating fake IDs. With a duffle full of cash from her business, they escape England to her house in Spain. In Tejeda, the young people find love and begin a "normal" life together until the men in suits show up and destroy it all. Scattered throughout the novel are Robert's existential questions, "How do I know anything is real?" This is surreal science fiction with a dismal ending. Loose ends abound, so many that readers are left feeling cheated. Who or what Robert is are never made clear; nor is the identity of the men who are after him.
—Kathy LehmanCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
During a routine exam, 16-year-old Robert Smith feels the scalpel's slice and helplessly views metal and plastic parts inside his stomach wall. Who, or what, is he? Like a character from Robin Cook's medical thrillers, the teen breaks out of anesthesia, throws down with the bad guys and executes a daring escape. Trusting nobody, Robert decides to hide out with Eddi, a former acquaintance. His protector is a 19-year-old master criminal running her own fake ID business. Here the story grinds to a glacial pace and the author turns his suspense story into a character-driven work. Over 200 pages feature Robert droning on about his current dilemma, mysterious background and destiny. Eddi and Robert have roles more like cloak-and-dagger spies than frightened teens, and conflicts are easily solved. The story limps along until the final 18 explosive pages. After being teased by early suggestions of an action story, readers may be satisfied by the gruesome ending. However, it's more likely that once the opening premise fades, teens will give up on this title. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439899734
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/2007
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.21(d)
Lexile:
610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author


Kevin Brooks is the groundbreaking author of the internationally acclaimed novels DAWN; BLACK RABBIT SUMMER; BEING; THE ROAD OF THE DEAD, a Mystery Writers of America "Edgar" nominee; CANDY; KISSING THE RAIN; LUCAS; and MARTYN PIG, which received England's Branford Boase Award for Best First Novel. Brooks lives in Yorkshire, England.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
March 30, 1959
Place of Birth:
Exeter, Devon, England
Education:
B.A. in Cultural Studies, Aston University, 1983

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Being 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Robert Smith was waiting for the nurse to call him into the doctor's office to prepare him for his scheduled endoscopy, not realizing it would be the last normal day in his life. Once called into the office, Robert was put under anesthetic and doctors went about putting a tube down his throat in order to find out what was causing his stomach discomfort. Unexpectedly, Robert woke up before he was supposed to and realized he was in a different room with many people he didn't recognize. He heard phrases like, "What is that?" and "Are those wires?" Robert felt every cut made into his body for the exploratory surgery these strange people in black suits were performing on him.

After Robert forced himself off the table, he managed to get a weapon out of the hand of one of the black suits. At gun point, Robert demanded the anesthetist knock out his attackers and then kidnapped him in order to use his car to get away. Next, he set about making himself invisible. He knew he couldn't go to his house where his foster parents lived or any place he'd normally visit. The first night he checked into a hotel for some rest to give himself some time to decide what to do the next day. He was overwhelmed with thoughts about what was inside him. He looked over the evidence he took from the doctor's office, which included a videotape of the endoscopy. On the tape he saw things that should have been impossible.

After a sleepless night, Robert put the first step of his plan in motion. To become a different person, change identities, disappear from the face of the Earth. He went to see a girl named Eddi who was in the business of fake IDs, birth certificates, and other needed credentials to get by in life. What he found when he got to her place was suspicion and uncertainty. Life quickly spiraled out of control for both of them shortly after their paths crossed. Escape to Trejeda on the Canary Islands seemed like the best plan. For a time, life fell into the routine of sleeping late, eating fantastic food, and work. Eddi and Robert knew they couldn't hide forever, but they were never prepared for how everything would end.

BEING is an interesting story of an orphan trying to learn his identity. It is filled with intrigue and suspense; however; there are a few loose ends that might leave the reader unsatisfied.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Monica_E_G More than 1 year ago
BEING by: Kevin Brooks is brilliant. This boo has everything Si-Fi, romance, mystery, betrayal, and happiness. This book will confuse you to no end even till the very last page you may not get the answers you want but you will definitely not be able to close the book. The idea of the book can grasp any one. This book is mainly about the search for who Kevin really is at one point in life everyone asks the same question. This book is just perfect.
Moonlight_Lily More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was awesome! The idea of him not knowing what and where he came from was very original. It gave me a break from all those vampire books. I loved the idea of him being an underdog throughout his whole life and then finding out that he was something extraordinary. That instead of him being a popular person like in some stories he was someone that i believe everyone is somewhere inside of them. That he might not even be human. I also loved the unique romance between Robert and Eddi. I thought it was funny how they couldn't trust each other and how they always thought they needed to watch their own backs in case one of them betrayed each other. And then how even with all their doubts about each other they still fell in love with one another. How Robert was always looking over his shoulder when Edie would be near him. That he always felt uncomfortable but at the same time at peace when he'd be near her. However, the one thing i didn't like about the story was how it ended. I think it was good that it wasn't a cliche, that it wasn't a happy ending, but i still thought it was too sad for me. Overall i loved the book and am hoping for a sequel. I fell in love with bot Eddi and Robert's characters and am hoping to see some more of Robert!
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bookluver26 More than 1 year ago
Honestly I thought the book was very good untill the last few pages. The ending made the book feel completely pointless. The whole time you were wondering what was going to happen and your questions are never answered. When I finished the book I was ready to throw it across the room.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The novel "Being" by Kevin Brooks was an excellent read! It kept me wonderng about what was going to happen on the next page. I am not a big reader but this book got me hooked! I never wanted to put it down! It is very thrilling and makes you wonder if what is written could really happen to someone in real life. Books that make you think are great books to get into. "Being" is one of those books! At some parts it just jumps out at you! The ending was my favorite! The author really did a great job with the ending. It was very exciting and mysterious! It makes you wonder what will happen next in the life of Robert Smith. Will all the madness end, or will it keep going for the rest of his life? I would definatly be interested in reading the next book by Kevin Brooks. I highly recommend "Being," by Kevin Brooks to anyone who likes a thrilling, mysterious book. You will have a hard time putting your bookmark in this book until you read it cover to cover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!i can hardly ever read a book anless its rily good and i couldn't put this book down i read it last year and i still think about it constintly usually i cant stand a openended story but i loved it plus i cant ever read a book twice even my favorits like eragon i love that book to death but i cant read it a second time and i could sooooo read this book a second time. if you have ever read a great and terible beauty with the whole series and you thought it was missing a little romance well it doesnt it was was perfict in that area!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EdwardCullenLuvr11 More than 1 year ago
I hated this book! Throughout the book it is pretyt good, because you are wainting and wanting for him to find out the truth, and the end just made everything pointless! Do NOT waste your time reading this! It really makes you think about some things you might never have thought of before, and that was really cool about it, but the ending will make you want to throw the book across the room. Unless there will be a sequel, i wouldnt read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is one of the best books i have ever read! it starts off a little bit slow but gets better and more action packed... reading this book had my heart racing and made me feel the emotions they felt! the ending is very unexpected. i could not beleive it.. i felt sorry for robert because he couldnt cry. i would have balled! i even balled just reading it! its a very action packed edge of your seat romance story! if u dont read this book your missing out. i would recommend this to anyone who likes mysterys, love stories, and action stories! its an amazing book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book started out a little slow, but soon got fast paced, and I couldn't stop reading :} Awesome book, it's a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Smith was waiting for the nurse to call him into the doctor's office to prepare him for his scheduled endoscopy, not realizing it would be the last normal day in his life. Once called into the office, Robert was put under anesthetic and doctors went about putting a tube down his throat in order to find out what was causing his stomach discomfort. Unexpectedly, Robert woke up before he was supposed to and realized he was in a different room with many people he didn't recognize. He heard phrases like, 'What is that?' and 'Are those wires?' Robert felt every cut made into his body for the exploratory surgery these strange people in black suits were performing on him. After Robert forced himself off the table, he managed to get a weapon out of the hand of one of the black suits. At gun point, Robert demanded the anesthetist knock out his attackers and then kidnapped him in order to use his car to get away. Next, he set about making himself invisible. He knew he couldn't go to his house where his foster parents lived or any place he'd normally visit. The first night he checked into a hotel for some rest to give himself some time to decide what to do the next day. He was overwhelmed with thoughts about what was inside him. He looked over the evidence he took from the doctor's office, which included a videotape of the endoscopy. On the tape he saw things that should have been impossible. After a sleepless night, Robert put the first step of his plan in motion. To become a different person, change identities, disappear from the face of the Earth. He went to see a girl named Eddi who was in the business of fake IDs, birth certificates, and other needed credentials to get by in life. What he found when he got to her place was suspicion and uncertainty. Life quickly spiraled out of control for both of them shortly after their paths crossed. Escape to Trejeda on the Canary Islands seemed like the best plan. For a time, life fell into the routine of sleeping late, eating fantastic food, and work. Eddi and Robert knew they couldn't hide forever, but they were never prepared for how everything would end. BEING is an interesting story of an orphan trying to learn his identity. It is filled with intrigue and suspense however there are a few loose ends that might leave the reader unsatisfied. **Reviewed by: Karin Perry
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being is a fast-paced blend of science fiction and realistic fiction with characters and a style that are unique to Kevin Brooks. Being is one of Brooks' best books (aside from Candy and Road of the Dead). It isn't a satisfying read, per se, but it's fascinating and intelligent. I would recommend it highly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read being in one day, without stopping. It is a very good book with lots of twists, as is Brooks' style. As usual don't get attatched tp one of the characters. However, I hope he comes out w/a sequel because the end slightly confused me. All in all a Great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really amazing, and it had a little bit of everything in it. The book was mysterious, romantic, exciting, and sad.The author kept the reader on his every word, and the reader just had to keep turning the next page. I really enjoyed this book, however it was a little too sad.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being is one of my favorite books. It was nicely written and it made you want to read more! In my opinion the ending was needed or else the book would have been too predictable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book rught up until the ending. The main plot was exciting and intriguing, but the ending was extremely dissapointing. It left me feeling unsatisfied and confused.