iBoy by Kevin Brooks, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble


4.3 17
by Kevin Brooks

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What can he do with his new powers -- and what are they doing to him?

Before the attack, Tom Harvey was just an average teen. But a head-on collision with high technology has turned him into an actualized App. Fragments of a shattered iPhone are embedded in his brain. And they're having an extraordinary effect on his every thought.

Because now Tom knows, sees,


What can he do with his new powers -- and what are they doing to him?

Before the attack, Tom Harvey was just an average teen. But a head-on collision with high technology has turned him into an actualized App. Fragments of a shattered iPhone are embedded in his brain. And they're having an extraordinary effect on his every thought.

Because now Tom knows, sees, and can do more than any normal boy ever could. But with his new powers comes a choice: To avenge Lucy, the girl he loves, will he hunt down the vicious gangsters who hurt her? Will he take the law into his own electric hands and exterminate them from the South London housing projects where, by fear and violence, they rule?

Not even his mental search engine can predict the shocking outcome of iBoy's actions.

A WiFi, WTF thriller by YA master Kevin Brooks.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brooks’s latest novel may have a goofy premise, but this revenge story is no less intense a thriller than his earlier work. Sixteen-year-old Tom lives in the rough Crow Town projects in London, where gangs run rampant. As he heads to one of the towers one day to see his friend Lucy, an iPhone is thrown from her apartment, shattering his skull and embedding itself in his head. When Tom wakes up in the hospital after surgery, he finds that some pieces of the phone have merged with his brain, and he has newfound powers that include mentally browsing the Internet, hacking cell phones, and zapping people. He also learns that Lucy was being gang-raped while he was en route to visit her, and the rest of the novel consists of Tom’s attempts to retaliate against the gangs and the culture that creates them. Brooks (Dawn) delivers something that’s less a work of science fiction than a brutal rumination on vengeance, near-limitless power, and their effects on people, with believably flawed characters and a harsh setting that serve the story well. Ages 14–up. (Nov.)¦
From the Publisher

Praise for


"Brilliant, harrowing, uplifting...with a passionate truth. If I were a producer, I'd option iBOY immediately. This is the big one. Bravo!" -- Amanda Craig, The Times of London


“This is a heartbreaking story.” – BCCB

“Brilliantly realized, wrenching.” – Horn Book


*“Sinister yet seductive.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Tense and gritty.” – The Chicago Tribune

* “Brooks wraps high-speed, adrenaline-laced adventure around a thought-provoking exploration of the very nature of identity and existence.” -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Brooks takes the fantasy of being special...and mines its dark side with grit, compassion, and intrigue.” -- Horn Book


* "Grabs and holds readers' attention...a whirlwind ride." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Brooks's feel for mood and setting is masterful....A haunting, tense drama builds from the first line." -- School Library Journal, starred review


"A gripping, fast-moving love story set in a dangerous underworld...a psychological page-turner adeptly capturing love's hypnotic feel." -- Kirkus

"Provocative, suspenseful." -- Booklist

Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Tom Harvey lives in the projects of London, where drugs and violence are a way of life. But Tom has not gotten involved; in fact he has purposely stayed on the fringes of the neighborhood pastime. So he did not really know what was going on that fateful afternoon when an iPhone flew out from a window on the upper floors, crashed into Tom's skull and changed his life. Tom wakes up in the hospital with his grandmother at his side and a splitting headache. Slowly but surely the story of the violence on the thirtieth floor is told to him. Lucy, the girl he has secretly had a crush on for most of his life, is raped in an attack that leaves her brother badly beaten. As Tom learns more about the attack, he becomes increasingly prepared to get revenge on the thugs who attacked her. As quiet, mousy Tom it would have been wishful thinking, but now Tom has "secret powers." He is inexplicably connected to the satellites that convey information and the iPhone feed gives him information he is bound and determined to use to bring an end to the reign of terror in the Crow Town projects. This is a clever, contemporary use of "super powers" and raises the important realization that violence and revenge used even for just causes, takes its toll on a hero's psyche: Can the ends justify the means? The violence is graphically described and the expletives are equally for mature audiences, but the story is well crafted and will leave young adults thinking about the possibilities, the advantages and disadvantages of such a gift. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
VOYA - Paula J. Gallagher
Average teen Tom Harvey lives with his grandmother in a rough South London housing project. An iPhone hurled from the top of a high-rise radically alters his life. Tom's skull fractures from the impact and so does the phone, leaving bits of circuitry deep in his brain. To his horror, he awakens from a coma to find that his childhood friend, Lucy, a resident of that same high-rise, has suffered a violent gang rape. What follows requires suspension of disbelief, but readers who surrender to the improbability will be rewarded with a thrilling novel crammed with action and suspense. Tom takes on a secret identity, iBoy, as he struggles to accept and control enviable superpowers. These include an impenetrable, luminescent iSkin, the power to electrocute, an in-brain search engine, and a mental ability to send texts and access password-protected accounts. Looking to exact justice and revenge on behalf of Lucy (who he cautiously woos as a girlfriend), he finds himself drawn into the dangerous world of a notorious drug kingpin. Brooks allows Tom to contemplate the consequences of his iBoy actions in a relatable way, without offering easy answers to sticky moral questions. Readers may speculate what they themselves would do given such abilities. Harsh, realistic language and situations make this a compelling read for older teens. iBoy offers up a complex, technology-derived superhero whose alter ego demands a rightful place alongside Peter Parker and Bruce Banner. Reviewer: Paula J. Gallagher
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—All that was on Tom Harvey's mind that afternoon was meeting up with Lucy, the girl he kind of liked, at her apartment in the slummy south London Crow Town towers where gangs run rampant and violence is a way of life. "Hey Harvey!" someone yells, as an iPhone sails out a window 30 stories up, striking Tom in the head, sending phone fragments deep into his brain. When he comes out of a coma 17 days later, he realizes that he and the phone have become one. He learns that Lucy was gang raped and uses his abilities to try to bring a sense of justice to what happened to her. The story goes with a superhero feel rather than trying to attempt a scientific explanation of Tom's ability to access top-secret files internally, surf the Web, channel electrical charges, watch and blink to record videos, and mentally email and text friends and enemies alike. Amid detailing his comic-book superpowers and his fight with a villainous villain, the author raises some interesting points for discussion. Was Tom wrong to transfer £1 each from 15,000 different accounts into a single account so his grandmother could pay the bills? Is his vigilante revenge justified? This book is not for serious scientific readers, but it's just the thing for those with a willing suspension of disbelief who like some grit and challenge with their "Zap!" "Pow!" and "Smack!"—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews
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)
Victoria Beale
Brooks's iBoy is part of a trend of nerdy-gritty-superhero ultraviolence, notable in recent books by Mark Millar. If blood and guts are necessary to catch the eye of the teenage reader, then the excess of iBoy is forgivable. The book may feature exploding limbs, but it is also a moralistic fable that makes thoughtful reference to Arthur Koestler, Aristotle and E. E. Cummings. Together, it makes for an intelligent and fast-moving story, one that cleverly shifts between comic-book thrills and touchingly effective realism.
—The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 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
B.A. in Cultural Studies, Aston University, 1983

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