Friday, January 11, 2013

Fast, Furious iBoy Gives Time-Worn Superhero Tale A Modern Twist

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When 16-year-old Tom Harvey gets struck in the head by a falling iPhone, everything changes.  Even after extensive brain surgery, he still has fragments of the phone embedded in his brain.  He's assured everyone—his doctors, his Gran, his friends—that he's perfectly fine, but he's not.  Not really.  Because the truth is, Tom's become an actualized App.  He can access any information he wants, at any time.  It's like the most incredible superpower ever and, as Tom soon learns, he can use it to do anything from acing school exams to listening in on phone conversations to bankrupting the entire United Kingdom.  It's awesome.  And terrifying.  Really, really terrifying.

Tom never asked to be Superman, but with his bottomless knowledge and the ability to channel electricity into his hands, he's finally got the weaponry to fight the evil that lurks all around the South London projects where he lives.  He plans to start with the gang bangers who raped 15-year-old Lucy Walker, the girl he's loved since they were both in diapers.  As iBoy, Tom soon gains a reputation for defending the weak, but having a secret, crime-fighting identity is not without its complications.  How far will Tom go to punish and protect?  What will unlimited power cost him and those he loves?  And what will Lucy think when she discovers that the superhero who awes her with his daring is really just plain old Tom Harvey?  As Tom faces his most cunning enemy yet, he'll have to decide who he truly is and how much he's willing to risk in order to embrace the dark, dangerous hero known as iBoy.  

iBoy, a YA thriller by Kevin Brooks, gives the time-worn superhero tale an intriguing modern twist, but asks the same questions:  What would you do if you possessed the ability to do almost anything?  Would you use it for good or ill?  And what would wielding that kind of power do to your basic humanity?  Even though it explores familiar themes, iBoy's got its own flavor.  It's dark and raw, but also affecting.  I sped through the story at the same fast-and-furious pace at which its plot moves because, yeah, it's that compelling.  Did it totally blow me away?  No.  Did it keep me completely riveted and entertained?  Oh, yeah.        

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other books about superheroes, although no specific titles are coming to mind ... a little help?)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for strong language, violence, sexual content and depictions of illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of iBoy from the generous folks at Scholastic.  Thank you! 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a really intriguing book, but I can't stop laughing at the "Tom Harvey gets struck in the head by a falling iPhone" phrase. Ah, too hilarious!

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