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4.4 out of 5 stars33
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 8 July 2010
I bought it for my 15 year old. Its about rape, good and evil, love, honesty, truth, compromise, lies, and everyone, well at least every adult and slightly older teenager should read it. Its uplifting and terrifying, wildly imaginative, incredibly original, occasionally ridiculous, and completely un-put-downable. What a book! What a fantastic story! My teenager can have it tomorrow. Once I started it, he wasnt going to get it until I finished it. Kevin Brooks, you need to retire, you will never write anything better!
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This was my first book by Kevin Brooks and I am so glad I read it.

I was initially attracted to this book because of its premise. I was really intrigued about iBoy and what his `powers' would be and how he would use them. What I wasn't expecting was the dark and gritty back drop for this premise. For me, it was the high point of the book.

I found myself completely engrossed in the world depicted - life on a London tower block estate ruled by gangs and fear. The idea that someone can be attacked in their own home and can't do anything about it - and know that nothing will ever be done about it - is scary. But the realisation that for some it is a reality -it is really terrifying. I think you need to be prepared for how dark this story is. It feels wrong to say I am surprised it's a teenage title - but it does touch on some very adult themes.

I loved all the main characters. Tom was a typical, kind of nerdy boy finding himself in a very unique situation. Lucy was really sweet and I really felt for her. I loved Tom's Nan - the way she got rid of the policemen in the hospital had me laughing out loud just because of how much attitude she had.

As for iBoy - I thought it was such a great idea. I could have done without all the technical information but I think others will love it - and I loved the struggle inside of Tom. How it made him unsure of who he was and whether he thought `iBoy' was doing the right thing. I spent most of the book thinking of the line from Spiderman (or possibly Superman?) - `With great power comes great responsibility' - and I thought this book really touches on that. It raises the question of what to do with power if we have it. Should we fight violence with violence? Should we become vigilantes if we feel the authorities are not there to protect us? Interesting material that I wasn't expecting but I really enjoyed.

I also liked how the book ended - there is scope there for another book - but it is a self contained story. It was also very exciting and I really wasn't sure what was going to happen.

On the basis of reading this I bought 2 more books by Kevin Brooks. I love his writing style - it feels original and very `real' - I just love it and can't wait to read more.
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VINE VOICEon 18 September 2010
Tom is a normal kid living on a rough estate in London with his Gran. Gangs pretty much rule the estate, with members of different gangs constantly fighting each other. On his way home from school one day, Tom hears his name being called from a window on the top floor of his block of flats - the floor his friend Lucy lives on. He looks up to see something falling towards him and the next thing he know he's waking up in the hospital with bits of iPhone in his head. Unknown to the doctors, the fragments have fused with Tom's brain and now he can do pretty much anything a smartphone can. He can text, make phone calls, browse the internet - all in his mind. After finding out that Lucy was being assaulted by a gang in her own home at the time he was hit by the phone, Tom sets about getting revenge with the aid of his new powers.

Before reading iBoy, I hadn't read anything by Kevin Brooks, although I'd heard many good things about his books. Now I wish I had picked up one sooner. I really liked the writing style and the 'science bits' and tech jargon really appealed to my geeky nature. Like in most 'boys' books, Brooks focuses more on the action and plot than the descriptives which suits me perfectly.

The main characters in the book are well developed and realistic and the dialogue between them is witty without being over the top. Some of the things Tom's Gran says particularly amused me, probably because she's not a stereotypical grandmother.

iBoy is more suitable for older readers due to the language and aspects of the plot. I would recommend it to any one who likes books with plenty of action and a superhero element as well as a tense, exciting plot.
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on 15 August 2011
The only other Kevin Brooks novel the cat had read before picking up iBoy, was Being. The cat remembers reading a fairly generic adventure novel. Good enough, but not special enough to leave a lasting impression. iBoy is supposed to be Brooks grand tour de force, asking some of the most existential contemporary questions of the iPod generation, but to be honest, it has basically the same elements and definitely the same vibe all over it. I guess the mix between gritty reality and super high tech sci-fi is Kevin Brooks' signature style of writing. Not really a problem...not at all, give the cat some superhero mutant story and she'll run along with it. The questions raised in iBoy are also interesting enough to keep you going.

Tom Harvey is a 16-year-old who grows up in a London tower block estate , trying to keep a clean nose amidst the arbitrary violence and the atmosphere of fear created by gang-related incidents. One day he gets hit by an iPhone and soon he discover he has some strange powers. Basically, he can do anything an iPhone can, courtesy of the iPhone fusing with parts of his brain.

In the book we gradually get the same overdose of information about all sorts of things as today's Facebook kids get, much like when you google something. The overload of information doesn't so much confuse Tom as it excites him to become some sort of vigilante superhero...iBoy, whose main purpose it is to avenge the gangrape of his friend Lucy. Murder, gangs, all happens in London, we don't need to make life any nicer than it is . This stuff happens. Kevin Brooks doesn't sugarcoat things, and that's all fine and dandy.

Even more, he asks questions. Issues and topics aplenty here. With great powers comes great responsibility is not a hollow phrase for main character Tom or for author Kevin Brooks. The importance of personal freedom; the boundaries of privacy; the overload of sensory information in an over-technologized world; the moral dilemma of justice versus vengeance... we get it all.

Though the book is incredibly fast-paced and touches all the necessary buttons, I can't but feel that something is missing. I don't know what exactly but I miss a certain oomph in Kevin Brooks' writing. For example, despite the fact that the blurb claims that Tom's powers are also his curse and despite the fact that Tom says he feels that the powers take over his personality, I don't feel this in the course of the book... OK, except for the all of 20 or 30 pages where Kevin Brooks cleverly changes Tom's first person narrative to the 3rd person... all this to show that iBoy is taking over from Tom Harvey... But, as a reader, I don't buy it...not really. It takes more than 30 pages to convince me of that.

Kevin Brooks asks some really important questions, but in a way, he doesn't really let all his characters find out the answers to these questions. I was moderately happy with the main character, Tom (in the end he finds out what the right balance is between Tom Harvey and iBoy), but I felt Lucy especially was written in to serve no other purpose than to be the nice little girl who goes along with whatever the main hero says or does. She doesn't seem to ask the same questions despite what she has been through... Especially because of what she has been through, she should not take things at face value the way she does now. Also, the bad guys are incredibly cliché bad guy... Cartoonishly so. But I guess with all the Spiderman references, that might have been intentional.

Anyways...just like Being, the cat feels iBoy is good enough. It's a good adventure story, it has a bit of sci fi, it has a bit of a romance going on there too. It's fast, it's not overly difficult, so even reluctant teens will gladly read this, and it raises some important questions...oh well, maybe the cat's just being picky here.
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on 19 May 2013
This is NOT a book for children. Main themes of book are the rape of young girls, violence, revenge and gang warfare. Prolific use of the F-word, graphic descriptions of violence and threats - including threats of male and female rape, and the threat of raping the boy's grandmother and forcing him to watch. Most of the characters appear to be between the ages of 12yrs and older teens. the main character is 16 yrs.

In the advertising blurb at the back of the book the author describes himself as a children's writer. The cover looks as if it id designed to appeal to children, and the back cover says it is about a 16yr old boy, and mentions that a gang "assaulted" his friend lucy. If they had had the honesty to put that it was about gang-rape perhaps it would be clear that it was not a suitable book for school children.
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on 11 February 2011
Kevin Brooks has consistently written great young adult books. His books never shy away from difficult subjects and never patronise the reader. And with iBoy, his fantastic run of books continues.
The subject material of iBoy is not for the easily upset or offended - rape, drug dealing, extreme violence, gangs - but it is refreshing to read an author for young adults who is not afraid to deal with these issues.
The world that Brooks' creates in iBoy is a harsh and forbidding one; a world where awful things happen on a daily basis and everyone is too afraid to say or do anything. Until, that is, the arrival of iBoy, a new superhero. Of sorts. He is intent on taking out every frustration on the gang that hospitalised him and raped his friend. But iBoy's own sense of good and evil soon become warped.
Highly recommended.
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16 year old Tom Harvey lives in a run-down council block with his grandmother. His mother died in a hit and run car accident when he was an infant and he's never met his father. His best friend - 15 year-old Lucy Walker - lives in the same block and her older brother, Ben, is involved with a drug gang on the estate.

When someone drops an iPhone from the balcony of the tower block it hits Tom on the head, penetrating his skull and leaving him in a coma. When he regains consciousness he discovers that bits of the iPhone are still embedded in his brain. Worse, the day he was attacked, Lucy was gang-raped.

As Tom recovers, he discovers that he's got powers - he can access the internet through his head, generate an electrical field around his body and track people through their mobiles - and decides to discover who attacked Lucy. The more he uses his powers though, the more of a temptation it is to turn vigilante. Soon Tom finds himself in a world of danger, both from the criminals he wants to bring down, and the powers growing within him.

Despite the strained premise, this is a dark and brooding book that combines a superhero story with a gritty, a run down South London council estate. Tom's struggle to come to terms with what's happened to him, the powers growing within him and how he will use them is credibly portrayed and there's a strong, unpatronising theme here about the ultimate futility of revenge.

The writing is gritty and Brooks does a great job of conveying life on the estate and the way in which gang culture operates. The f-word peppers the text, so this might not be suitable for younger readers and Brooks does not stint on getting across the violence.

Where the book didn't work for me was Lucy's gang-rape, which had a `through the motions' feel to it while Tom's statements that her life is ruined seem trite. While the behaviour of others to her ordeal (e.g. distribution of phone footage of it and painting slurs on her front door) is believable, she's not on the page long enough to get a sense of her feelings about it - only how Tom feels.

Although it's not perfect, it has a unique twist on the superhero genre and is worth reading for that alone.
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on 15 July 2012
This is the first book i've read by Kevin Brooks, and it caught my attention because i'm a bit of a computer nerd and the idea really made me curious, curious enough to take a chance on a book by an author i'd never heard of before. I now think i'll be reading more of his books, because his writing quality is excellent!

As well as having enough tech jargon in it to satisfy the biggest computer genius in existence, it was also an emotional, riviting and ultimately beautiful story about love, life and morality.I was hooked from start to finish and i felt really tied to the characters and i found myself questioning; do we have the right to meddle in things? Does anyone? And can any of us ultimately predict the consequences of our actions?

I'm still left pondering these questions and more, and the ending is left pretty open, not in an unfinished way, more in a 'think for youself' kind of way. And i loved how the main characters were left at the end, i closed the book feeling relatively happy, yet feeling a bit of sadness for both Tom and Lucy.

Action packed, thoughtful, emotional and, i have to warn readers, contains some distressing events, this is a book you won't forget for a long time. A shining star among all the young adult novels around, and i can't praise it any higher if i tried.
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VINE VOICEon 1 September 2011
Tom Harvey is walking to meet Lucy, to him the prettiest girl at his school. She was the girl next door but still lives close by in her flat in their home in the sky: Compton House tower block on the impoverished Crow Town high rise estate. A stolen iPhone is thrown from the window of Lucy's flat and shatters Tom's skull, finding a weak spot in his skull and plunging him into a coma. However, rather than the impact killing him something amazing happens, the chip of the iPhone embeds itself into the neural pathways of his brain. He wakes wired into the global networks of mobile phone, internet and television superhighways that invisibly cross the land and he has control of electrical fields. But something terrible has happened to Lucy and he begins to exact a terrible revenge on those who have hurt her.

On one level therefore this is a good adventure story about an ordinary boy who becomes a superhero by freak accident, the stuff of comic book legend. However, Brooks also subtly interweaves into his text concepts of social injustice, the impact of single parenthood on the lives of young boys, gang warfare and violence as power into the fabric of this book, so you come away having learned much about the moral ambiguities of revenge, justice and hate.
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on 31 July 2010
iBoy, a far fetched idea of an iPhone's broken fragments in a 16 year old boys brain allowing him to have powers. Where can I get one of these? Brooks writes a truely fantastic story of violence, friendship and identity confusion. The utterly unrealistic idea of iPhone powers is made believable by Brook's style of writing, he details the setting and character preformances very realisticly. The main character Tom is very easy to relate to on many levels including his decisions on using his abilities and the extent of them. I honestly believe this is a book you'll finish in a day because you can't get enough of it. Parents be wary though, this book is not for younger teens with details of rape, murder, gang warfare etc filling the plot.
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