cover image iBoy


Kevin Brooks. Scholastic/Chicken House, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-545-31768-9

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.)■