Author: Kevin Brooks
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication Date: November, 2011
Genre/Format: Science Fiction/Novel
Goodreads Summary: 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.
What I Think: When I started iBoy, I originally thought it was going to be cheesy. A boy got hit on the head with a phone and now he has powers? But boy, was I wrong. This book is an edge of your seat suspenseful thriller that keeps you reading. Although the basis of the story is about a boy who has part of an iPhone embedded in his brain thus giving him all knowing knowledge as well as powers such as electric shock, it is more than that. This book is about friendship and right vs. wrong. Tom decides to use his powers to be come a vigilante in his crime-ridden neighborhood by seeking revenge on the guys who gang raped Lucy, the friend he was going to visit when he got hurt. The books becomes quite the psychological study, because Tom has to decide if it is all worth it- is hurting a bad person okay or does it just make you a bad person too?
As a teacher, I did have a couple of ah-ha moments:
1) There is so many math and science sections in the beginning of the book as Tom is realizing his powers and recalling what happens. It would be a great cross-curricular book to share. It has sections about velocity, binary notation, and of course technology.
2) There are great references to e.e. cummings, Aristotle, and Arthur Koestler.
HOWEVER 3) This book is quite explicit. Tom lives in a very hellish neighborhood in London and the dialogue in this book is raw and realistic which means cursing and violence. So, if it is going to be shared in any grade under, I'd say, 10th (though some reviews say 12 and up, but I think that is too young), only parts should be shared with students.
4) I wish this book was okay for my 6th and 7th graders, because I think it is a book that many a teenager will like as it combines comic book-like superheroes with a realism that many will connect to.
Read Together: Grades 9 and up
Read Alone: Grades 10 and up
Read With: Feed by M.T. Anderson, Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield, The Softwire series by P.J. Haarsma
Snatch of Text: "Whatever I was thinking about, my brain would start tingling, and I'd sense things inside me connecting, searching, reaching out...
It was unbelievable.
Terrifying." (p. 27)
Mentor Text for: Plot Development, Suspense, Making Connections
Writing Prompts: Tom struggles with deciding if it is okay to hurt others if they are not a good person- what is your opinion when it comes to this epidemic? Is it ever okay to be a vigilante?
Topics Covered: Technology, Math, Superheroes, Choices, Vigilante, Rape, Gangs
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