iBoy by Kevin Brooks

Summary: Tom Harvey used to be an average teenager. But then an iPhone collided into his skull and messed with his brain. On the same day that the iPhone changed him, something also happened to his best friend, and the girl he loves, something that will change her life as well. Now Tom must make the choice to avenge Lucey using his new abilities, and to take the law into his own hands.

I do not recommend this book for anyone under the age of 12. There is a ton of violence, harsh language (and I mean really harsh), and sexual assault (aka rape).

I actually liked this book. I mean, there were definitely parts that were downright awful  and I’ll definitely tell you about those, but first, let me just say that I really did like this book. It was a quick read, and the writing was quick-paced and easy to understand, while still being somewhat sophisticated (like not Dickens-hard, but not close to Twilight awful). Also, I have a thing for superhero books (which does include comics, though not exclusively. There are other forms of superhero books other than graphic novels). There’s just something about all the cliches and the powers. It’s especially good when the main character (the superhero) starts out as an everyday person. Like Spiderman, or Batman (though Bruce Wayne was a super genius with a ton of money, I still count him as an everyday, average person). In this case, Tom was just a normal teenager, who had a major crush on his best friend, when suddenly an iPhone came was thrown out a window, hit him on the head, and meshed with his brain. And, comparing him to other superheroes, he was very much like Spiderman (a reference that Tom makes constantly in his narrative; it’s pretty frequent), but also a mix of the Punisher. The fact that he contemplates revenge alone reminded me of the Punisher, as well as all the gore (which a Spiderman movie would not have had, nor would the graphic novels). It was definitely some kind of Punisher-Spidey mix, and I’m sure there were others but those were the only ones that stood out to me.

What I didn’t like was the whole iPhone-crashing-into-head-gives-him-superpowers-thing. Not even close to possible in real life (duh. I mean, obviously, but it was a bit hard to believe, what with this book taking place in the real world and all. Even for fiction, some of the things were just not possible with that setup. It’s not at all like Peter Parker getting bitten by a radio-active spider; first, because the spider was genetically altered (don’t quote me on that one, I’m not entirely sure), and radio-active, and an iPhone is neither of which, also an iPhone just does not give you superpowers). I managed to suspend my disbelief in order to read the book, but it kept bugging me that the author would choose this way to give him superpowers. Although I did find the whole thing pretty cool, to have that kind of power, I did not like how he got the power. Also, I did not like what the power entailed; at one point I remember thinking, an iPhone doesn’t do that (but I don’t remember which part of the book).

Barring the iPhone thing, it was really good. I liked Tom and Lucey, and Tom’s Gram. I wished it was in comic book form, because it felt like it should have been (going with the theme of superheroes, but mostly because the narration reminded me of the narration panels in a comic book/graphic novel), but I liked that I could picture it as a comic book and that it wasn’t. I liked being able to imagine the characters however I wanted, but still have graphic novel narration. I thought that was pretty cool.