iBoy Wonder

The premise of this book is totally ridiculous. On the way home from school one afternoon, a kid gets bopped on the head with an iPhone. Seventeen days later he wakes up in the hospital with enhanced smartphone-like superpowers. As origin stories go, this one seems a tad twiggy.

But never mind. Despite the silly premise, the author has written a keen book about the seduction of technology and a young man’s developing moral compass. Since his accident, Tom Harvey has access to everything. He possesses the power of thirty billion web pages. Galaxies of words, pictures, sounds and voices are at his command with just a synaptic wink. Think about it. If you could tap into every bit of information on the planet, and you could manipulate that info like pieces on a chessboard, what would you do? Would you hack into some super-wealthy person’s bank account? Surely Bono or J.K. Rowling wouldn’t miss a measly few thousand quid, right? There are so many cool (but naughty) things you could do.

Tom’s a good boy, however, and decides to take the high road. He uses his newfound powers to exact revenge on a gang of rapists and rid his South London neighborhood of crime. Reinventing himself as a superhero named iBoy, he quickly becomes a thorn in the side of local drug dealers. His adventures eventually get him in trouble with a mobster known as the Devil. Pretty soon, Tom learns a very valuable lesson in moral relativism. There are no absolute rights or wrongs. In other words, when you stand toe to toe with the devil, you better bring some heat. That’s when iBoy faces his ultimate moral challenge.

[iBoy / By Kevin Brooks / First Printing: July 2010 / ISBN: 9780141326108]

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