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Updated: November 17, 2010 20:06 IST

iboy's adventures

KRISHNA KUMAR
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iBoy by Kevin Brooks.
iBoy by Kevin Brooks.

What happens when one day you wake up to know that your brain can function like an iphone? The story of Tom Harvey tells you how power can change your life.

Tom Harvey is a 16-year-old-boy living with his grandmother (whom he calls ‘Gram') in a run-down South London estate.

All that Tommy dreams about is Lucy Walker, his long-time friend and neighbour. But all this changes when an iPhone cracks open his skull and minuscule fragments of the shattered device get embedded in his brain.

iBoy by Kevin Brooks is a gritty and intriguing novel that describes how an accident alters a teenager's world. Tom's life in a notorious estate called Crow Lane isn't sugar-coated in the least. All the elements of living in a gang-ruled estate are there: drugs, prostitution, violence and verbal abuse .

The ibrain

One day, on his way home from school, 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 knows is he is waking up in the hospital after 17 days of being in coma, with bits of an iPhone in his head.

A few fragments, whose consequences the doctors are oblivious to, have fused with Tom's brain and now he can pretty much do anything a smartphone can.

He can make calls, send texts, use wi-fi Internet and hack any secure database using his brain with just a thought. After discovering that Lucy was assaulted by a gang in her own home on the same day he was hit by the phone, Tom sets about seeking vengeance with the aid of his new powers.

Dealing with power

As the story progresses, Tom begins to contemplate the integrity of his actions. He wonders whether what he is doing is right or wrong. He also feels apprehensive that he may be pulling himself down to the level of the gangs he was punishing.

Tom's management of his new skills, which includes an electric force field and the knack of delivering paralysing electric shocks, becomes increasingly sophisticated as the text is infiltrated by technology.

What I found enthralling was the ingenious and fairly simple plot, despite the usual super hero thing. The end may be quite abrupt but at least it is not predictable. This was my first book by Kevin Brooks and I'm truly glad I read it!

Title: iBoy

Author: Kevin Brooks

Publisher: Penguin

Price: Rs.299

Krishna Kumar passed out of RMK Engineering College, Kondithope.

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