Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Kevin Brooks
For ages 14 and up
Scholastic, 2011   ISBN: 978-0545317689

For sixteen years, Tom Harvey has had a very ordinary life. He lives with his grandmother in Crow Town, one of the projects in South London, and he has learned that the key to survival in this often dangerous place is to keep your head down and hope that the gangs don’t get interested in you.

Then one day, on his way home from school, Tom gets hit in the head when someone in his building drops an iPhone on him. Though an iPhone is a small object, when it falls from a great height it can do a lot of damage. Tom’s skull is fractured, he has to have a brain operation, and he is in a coma for seventeen days. When he wakes up, the doctor explains that though his brain seems to be all right, there are still some fragments from the iPhone imbedded in it and there is no way of knowing how these fragments will affect Tom, or if they will affect him at all.

Tom is not awake long before it becomes quite clear that the fragments have affected him in a big way. A radical way. In fact, they have somehow fused to his brain and now Tom can do all kinds of bizarre things. He can connect to the Internet, hack websites, make phone calls, generate electric fields, and he can do all of this and more through his brain.

Tom is appalled when he finds out that while he was being hit with an iPhone, his friend Lucy was being attacked by the teenage members of a gang. When he gets home he goes to see Lucy and he is furious when he sees how her horrific ordeal has changed her. Without really meaning to, Tom starts finding out everything he can about her attack. He finds out who was responsible and he sets about destroying everyone who was present. He takes on the gang members and every petty criminal in the projects, and he does so using his new found abilities, the abilities that have transformed him into iBoy. Though some of his more violent actions do trouble him, he does not stop in his crusade until someone comes along who has the ability to bring his efforts to an abrupt end.

In the powerful and often very disturbing novel, readers will be forced to consider how far is too far, even when one is doing something that most people would consider to be ‘right.’ When do actions against evil go too far? By combining science fiction elements with philosophical considerations, Kevin Brooks takes his readers on a memorable journey that poses a lot of questions.