** spoiler alert **
I had no preconceptions about this book not knowing the author or much about the plot. I knew it was a teen fiction book and given my recent Children Literature course, I was interested to see how this book fit into the tradition of children's literature.
My initial reaction was that this pulled no punches. The 'attack' mentioned in the blurb on the back cover is in fact a gang rape of a 16 year old girl by a council flat high-rise gang. The book also includes violence, thoughts of suicide and swearing and as a mum-to-be, I immediately framed myself as a parent and wondered if I would want my child to read this.
The conclusion I came to was a resounding 'yes'. Whilst it is true that the book is filled with gritty realism, there is also much internal and external debate about morality, the meaning of right and wrong and debating the consequences of violence.
The protagonist is Tom, a boy who is struck my a falling iPhone who wakes from the resulting coma to find his brain has all the abilities of an iPhone and more powers besides. Brooks works hard at rationalising the technicalities of how thus could be but really, do we care? I was willing to take the leap of faith needed in any superhero story. Because this is what this boiled down to; a superhero kid takes revenge on the sick thugs who ruined the life of the girl he loves.
Whilst there were some interesting characters such as the foul-mouthed cigar smoking grandmother of Tom who wrote romance novels to support them both, and Tom himself who was fully developed, the 'baddies' were pretty one-dimensional. This is a small criticism though.
All in all, I enjoyed the book thoroughly and would read more Brooks again.