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The Twelve-Fingered Boy (The Twelve-Fingered Boy Trilogy) [Kindle Edition]

John Hornor Jacobs
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Fifteen-year-old Shreve Cannon doesn't mind juvie. He's got a good business dealing contraband candy, and three meals a day are more than his drunk mother managed to provide. In juvie, the rules never change and everyone is the same. In juvie, Shreve has life figured out. Then the new fish shows up.

Jack's a quiet kid. Small. Cries himself to sleep too. He's no standard-issue titty-baby, though. There's his hands—more specifically his fingers, all twelve of 'em. And when he gets angry, something weird happens. The air wavers. You feel a slight pressure in your chest. And then…well, best take cover.

Jack isn't the only new face in juvie. There's Mr. Quincrux. Quincrux has an unusual interest in Jack and Shreve, and it quickly becomes clear that innocent bystanders aren't going to get in his way. So Jack and Shreve bust out.

On the lam, they quickly discover that Jack has abilities—hell, superpowers—that might just give them a fighting chance against Quincrux, if they can stay alive long enough to figure them out.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* At long last, here is a superhero story for the rest of us. Streetwise Shreve, 15, is serving a two-year stint in juvie, but at least his sideline—dealing candy—keeps things interesting. Enter new roommate Jack, a haunted 13-year-old (a “titty-baby” in juvie terms) rumored to have killed his parents and put five kids into the hospital. Jack has 12 fingers. That’s weird. Even weirder? When angered, he can “go explodey”—psychically hurl people across the room. No wonder other parties are, shall we say, interested. Mr. Quincrux, an ominously bland fellow in a black suit, arrives to mentally invade the minds of Jack and Shreve and in the process accidentally lends Shreve a similar ability. What follows is miles away from the superhero battles you’re expecting. After the two boys bust out, they live the desperate existence of itinerate thieves as they struggle to control superpowers fueled by pain. Jacobs’ storytelling has the effortless velocity of early Dean Koontz, and his prose is textured with hard-boiled grit: each kid’s supernatural flexing causes nosebleeds and vomiting, not to mention the realistic mangling of innocent people. An expertly spiced stew of attitude, humor, horror, and grief—and with a movie-ready plot to boot. Sequels? Probably. Let’s make that hopefully. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus

About the Author

John Hornor Jacobs has worked in advertising for the last fifteen years, played in bands, and pursued art in various forms. He is the author of the adult novels Southern Gods (Night Shade Books), which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and This Dark Earth (Gallery/Pocket Books). The Twelve-Fingered Boy is his first work for young adults.

Product Details

  • File Size: 826 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab TM; 1 edition (February 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009M74WBU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,703 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 Thumbs Up! February 28, 2013
I enjoyed John Hornor Jacobs's THIS DARK EARTH so much that I had to read more of his work. Fortunately Jacobs has two other published books on shelves - the southern gothic, Lovecraftian horror of SOUTHERN GODS, and the YA thriller THE TWELVE-FINGERED BOY. I'm eager to start SOUTHERN GODS but I couldn't pass the opportunity to read a Young Adult book about a kid with twelve fingers that has a form of telekinesis.

Shreveport Cannon has lived a hard life, at fifteen years old he's suffered more than his fair share. He's learned to look out for himself, and he's used his street smarts to keep his skin intact during his stint at Casimir Pulaski Juvenile Detention Center for Boys. When Jack Graves is introduced to the eco-system of Casimir Pulaski things get...weird. Jack has twelve fingers and twelve toes, but that's not the strangest thing about him. When he gets mad or feels threatened Jack explodes with telekinetic force. And there are those that seek to acquire Jack and his ability, nasty customers like the menacing Mr. Quincrux.

THE TWELVE-FINGERED BOY is told in the first person by juvenile delinquent Shreveport "Shreve" Cannon. Shreve's voice is highly unique. He's likable with an edged wisdom that bespeaks his difficult lot in life. For a fifteen year old he's had the majority of his naivety burned away by circumstance but what remains is intelligence and a surprising compassion. Shreve quickly takes to Jack, despite his reluctance to being saddled with fresh blood. Looking back I'm surprised at how little is learned about Jack over the course of the novel. He too, is likable, and the relationship that matures between the two boys is convincing.

It's a relationship that grows and changes as the boys grow and change.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Dealing candy at the Casimir Pulaski Juvenile Detention Center was easy, way too easy for someone like Shreve. Booth was always watching him, but no way could he catch a shrewd dude like him. Shreveport Justice Cannon wasn't a loose cannon by any means and he learned a lot from the school of hard knocks. Moms was a drunk and tending to his younger brother, Vig, gave him a purpose in life, but until Jack Graves became his roomie in juvie he only had that candy. Heaths and Blow Pops were as good as gold in Casimir. Assistant Warden Horace Booth, who was determined to catch Shreve, was digging for it in his nose when he thought no one was looking.

Thirteen-year-old Jack was one of those kids who cried himself to sleep so it looked like he needed to be looked after kind of like Vig. "You got like a gajillion fingers," Shreve blurted out when he saw Jack's hands. It was really kind of a freaky thing and Jack didn't appreciate the commentary, least ways the thing about being in a circus. A strange "thing" emanating from Jack pushed Shreve back. "No!" This kid had more than a gajillion fingers, he had some sort of power. Shreve shouldn't have said anything about those fingers, but he wanted to listen to Mr. Quincrux interview Jack and needed to bribe Ox so he could listen through his wall.

"Your former foster brother will live ..." This kid's powers were seriously strong and Quincrux wanted him for some reason. Jack had defeated "five older children in hand-to-hand combat." Shreve's powers began to quickly emerge and he remembered what happened when Quincrux got into his head. Quincrux's "residue or something was left behind," and Shreve was soon able to read minds and take control of other people's bodies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Misfits fans February 1, 2013
I have got to stop assuming that books are standalones. When I reached the end of THE TWELVE-FINGERED BOY, I couldn't believe it. I was relieved to learn that two more books were coming and that the story would continue, but all the open threads were a bit of a shock.

The twelve-fingered boy in question is Jack Graves, the new kid as Casimir Pulaski Juvenile Detention Center. The narrator is his roommate Shreveport "Shreve" Cannon, the biggest candy dealer in all four blocks. Soon after Jack arrives, a man named Mr. Quincrux shows up to interview him. Shreve eavesdrops because he has a bad feeling about the man and his interest in Jack - a feeling that turns out to be very prescient. Soon the two boys are busting out of juvie and desperately running across the country to protect themselves.

THE TWELVE-FINGERED BOY will appeal to fans of the X-Men and Spider-man. Jack has special abilities, and their encounters with Mr. Quincrux awaken a power in Shreve. Although they're concerned with keeping themselves alive and safe at first, they start to realize that they might have extra responsibilities due to their extraordinary capabilities. That's not a thought that comes easily to Shreve, whose short life has taught him that it is acceptable to hurt others to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

John Hornor Jacobs imbues Shreve with a unique, absorbing voice. His morality is slightly skewed, and he has the potential to grow up to be a good person - or a really bad one. And his relationship with Jack, who reminds him of his younger brother, is quite sweet.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A little dark but interesting.
How far do you let the lines of right and wrong blur when you are protecting the ones you love? Hard to put down, characters are engaging and keep you invested. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Wendy Palmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Suspenseful, well written story. Keeps you wanting more.
Published 4 months ago by John Fortune
5.0 out of 5 stars All The Words
I must admit this isn't usually what I would call my cup of tea, if my brother hadn't found it at the bookstore and picked it up for me because he thought it sounded... Read more
Published 13 months ago by TheStoryGoes
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning YA Debut
I can still hear the book's POV character, Shreev, in my mind. An absolutely believable broken kid who struggles with a Parzivalian existence. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Weston Ochse
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this story because it's unique.
Read this. It's an odd story and it's presented oddly. It is compelling exactly because of those elements. I think I see where the next part might go... but I'm probably wrong. Read more
Published 14 months ago by T. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique, terrifying, and tender YA
15 year old Shreveport (Shreve) Cannon is doing a 2 year stint in the Casimir Pulaski Juvenile Detention Center for Boys for stealing a neighbor’s truck, which ended in a barrage... Read more
Published 15 months ago by MyBookishWays
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a Bad Dream
Ever wish you could read the thoughts of people you meet? Our main character, Shrev Cannon, can. Sometimes he finds out things he just doesn't want to know. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Zack Jennings
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down. highly recommend this book.
Great read. I'm going to recommend this book to all my friends. Looking forward to reading the sequel and more books by John H Jacobs.
Published 18 months ago by Paul Harness
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
I read the book straight through and I almost never do that. Good characters and I can't wait to see what they do in the second part of the trilogy.
Published 18 months ago by Devon Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing adventure ... got one for all the kids in my life that read
So, this is me 44 veteran tuff guy( well I'm drawn that way) admitting to reading and enjoying this book. I have to read the books I give my kids... Read more
Published 20 months ago by just george
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More About the Author

John Hornor Jacobs is the author of SOUTHERN GODS, was published by Night Shade Books and shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Award. His second novel, THIS DARK EARTH, was published in July, 2012, by Gallery/Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. His young adult series, comprised of THE TWELVE-FINGERED BOY, THE SHIBBOLETH, and THE CONFORMITY, will be published by Carolrhoda Lab, an imprint of Lerner Publishing.

His first fantasy series, beginning with THE INCORRUPTIBLES, will be published in Spring 2014 by Gollancz in the UK.

John is the co-founder of Needle: A Magazine of Noir and was the active creative director until fall 2012. He has a quartet of horror stories, FIERCE AS THE GRAVE, available through He lives with his family in Arkansas, where he is also a musician and graphic artist. Visit him at

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