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{January 28, 2013}   {ARC Review} The Twelve-Fingered Boy by John Hornor Jacobs

The Twelve-Fingered BoyFrom Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old fast-talking Shreve doesn’t mind juvie. He’s good at dealing contraband candy, and three meals a day is more than his drunk mother provided. In juvie, the rules never change and everyone is the same. In juvie, Shreve has life figured out.

So when he’s assigned a strangely silent and vulnerable new cellmate, Jack, Shreve takes the younger boy under his wing. But all Shreve’s plans and schemes unravel when he discovers Jack is different. For one thing, Jack has six fingers per hand. For another thing, he just might have superpowers.

Soon Jack has drawn the attention of the cellblock bullies as well as the mysterious and chilling Mr. Quincrux—who claims to be from the Department of Health and Human Services. But when Shreve feels Quincrux invade his mind and shuffle through his darkest memories, he knows Quincrux’s interest in Jack is far more sinister. Mr. Quincrux means to take Jack away. For what purposes, no one knows.

But Shreve has another plan: escape.

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This is a great concept, and I enjoyed the story, but it never truly grabbed me.  Shreve and Jack both have had very hard lives, but it took a really long time for me to connect to them.  I found their time in juvie to be a bit dull and uneventful for my tastes, though there were actually many events taking place, if that makes any sense.  It almost felt somewhat repetitive to me though, until the boys broke loose and began traveling together, hiding from Quincrux and learning about their abilities.  I found the ability portion of the novel extremely interesting, and I would definitely like to know more about the boys as they develop, but I do wish that Shreve would treat Jack just a little bit better and that there was more development within the story itself.  It’s a bit choppy, very fast paced, and the events jump from one to the next all in quick succession, which, for me, makes it hard to really connect or understand all the character’s feelings throughout the story.

I did really enjoy Shreve’s voice, though; he sounds exactly like my teenage students do, but his take on the world is very sad and depressing, which makes sense after all he’s been through, but it’s sad and depressing just the same. Overall, I liked the story and think MG and YA males will enjoy it, but as a grown woman, I found it somewhat cut and dry with events unraveling that were a little too far beyond the believable.  But, even so, I’m interested in a sequel and would like to see what comes next for the boys. Three stars.

3 stars

Lerner Publishing Group has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on February 1, 2013.

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