Thursday, February 7, 2013

Twelve-Fingered Boy (Twelve-Fingered Boy Trilogy #1)

Twelve-Fingered Boy (Twelve-Fingered Boy Trilogy #1)
John Honor Jacobs
Carolrhoda, 2013
$17.95, Hardcover

Genre: Action
Age: 12+
Description: Shreveport “Shreve” Cannon is the biggest candy dealer in the Casimir Pulaski Juvenile Detention Center where we was sent after he compulsively decided to take a joyride in a neighbor’s truck and then was actually shot by said neighbor who thought someone was trying to steal the truck. Instead of getting some sympathy, Shreve is sent to a tough as nails juvie where he spends most of his days annoying the warden who has no proof of his candy dealing business and dreams of getting out so he can go take care of his brother who is stuck in the trailer park with an alcoholic and absentee mother. So Shreve’s day looks up when he gets a new cellmate, Jack Graves. Jack is super quiet and shy so when a mysterious man named Mr. Quincrux arrives to ask Jack questions, Shreve decides to protect Jack like he does his little brother. What he isn’t prepared for it to learn that Jack has twelve fingers and twelve toes and his extra extremities somehow seem to be linked to some very odd supernatural powers that caused the unexplainable accident that got Jack stuck in juvie. Jack, scared and not wanting to go with Quincrux, ends up breaking out of Casimir Pulaski and they go on the run where they find that Jack isn’t the only one with powers. Will they be able to figure out just what the heck is going on?
Opinion: I had been waiting for this book for some months when I had first heard about this trilogy. I was super excited to receive it as an ARC for our YA Galley Group and my teens were happy to get a few copies since supplies where limited. Sarah, who is quoted below, read it and was texting me the minute she finished telling me, “OMG, you have to read this book so I have someone to talk to about it!” We both definitely agree that it is a great start to a series that will appeal to guys and possibly those reluctant readers. Sarah was distraught at the end because while there isn’t necessarily a cliffhanger (we both agreed that it ended alright if there wasn’t a second book coming) there are a lot of unanswered questions. The premise of these teens have some kind of supernatural superpower is intriguing. However, there is a lot left in the dark. What is the purpose of these powers? Where exactly does Quincrux want to take Jake (I envision it as kind of a villainous X-Men like school)? What happened in Maryland that makes that state (and anyone from it) a weakness of Quincrux’s? The world is interesting and I would like to learn more about it. While I enjoyed the book overall, I did find myself at times struggling with keeping interest. I do recommend it and will read the rest of the books.

Here’s what some of my teens had to say:

Sarah, 15, says, “Is Quincrux a good guy or a bad guy? He seems pretty sketchy to me. I hope that Jack gets away from him if he is purely evil. I wonder because it seems that Quincrux might have good intentions (maybe helping Jack with his powers) but goes about it all wrong—if he is good why would he shoot an innocent person and why bring a woman who seems to have a taste for eating people into the picture? That just ain’t right. I like the world it set up but I am interested in knowing more about it like what is up with people getting bloody noses after someone has taken over their mind? What does Quincrux want Jack for? So many questions! I can’t wait for the sequel.”
Haley, 17, says, “An epic book about a boy who is unusual and for very weird reasons and his friendship with another boy when he enters, and escapes from, juvie. The cover kind of reflected the contents. I like the coloring of the extra fingers on the hands. The most compelling aspect of the book is the friendship that the two boys share. I also like that it is clear from the beginning that Jack has X-men like superpowers and, while on the run, Shreve realizes he just might have powers too.”
*Thanks to Katie O'Neel at Carolrhoda Lab for including this ARC in the YA Galley Project!*

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