Book Review: The Twelve-Fingered Boy

The Twelve-Fingered Boy by John Hornor Jacobs.  February 2013. 9780761390077.  Gr. 9-12.

I love books with characters that are odd and unique.  I have posted here before about how I believe people judge books by their cover (I know I do!).  I loved this cover and the title, so, everything upon first impression about The Twelve-Fingered Boy grabbed me (groan-inducing pun intended).

Shreveport Justice Cannon, or Shreve for short, is a resident of Pulaski Juvenile Detention Center.  He has lived a rough life, having never met his father and being required to deal with his difficult,  alcoholic mother.  He has had to fend for himself, and also worry about his younger, vulnerable brother, Vig.  Shreve has made a “living” at the detention center by dealing contraband.  Fellow inmates make sure Shreve stays in their good graces, as he supplies the Heath bars, lollipops, and other sweets that they all desire.

Soon, Shreve gets a new roommate.  Jack is a smaller, shy boy who does whatever he can to be inconspicuous, which is difficult when one has twelve fingers.  Jack reminds Shreve of his brother, and Shreve becomes protective of Jack; a friendship is born.  Shreve soon sees that Jack’s hands aren’t the only things that make him unique.  When Jack gets angry, the air ripples around him, and he produces a powerful and destructive shockwave. Jack’s ability has attracted the attention of the dark and mysterious Quincrux, who apparently seeks out those with powers, to use for his own purposes.

Shreve and Jack decide that they can’t stay at the detention center while Quincrux is seeking them, as Quincrux is able to mentally manipulate people, making it easy for him to get past the detention center’s administration and get to Jack.  Shreve learns that he, too, has a special mental ability that was awoken by Quincrux, and this comes in handy while he and Jack are on the run.

We get a lot of “good versus evil” battles, and I must say that Quincrux is as menacing and scary a villain as there can be.  His intentions are not clear, and aside from some ambiguity at the end, it seems certain that he is the embodiment of evil.  A healthy dose of mystery is introduced to be tackled in the next book in this new series, and I am excited to see what is in store for Shreve and The Twelve-Fingered Boy.

Check out the delightfully ominous book trailer here, then get this in the hands (polydactyl or otherwise) of everyone you can!

Ryan

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