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12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn

3.26  ·  Rating Details ·  360 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
It’s Wes Anderson meets Holden Caufield in this wry and funny novel about a boy who is sent to live with his uncle when his father (a bestselling self-help author) dies.

James “Hercules” Martino has until the end of the summer (a.k.a. two weeks) to accomplish the twelve tasks given to him by his Uncle Anthony. The tasks will take him to the far reaches of Baltimore, lead h
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Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Roaring Brook Press
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(showing 1-30)
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Jubilation Lee
So as our book opens, our hero Hercules (no, really, Hercules) is attending his father’s funeral. His father was a great man. A cross between Jack Canfield and Dr. Phil, his wisdom and warmth touched the lives of millions. Truly it is a disaster that he was taken from the world so soon.

“My father was a complete and total ass,” says Hercules to the gathered mourners.

And that’s how he finds himself shipped off to spend the rest of the summer with his Uncle Anthony in Baltimore.

12 Things To Do Bef
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Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)
12 Things To Do Before You Crash & Burn is a very quick read, taking me only about an hour. But it’s also a bit of a dull read. The story revolves around James “Hercules” Martino spending the summer after his father’s death at his uncle’s house. To keep him busy, Herc’s uncle gives him a list of 12 things to do in his boring Baltimore suburb, but Herc’s preoccupied with a girl he barely spoke to on his train ride from his hometown in NYC.

As far as plot goes, 12 Things To Do Before You Crash
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Megan
Apr 16, 2012 Megan rated it really liked it
It’s not often that you see a short story being sold among the hyped godzillas of YA books. At 128 pages long, and taking only a few minutes to read, 12 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU CRASH AND BURN is almost a respite from the books that take days to read and zap you off all your happiness with their sad tales of woe. Although it is short, this book is packed full of humor and wit, more than you would expect for a book with roughly 12,000 words.

This book was short, so oddly for me, this review will be
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Chrissie
Jul 17, 2013 Chrissie rated it did not like it
12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn is one of those rare books where every character in it is an unlikable character. With only 120-something tiny pages and sparse writing, one would suspect that there was enough time to properly develop the characters to make them especially likable or unlikable. But, one would be wrong.

The story follows young Hercules as he sent to live with his uncle in Baltimore for the final twelve days of summer (for such a short period of time, why bother?). His j
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Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hayden
Dec 20, 2011 Hayden rated it really liked it
Now we're talking. I was excited to find this book because I love Proimos' Johnny Mutton easy reader comics. I was not disappointed.

The premise: Herc (so nicknamed because at age 6, he opened a jar of pickles that had defeated all the adults in the room) is the son of a fictional guy who is clearly Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil is dead. In the first scene of the book, everyone gets up on stage to talk about what a hero, a saint, a god this guy was. Herc stands up and says, "He was an ass. My father was a c
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Alicia
Jan 27, 2012 Alicia rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, male, humor
What a neatly packaged book geared toward boys that's simple, straightforward (with a few pieces that you must suspend your disbelief), and just captures a two week visit to his uncle's house after Hercules (his nickname) goes off the deep end with his mother following his not-so-perfect dad's death.

His father wasn't all that, but because his father was a famous self-help book writer and talk show host, of course everyone else thought he and his family were perfect, but Hercules knows different
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Brandy
Jan 21, 2012 Brandy rated it liked it
Herc's dad died recently, and while Herc is the first to admit that his dad--a Dr. Phil-type self-help guru--was an ass, he's been a pain in the ass to his mom ever since. She sends Herc off to spend the last two weeks of the summer with his uncle in Baltimore. The uncle gives him a list of 12 tasks, one for each day he'll be there, to keep him from getting bored. And in the process of finishing the tasks, Herc learns a lot about himself and about his family.

Great that it's so short and thus a g
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Jeanne
Jan 05, 2012 Jeanne rated it it was ok
There is an element of struggling teen boy readers that would really like this book. It doesn't have the look of a high interest reader, there are few words on the small pages, chapters are extremely brief, and it's full of swear words. ( It took about 45 minutes to read from beginning to end and it's 121 pages.) However, I got to the end and went that's it? The epiphany is missing. What did Herc learn from his little stay with his uncle? This book had potential, and I see the author was going ...more
Cheryl
Jun 04, 2011 Cheryl rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, realistic-fiction
16-year old Hercules Martino has to complete 12 "labors" assigned to him by his Uncle Anthony, who is looking after the teen for the summer. Day 7--go on seven job interviews--was very funny. A tight little novella. Quick and easy read, but the implicit sex and language puts it in the 14+ category.
Geneva
Nov 14, 2014 Geneva rated it really liked it
Shelves: teens
Realistic? No. However, with a main character named Hercules whom is given 12 tasks to complete I think you can forgive the moments that are a bit far-fetched. It is a fun and entertaining read with some good messages.
Sara
Jul 06, 2015 Sara rated it liked it
Glad to have this book in my library for my non-readers. It's not a great book but there is enough there to give kids something to think about. Super fast read.
Aidan Dunleavy
Apr 27, 2015 Aidan Dunleavy rated it really liked it
Short, sweet, and to the point. The book is extremely short, and is filled with witty humor, alongside some hidden and occasionally deep morales.
Chris
Jul 02, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing
What a brilliantly fun little diversion.

It definitely requires a suspension of disbelief, because the string of coincidences and interpersonal reactions that are the book's plot aren't at all realistic, but that's hardly the point. The subtle emotional subtext that's never stated is real and believable, and that's what makes the book work.

When I said "little diversion," I wasn't kidding; this took me 30 to 45 minutes to read and I'm not a particularly fast reader. I don't think I've ever describ
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Waldschrat
Ein interessantes Jugendbuch. Vorweg muss ich aber noch hinzufügen, dass der Verlag bereits in der Leserunde darauf hingewiesen hat, dass es eher ein Buch für Jungen ist. Und ich denke, dass diese Bemerkung nicht unwichtig ist, weil besonders die Frauen (so auch ich) ein wenig die Tiefe vermisst haben. Aber so sind wir Frauen nun einmal. Das Buch ist aus der Sicht von Herc a.k.a. Hercules geschrieben, sehr flapsig und sehr sehr kurzweilig. Da die Jungen im Alter von 12-16 eher selten lesen (ich ...more
Amy
I guess I’m reading everything Monica! is! Sorry Monica! Not trying to be creepy!

Hercules “Herc” Martino digs a metaphorical grave for himself when he badmouths his deceased father at said father’s funeral. Apparently being Dr. Phil (or some such kind of dude) doesn’t preclude you from being an asshole, at least in Herc’s mind - but that doesn’t mean the other funeral-goers want to hear about it. Needing some space, or time, or whatever, Herc’s mother ships him off to Baltimore to spend the rema
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Sophie
Jun 27, 2013 Sophie rated it really liked it
Äußeres Erscheinungsbild:
Das Cover ist ein totaler Eye-Catcher. Die vielen verschiedenen Schriftarten passen unter normalen Umständen so nicht zusammen, doch mit dem asymetrischen Hintergrund kommen sie total gut zur Geltung und geben dem Cover was Einzigartiges.
Titel wurde übernommen. Er klingt total gut, doch was crash und burn jetzt mit dem Inhalt zu tun haben, weiß ich nicht. Das 12 hingegen passt zum Inhalt.


Eigene Meinung:
Der Klappentext hat mich sehr angesprochen. Und ich fand die Idee die
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Jason Edwards
Jan 08, 2013 Jason Edwards rated it liked it
Oh, the things we read when we’re supposed to be reading something we don’t want to read. I’m in the middle of a few books right now, one of which is sort of awful, and I find myself starting other books to take a break from it. I’m not one of those people who thinks a book started must be finished-- but the awful book is for research purposes, shall we say, so I do need to finish it. (Fine, I’ll just say it-- I’m writing a novel, turns out someone had the same idea first, so now I need to read ...more
Sherri
Jul 25, 2013 Sherri rated it really liked it

Summary: If one more person tells 16-year-old Hercules Martino how wonderful his recently deceased father was, he just might throw up. To the world, Hercules’s dad was an adored self-help author and daytime talk show host, but to Hercules, he was the worst father imaginable.

Hercules’s mom doesn’t know what to do with him anymore so she sends him to spend the last two weeks of summer with his Uncle Anthony in Baltimore. Hercules is not happy about this and is afraid he will just as bored this tr
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Milly Cohen
Sep 22, 2016 Milly Cohen rated it liked it
Está bueno, pero no tanto.
Terri
Jul 09, 2012 Terri rated it really liked it
Hercules Martino's father, a famous self-help guru, has just died. In order to deal with what comes next, Hercules' mom sends him to finish out the summer at his Uncle Anthony's. Hercules fears he will be bored out of his mind for two weeks; however, his uncle gives him a list of "12 Things To Do Before You Crash and Burn." What ensues is fast-paced and hilarious. And what awaits him at the end of his trials (like the Hercules myth) is very touching.

The book is aimed at reluctant male teen reade
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Autumn (Fic Talk)
I received a copy of this book from MacMillan Publishing. It was a quick read, taking me only about 30 to 45 minutes to finish (that includes the time my cats were distracting me). I liked the characters snarky, sarcastic comments. I write much like an adolescent male myself so I connected with the Hercule's humor. The entire portion where he applies for jobs cracked me up.

12 Things is the story of "Hercules" Martino. His father, a best selling self-help author, has died. His mother sends Hercu
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Queena
May 08, 2012 Queena rated it liked it
Hercules' father died. His father was a famous celebrity but the thing was when his father died, Hercules was not sad about it because he had never liked his father. His childhood with his father was not a great one. And so his mother sent him to visit his uncle for two weeks. During these 2 weeks Hercules has to complete his mission that was given to him by his uncle. It was a way for Hercules not to be bored 24/7. One of his mission was to find the best pizza and the other was to find the love ...more
FicTalk Blog
Apr 15, 2012 FicTalk Blog rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, reviewed-in-2012
Reviewed by Autumn

I received a copy of this book from MacMillan Publishing. It was a quick read, taking me only about 30 to 45 minutes to finish (that includes the time my cats were distracting me). I liked the characters snarky, sarcastic comments. I write much like an adolescent male myself so I connected with the Hercule’s humor. The entire portion where he applies for jobs cracked me up.

12 Things is the story of “Hercules” Martino. His father, a best selling self-help author, has died. His m
...more
Nikki
Jul 26, 2016 Nikki rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
This book was really weird. The plot (if you could call it that) was just, kind of lack luster, and in my opinion not actually there. It’s basically about this teenaged boy going to spend time with his uncle after his father has died. The only thing that happens that I would call character development was that he finally answered his phone when his mother called, where previously he’d ignored her. And that happened at the very end of the book.

I suppose you could call the list his uncle gives him
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Fran
Feb 22, 2013 Fran rated it liked it
16-year-old Hercules Martino’s father was a “best-selling self-help-book author” and “daytime-TV-talk-show-host phenomenon.” Though revered by his readers and fans, he was a terrible father and husband. When prompted to speak at his dad’s funeral, Hercules says, “He was an ass. My father was a complete and total ass.” Hercules’ mom sends him to Baltimore to spend the last two weeks of summer with his Uncle Anthony. During the last visit he nearly “croaked of boredom,” so Uncle Anthony gives ...more
Annette
Jan 14, 2013 Annette rated it really liked it
Even though the first scene of 12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn is the main character's father's funeral, the story is light and funny. It's not without a message, though.

After his famous day-time talk show host father dies, Hercules' mother sends him to stay with his Uncle Anthony. Hercules has always been bored when visiting his Uncle, but this time Anthony gives him a list of 12 things to accomplish in 12 days. Hercules has no intention of following through, but he definitely has acc
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Krystal
Jan 05, 2012 Krystal rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
When James' father passes away, he is sent to live with his Uncle Anthony. Along the way, he sits on a train next to this beautiful girl he determines is someone he wants to date. When he finds her Winnie the Pooh book left behind, he knows he must return the book. His Uncle Anthony has a unique way of helping him deal with his "grief" and tasks him with a list of twelve to-dos. Anthony begins at the beginning and slowly makes his way through the list, some by accident and some by seeking the ...more
Reading Teen
Nov 06, 2011 Reading Teen rated it really liked it
I have a thing for nicknames. I absolutely love them. And 12 Things to do Before You Crash and Burn just happens to open up with a clever little story about how Hercules got his nickname, which pulled me in instantly, and I loved it. But this book as a whole was interesting. It was most definitely the shortest book I've read in a very long time, I easily finished it in only a couple of hours. But I can't decide if I liked that or not. I felt so accomplished after I finished it so quickly, but ...more
Laura
I picked this book up from the library shelves because it looked like a nice, quick read, and with a title like that, how could it not be good? Unfortunately, that was not quite the case.

It was a quick read, for sure. I limited myself to 20 pages a day and those only took me about 10 minutes each, if that. Most of the humor was sarcastic and funny, so until about the 80th page I quite liked it. But after 80 pages, don't you expect something to happen? Shouldn't the storyline change at least a li
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