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Twelve Minutes to Midnight

(Twelve Minutes to Midnight #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  790 ratings  ·  125 reviews
Penelope Tredwell is the feisty 13-year-old orphan heiress of the bestselling magazine, 'The Penny Dreadful'. Her masterly tales of the macabre are gripping Victorian Britain, even if no one knows she's the author. ...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published February 2nd 2012 by Nosy Crow
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Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  790 ratings  ·  125 reviews

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2.5 STARS!

This could've been just as amazing as Wild Boy (another MG Victorian era Mystery-Adventure, which is also now one of my favorite books of all time.) but alas it was not. I was getting bored half of the time, I skimmed through some of it, and the mystery was extremely predictable. Though I enjoyed parts of this book, this one just wasn't for me. - Richard
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it
I thought the beginning was great, particularly the idea of the mental patients predicting the future. My 10 year old and I enjoyed working out which 20th century event matched the prophesies. The story conclusion got a bit silly in my view, but the 10 year old loved it.
Jenny Boyce
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-ya, thriller
The title and cover of this book caught my eye while cruising through the library today. While I normally don't read children's books, this one certainly caught my eye and I'm glad that I read it.

The plot of Twelve Minutes to Midnight is rather original. A young girl, Penelope, is a writer but she must keep it a secret as the story takes place during a day and age when female authors were rather uncommon and frowned upon. Not only is Penny a writer (and publisher), she also gets caught up in a
C.J. Milbrandt
Penelope writes gripping horror stories for the Penny Dreadful under a penname in order to hide the fact that she's a thirteen-year-old girl (and the orphaned heiress to said magazine). She hires an actor to portray her alter ego, and the two of them are dragged into a mysterious case involving the patients at Bedlam hospital.

Lots of detail to set every scene, and a preponderance of adjectives. I finally decided it must be literary affectation, intended to emulate the style of the old penny dre
Barb Middleton
Dec 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, fantasy
At twelve minutes to midnight, the mental ward patients at Bedlam Hospital get up and scratch future writings on any surface they can find using a writing utensil or wearing the skin off fingers leaving blood scribblings. Penelope Tredwell, thirteen-year-old literary genius, owns The Penny Dreadful magazine where she writes macabre stories under the pen name of Montgomery Fitch. It would seem that women during the 1800's did not write this type of cheap fiction. Penelope is looking for her next ...more
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is one of the books on my 12 yr old son's list for his reading group and is also nominated for the Northern Ireland Book Awards. I'm not sure it will be his cup of tea given that it has elements of fantasy but I, personally, enjoyed it and found the whole concept of Bedlam patients predicting the future intriguing. Good writing, vivid descriptions and a feisty heroine in the shape of Penelope Treadwell. ...more
Liaba Hassan
A bit childish and unbelievable at times, but nothing short of what can be called a great children's book. Definitely looking forward to read the sequel. ...more
Meh. Not wonderful, not terrible, but still not great.
>The story started out OK, but got progressively more unbelievable as it went along.
>I found myself repeatedly and more and more frequently saying 'oh, please' as the book went along
>I found Edge repeatedly writing that Penelope was 'standing there fuming' throughout the book.

Overall, I could not warm-up to the protagonist, could not buy into many of the plot points, and thought that the ending was somewhat absurd. I am unsure if I would re
Karen Barber
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars as this is entertaining, but it does verge on the farcical at times (which may well be a feature of the kind of writing this is focusing on, but I think it'll be lost on younger readers).
Penelope Tredwell has taken on the mantle of publishing the magazine, The Penny Dreadful, after the death of her father. She has raised circulation through the compelling stories of Montgomery Filch. Only nobody could believe a young girl would be capable of such writing, so Penelope is forced to pay a

The ending was too cheesy for my taste (the old "stories have power"). I also felt like we didn't get to know the main characters enough (seriously, who is Alfie?), because the story was too rushed out.

Penelope is too perfect and too self reliant to be a thirteen year old girl. This book would have worked out better if she were a 20 year old lady instead. In many ways, Twelve minutes to midnight is too far fetched. At the beginning I thought I was about to read a gothic-mystery novel, but then t
Fatima Juarez
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Would you like to live in a life with a lot of secrets to hide?
The book 12 minutes to midnight is a mystery, horror, and suspensful story.***Spoiler alert*** this book contains a lot of complex mysteries to be solved witch Penelope ( main charecter) finally solves during the entire book but it can be very challenging.This book to me can be very realistic so I considered it Realistic fiction or Science fiction (syfy). i considered them realistic fiction becouse maybe this could happen oneday Imea
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Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I don't normally read books from the junior fiction section, but while browsing it caught my eye and I decided to give it a go.

Over all, it was an interesting and entertaining read that I know my twelve year old self would have absolutely idolised.

I adore that it's set in the late 19th century as well.

If this were not a junior book I would be very disgruntled at the lack of explanations for things. But seeing as how it is I'll let them slide.

I gave this a four as the ending was really quite
Dec 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
Man, was this book awful.
The author's style of writing is frankly obnoxious, with low originality and many repeated phrases and words. ("Penelope stood there, fuming." SHE DID THIS AT LEAST ONCE PER CHAPTER) The plot starts off semi-promising but then becomes steadily more ridiculous and unbelievable. If I were you, and you were thinking of reading this book, I would advise you to REALLY NOT WASTE YOUR TIME.
One star!
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
This book is a tribute to the Penny Dreadfuls it honors.
Asha - A Cat, A Book, And A Cup Of Tea
Taking as its subject and inspiration the Victorian penny dreadful, Twelve Minutes to Midnight is unlike any middle grade I've read before!

Penny Tredwell is the owner and author of The Penny Dreadful, a successful magazine in Victorian London - but she's also a thirteen year old girl, which poses some problems. She hires an actor to bring her pseudonym, Montgomery Flinch, to life, but soon the two of them become wrapped up in a deadly mystery that will take all Penny's investigative talents to s
Mark Buxton
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
My name is Penelope Tredwell, and no one knows I've been running a best-selling magazine called The Penny Dreadful. People love the chilling stories I've written, but they're very curious about the reclusive author. I decided to hire an actor named Monty to fool them, but a reporter has been dogging me for information. Now, the local mental hospital has patients all waking up at the same time every night, writing strange messages about things called MTV, an unsinkable ocean liner going down in t ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do you have a child that is a bit too young for Sherlock Holmes and Cthulhu, but you want to give them a flavor of the macabre and the mysterious? If this applies, this book is for you! What begins as a seemingly dark, twisted madness in an asylum becomes an interesting enough mystery that plays with predictions of the future. There are undertones of classism and historical gender bias that add credence to the tale, as does the name checking allusions to Doyle, Haggard, and other English mystery ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was about 10 years old and I absolutely loved it! I think the plot is just incredible and is well worth a read for children who love themes of mystery and independence.

It really gave me confidence and made me feel very sophisticated at the time because of the relatable young girl protagonist, and I wouldn't be surprised if this book was one of the first novels that inspired my thirst for reading as a teenager!
I still remember little scenes even now and felt very nostalgi
Julz Laskazeski
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The story was very intriguing and suspenseful. I wished this story could of gone on for abit longer. I loved Penelope and alfie together wish i got more of them. And abit more on pennys parents. But loved she had taken over her dads magazine. I would love to be able to get it. And the premise of the story with the spiders and wot was happening so good. If kids want a story that is myestery you need to read this. So good and you meet some awesome literary heroes. Looki ...more
Evelina Locmele
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was really good, but the story was somewhat unbelievable. The author kept repeating some words and perhaps describing a little bit too much, but I love the book nonetheless. I found myself breath taken by the style and formation of words. Although many people have shared a negative review of this book, I was entertained by it, reading it in three days. I found the protagonist of the book a lot older than her actual age, and would have liked her to act more like 13 year.s old. Other tha ...more
Heather Gunnell
Staff Pick

This book is filled with creepy descriptions of the places and people involved. There is a mystery happening at the Royal Bedlam asylum and it's up to thirteen year old Penelope Tredwell and her friend Alfie to solve the clues. Penny also has to be careful that no one finds out her secret while she uses her wits to help out the patients in the asylum.
Eileen Winfrey
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I had to give this book 4 stars, even though I didn’t enjoy it (creepy is not my thing) because it was interesting and well developed mystery. I probably won’t buy it for my collection because I have enough creepy books and the old fashioned language in the beginning would I think keep kids from continuing to read it.
Ryan Thalman
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read. At first I was a little shy with the paranormal tag. But the writing was clean and crisp and the story flowed. I appreciated the oddity of how certain things about the future would sound in 1899 which made me laugh with the writings of the Bedlam inmates.
Steven Barr
Jun 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read. I was drawn in from the very start. I could tell where it was going though. The big surprise twist wasn't really that surprising, but then again I am an adult, lol. All in all, very enjoyable. Y/A with the emphasis on Y. ...more
Emma Vardy
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I like the idea. There was just too much describing of everything for my liking.
Started great, but the ending didn’t quite follow up for me.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I remember I read this book a few years ago and loved it :)
Isla MacLean
Nov 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Couldn't even get halfway through. Not very gripping either. ...more
May 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Why yes a work of fiction CAN be too far-fetched!
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How has the use of figures of speech benefited the plot of the novel? 1 1 Jan 15, 2016 05:55AM  

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