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The Twelve-Fingered Boy

(The Twelve-Fingered Boy Trilogy #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  800 ratings  ·  145 reviews
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.
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published February 2013 by Lerner Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  800 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recently, while packing for a trip, I found this book in my luggage and was filled with shame.

I read it half a year ago, you see. And when I read something I really enjoy, I make a habit of mentioning it here on Goodreads.

This is doubly true of books that are off the beaten track. Books by newer authors. Books by small presses. Books that are brave enough to try new things.

This book is all three of those things. And I really, really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much that when I heard the seque
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Life changes drastically for Shreve when he meets Jack. Well, life started changing when Shreve landed in juvenile detention. But, he feels life in a cell is better than living with his drunk, neglectful mother. One day he's making money selling candy to the other inmates....and the next he's got a new, and very strange, cellmate. Jack not only has 12 fingers .... six on each hand....but he has strange superpowers that seem to manifest themselves when he is angered or threatened. Unfortunately t ...more
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
Why did I read The Twelve-Fingered Boy?

I'm a fan of John Hornor Jacobs. His debut novel Southern Gods blew me away. (You can check out my review of Southern Gods here.) The Twelve-Fingered Boy is Jacobs's first YA novel, and it sounded like an awesome read.

The Strengths

I have a strong affection for coming of age stories, and I don't find myself reading male POV YA books very often. The Twelve-Fingered Boy was able to fill that spot in my heart and make me a very happy reader.

I love the friendsh
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have got to stop assuming that books are standalones. When I reached the end of THE TWELVE-FINGERED BOY, I couldn't believe it. I was relieved to learn that two more books were coming and that the story would continue, but all the open threads were a bit of a shock.

The twelve-fingered boy in question is Jack Graves, the new kid as Casimir Pulaski Juvenile Detention Center. The narrator is his roommate Shreveport "Shreve" Cannon, the biggest candy dealer in all four blocks. Soon after Jack arri
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I’ll admit I haven’t read any John Hornor Jacobs’ previous releases. I’ve heard about them being a varied lot and have some fine prose but I never got around to them. When I got an opportunity to review this title, I didn’t want to pass it based on the blurb and the very cool title, plus the excerpt which I read added to my decision.

The basic storyline is about Shreveport Justice Cannon, our fifteen year-old protagonist who calls himsel
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Chuck Wendig recommended this to me. (Well to everyone who visits his site, but I like to think that I'm special, don't judge me.)Then low and behold, Barnes and Noble had a sale. Fate, that’s what I call that series of events.

I have never heard of Mr. Hornor Jacobs, but I have to say that the man can tell a tale. The story was good and I finished it in one sitting. I was skeptical at first, thinking that this would be a YA story that would be a good ride. That was definitely not the case, even
Brigid ✩
Actual rating: 3.5 Stars

ARC provided by NetGalley

Fifteen-year-old Shreve is in juvie. He's gotten used to the routine, and he thinks he has it all figured out. Everyone around him is the same, and they'll leave him alone as long as he keeps dealing them candy. (Yes, candy.)

But everything changes when Shreve gets a new cellmate––quiet and mysterious Jack. And Shreve soon discovers a few unusual things about Jack: First of all, he has six fingers on each hand. Secondly, he seems to have superpower
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, horror
Shreve Cannon is a big-wig in juvie. He's the connection if you want candy, and he knows how to use people's sweet teeth to get what he wants. That all changes, though, when Jack, the new kid, shows up. He seems to be the usual newbie, crying at night and keeping to himself, but Shreve figures he's something special because of his twelve fingers. And then there's the thing that happens when Jack gets angry.

The premise isn't anything new, but Jacobs brings a new voice to this kind of story, throu
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rating 4.5

John Hornor Jacobs hit my radar with a bang through the great The Incorruptibles, and it was only a matter of time for me to pick another of this books. To tell the truth I was more than a little concerned with the label YA attached to this trilogy (there is YA and YA, you never know what are you waddling into) but my worries were put to rest after the first paragraph.

Shreveport Justice Cannon is serving his time in Casimir Pulaski the juvenile detention center for boys, taking it ea
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of superhero/superpowers books, (non-gory, psychological) horror, & young male narrators
I have mad love for this book and I SO want to meet Shreve and Jack! And even Booth, the big lug! Jacobs made me feel son intensely for these boys and I loved every minute of it. The nasties are so freaking creepy I shuddered and winced more than a few times (not to fearr, though, it's not like there's a lot of gore here - it's a different kind of horror). I wanted to smother both boys with hugs and kisses and give them the love neither of them had ever gotten; my maternal instincts were *really ...more
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We’re born into pain, and we leave in pain, and we cause it along the way too, it seems. It’s a damned hard lesson.

Fifteen-year-old Shreve Cannon is in Casimir Detention Center for Boys, but it seems that he doesn’t mind it. Sometimes, Shreve sometimes doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut but he is a smart-ass and somehow he always finds a way how to work the system. He has got a pretty good position in juvie because of his good running business as a candy d
Adam Rowe
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Writing a book that fully connects with a teenage audience can be tough when one is no longer a teenager. Those guys don't accept any pandering. But with the Twelve-Fingered Boy, John Jacobs has found a trick that lets him do just that. He constantly references TV and film in order to describe a scene or give dialogue to the teenage boys that occupy the plot. Shrive, the main character, compares every part of his journey to how life works in a TV show, and when he's hospitalized at one point, ev
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summa-cum-laude

OMG, this is a series! I need to process this.

Okay, processed.

I totally loved the story. Think if X-men in a very subtle way.

Shrev is in juvie and gets a new roommate, Jack. But Jack is not ordinary kid, he has a very unusual talent. Circumstances lead Shrev to develop (or discover) a special talent of his own. Because some people are after Jack, they break out of juvie and are on the run.

I loved how Shrev abilities developed. It wasn't something tak
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After seeing praise heaped on Mr. Jacobs by the likes of Pat Rothfuss and Mark Lawrence, two of the greatest wordsmiths in fantasy today, I knew I had to check out some of his work myself.

Well, I can verify what everyone is already saying: this book is beautifully written. The prose is clear and flowing, and the first person perspective puts us squarely inside Shreve's head. Jacobs did an admirable job writing a believable teenage character without the voice being stilted or obnoxious. The relat
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Supernatural Killers,Zombies and now a dark twisted YA novel. John Hornor Jacobs could write a shopping list and it would get 5 stars ! Two boys on the run has been done over and over John takes the idea and turns it into a thrilling fast paced heart wrenching tale
Oliver Eastwood
Oct 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
This was one of those "Well that's a shame" books, because it started out really good but then went downhill from there. I just thought that the plot was all wrong, and that maybe it wasn't a good idea for a novel.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very good read. I enjoyed the heck out of this little book. Well-written and fast-paced. I'm already looking forward to book two.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Twelve Fingered Boy by John Hornor Jacobs.
A boy with twelve fingers, able to create explosions. A cunning juvie run-away. What could make better run-away duo? For Shreve Juvenile detention isn’t all that bad, he’s got people to protect him and is content with selling candy to the other inmates. For jack, a strange and quiet kid, life isn’t that easy. Jack becomes Shreve’s new inmate shreve learns or how truly strange jack is. He learns about jacks ability to create explosions from his hands
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book the twelve finger boy the book tells about how a fifteen year old boy in a juvenile detention center gets a new cellmate with twelve fingers. this book had me on the edge of my seat because of how intense the book was.

The main character is shreve and the plot took me throw his life even though he comes from a abusive home were he's taking care of his brother but shreve does not give up he try's to help his brother for them to have a better life.

One thing I like about this book is how
Bob S.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twelve fingered boy

Great title. Nice concept. But the story is a letdown. It could have been so much more. Here’s the story in a nutshell. Due to Shreve’s unfortunate childhood, he commits crimes and ends up in juvie. Jack, the twelve-fingered boy was born with supernatural abilities and because of these abilities and his inability to control them, ends up as Shreve’s roommate in juvie. Shreve and Jack escape and are constantly on the run from the authorities and the mysterious Mr. Quincrux. Shr
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I personally enjoyed the “Twelve Finger Boy.” The story progressed slow, starting off with a kid named Shreve Cannon a fifteen-year old boy in a detention center for stealing a car, with his drunk mother back at the trailer pack life at the detention center is’t a big deal to him. Not far into the story he meets Jack, a kid with Twelve fingers and toes with some unusual talents. Not long after, Quincrux comes to the detention center who seems to have special interest in Jack calling him a “weapo ...more
Mary Kemp
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
(Spoiler Warning)
The idea of the book is quite exciting : A boy in a jail cell gets a cellmate with twelve fingers, then suspicious people begin to show up. Through the whole story you'll find yourself rooting for the two main characters, you're gonna hope that they escape and get to lead free and normal lives. Yet, the ending is kind of depressing. The Twelve Fingered Boy does some sort of "heroic" self-sacrificing act to try and save Shreve, but it really doesn't mean anything because Shreve s
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Horrifically wonderful and exasperatingly frustrating, I wanted to love this book but it became so very dark, so I couldn't. It starts out fairly X-men like which was intriguing and I really love Jack who doesn't understand his great powers but ultimately is just a great kid. However, once they discover the evil of the Twin Killers and the fact that Quincrux is a diabolical madman chasing after two children, I do not love this book at all. I am still intrigued enough to read book two, so hopeful ...more
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I stayed up all night reading this book. I was hooked. Jacobs characters are so well drawn. The theme of incarceration is reflected in Shreves choices esp. late in the book. I don't want to use spoilers. If you read the book, you will see what I am referring.
I rarely read YA because the books lack quality in characters and world building. This one had it all, plus I like the authors writing style, neither florid or dry.
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could possibly be 3 1/2 stars. I really like the story. Good backgrounds on the characters, likable characters. It's also written for a younger group of readers, which is fine, but I did not 100% know this going in, so that took away a bit of it for me. But I Already have the next addition to the series so I suppose I'll keep going and see what happens
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read the reviews before I decided to read the book because I absolutely hated books where people had super powers but I feel so bad for judging these types of books without reading them because this book was so good! Every single time I read it I had a huge bowl of popcorn (with m&ms in it of course) because you'd never watch a good movie without popcorn, right? Mr. Jacobs, I love your work. ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving it 3 1/2 stars. It's a good book for what it is, a quick easy read with a sci-fi twist. A kid with extra digits also has extra powers, which he's used to protect to the detriment of others.
Kate Crowe
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great voice, interesting situations and a compelling plot. Really enjoyed this more than I thought I would.
Terry Borchard
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun & unique read

Always nice to stumble across a fresh subject. This one - though a young adult - kept me engrossed from start to finish.
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book review -lillie may 1 1 Nov 03, 2017 06:15AM  
The Twelve Fingered Boy By John Jacobs 1 5 Dec 16, 2014 06:59AM  

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John Hornor Jacobs, is an award-winning author of genre bending adult and YA fiction and a partner and senior art director at a Little Rock, Arkansas advertising agency, Cranford Co. His first novel, Southern Gods, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Excellence in a First Novel and won the Darrel Award. The Onion AV said of the book, “A sumptuous Southern Gothic thriller steeped in the disti ...more

Other books in the series

The Twelve-Fingered Boy Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Shibboleth (Incarcerado, #2)
  • The Conformity (Incarcerado, #3)

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