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Twelve [Paperback]

Nick McDonnell
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

8 July 2002
'Can we please all stand and have a moment of silence for those students who died. And can we now have a moment of silence for those who killed them.'Nick McDonell's electrifying novel tells the story of a fictional drug called Twelve and its devastating effects on the beautiful rich and desperate poor of New York City. A bleak Manhattan midwinter and a group of wealthy teenagers, left to their own devices by disregarding parents, delve into the excesses of drugs, sex and the most chilling acts of violence imaginable. Hunter - falsely accused of murder after a fight on the basketball courts; White Mike - a straight-A student who makes a fortune selling illegal substances; Laura - gorgeous but obsessed with a fabulous new designer drug called 'twelve'; and Claude - whose trips into the shadier corners of Chinatown have fuelled a macabre fascination with deadly weapons. From page one, this novel pulsates towards its apocalyptic climax. Cool and cruel and utterly compulsive, TWELVE is the d?but novel of 2002.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; paperback / softback edition (8 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843540711
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843540717
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,056,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'For once, the hype… is all true. McDonell has a brilliant ear for dialogue and a poetically concise prose style.’ -- Edward Smith, Sunday Telegraph

McDonell's writing is consistently brilliant. Every subtle, thought-provoking poetic moment in this novel fits on top of the last' -- Scarlett Thomas, Independent on Sunday

Twelve captures the spirit of a generation in a way seldom seen since Catcher In The Rye... poetic, sexy, unsettling’ -- Gary Flockhart, Scotland Online

‘A small masterpiece’ -- Germaine Greer, BBC Newsnight Review, July 02

‘Nick McDonell is the real thing… I’m afraid that he will do for his generation what I did for mine.’ -- Hunter S. Thompson

About the Author

Nick McDonell is seventeen years old and was born in New York City. The son of two American writers, he is presently in his final year at high school and is a sometime male model.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
WHITE MIKE IS thin and pale like smoke. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Less than zero" 15 years on 16 July 2002
By A Customer
I enjoyed this book as I read it, though over time I realise how little effect it's actually had on me. On picking this up I found it hard to put down - and read the whole book in 3 sittings. It reads well and is entertaining - with a choppy, cut-up style and some interesting characters. He writes with a good turn-of-phrase and you get a good feel for the types of people and places he portrays.
However, if you've read 'Less than zero' or (dare I say it!) seen Beverly Hills 90210 (!) you'll be familiar with the themes (obviously given here on a far harsher scale) - i.e. screwed up rich kids with too much cash and not enough love. The 'apocolyptic' ending is no surprise at all.
If I was 17 and I'd written this I'd be very proud (come to think of it if I'd written it at all at any age I'd be pretty chuffed!) It's ultimately an enjoyable read and I'll read reviews of his next one with interest now that that 'difficult' first 'semi-autobiographical' (which it seems quite heavily to be) novel is out of the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good story but well-trodden ground 21 Nov 2008
There's no denying that this is a well-written story, and pretty funny in places. White Mike's perspective is biting and satirical about the society he's found himself in - rich Manhattan, full of spoilt, vacuous brats. The characters are fairly well drawn and I thought the author pulled off flitting between different perspectives very well. Even the frankly bizarre ending was somehow forgivable with all that had gone before.

However, I did also get the feeling of this being well-trodden ground. I know that originality is hard, if not impossible, but there's a heck of a lot of stuff written in this vein, and I don't know what this adds to that. My feeling is that it's not really about being rich, or about drugs, or about weapons, or... well... anything. Hunter S. Thompson gives it high accolades - `Nick McDonell is the real thing... I'm afraid that he will do for his generation what I did for mine.' I enjoyed the book, but I have no such fear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A class of it's own. 2 Jun 2007
To be gripped by a book in such a way is rare; this book left my hand three times between the first and last pages - the second being a dire need for sleep.

Nick Mcdonell weaves a vignette-esque route through the lives of several young adults brought together by the very human emotions we all, at one time or another, experience. His ability to flip between registers is remarkable in one so young, and serves as a great compliment to the scenarios his characters involve themselves in.

I could go on, but truly the only thing i need to say is: read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By lucie
i really enjoyed this book. It is the only book i have read more than twice, I've read it 4 times since i got it, as i dont think Mc Donnell has written another, this being his debut. It is superb, really skilled story telling. completely engrossing.
Love the way it builds up to the ending.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A progressive "post-adolesence" novel 30 Jun 2003
I read this book after a review in GQ magazine and found that despite it's length and drugs-orientated plot it is an effective novel. Ok, it's not The Catcher in the Rye but I believe that it's short chapters and simple plot will pave the way for the next cult teenage novel, this is the first 21st century attempt to sum up life for a teenager, to explore feelings and the ways in which we are all caught between the life we lead and the way in which we aren't necessarily happy with this life. The book falls short of having a big impact on the reader because McDonell tries to work a simple plot involving drugs and aspirations in a small teenage society together with his main character's thoughts in a short space of time. The effect this has is to leave the reader, having finished the book, unsure of the characters and with only a skeletal knowledge of their traits. On the other hand what we do learn is enough to make the book work and not become a failed attempt at a novel by a young writer.
Overall, if you enjoy post-adolesence novels like The Catcher in the Rye then you should read this book for an indication of what is to come in this genre.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars nice work 9 Sep 2002
By I. J. Mclachlan VINE VOICE
it's well crafted and written in a careful, spare style. it tackles Easton Ellis type themes - rich kids who don't know what to do with themselves and are alienated from society by remote parents and by having too much of everything. contains some thoughtful observations. the author is much more comfortable with his male characters than his female ones - overall, he clearly doesn't think much of his girls who are thick, manipulative, and mentally confused. the ending was a slight cop out. it's a very readable book and a wonderful achievement for such a young writer, but the terrain is one we've seen before, and the author brought more style than novelty to it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Children of the Revolution Will Not Want It. 22 Feb 2004
The commonest comparison for McDonell's precocious debut has been Brett Easton Ellis' "Less than Zero", probably since they both use the same device of narrating different episodes from the points of view of their various different characters. Also, like Ellis, McDonell seems to be attempting to find something of existential significance in the everyday - his popcultural references are certainly bang up-to-date. But there's a debt owed here to Jay McInerney's "Bright Lights, Big City" - which in turn borrowed the whole idea of an aimless everyman from Salinger's seminal "Catcher in the Rye". The writing is sharp enough to make the plot engaging but it can come across as a little contrived at times and feels like McDonell is trying just a bit too hard to ape a specific narrative voice: that of the world-weary youth who sees an essential emptiness in modern living. So while it's not as accomplished as the soundbitten hype would have you believe, neither is it as bad as some of the understandably disappointed reviewers have ended up feeling. It'll be interesting to see what he comes up with next.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Still waters run deep
Professional circumstances forced me to read this novel, and I must say I wasn't very keen on doing yet another book about drugs, parties and misguided youth. Read more
Published on 21 Feb 2012 by Wolfgang
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quick Read
I was drawn into picking up this book. A book written by an 17 year old about a 17 year old drug dealer. Read more
Published on 8 Dec 2011 by Emma
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating
I really enjoyed this book. It was different and it was open. I'm actually surprised that this book doesn't have more higher rated reviews. Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2011 by Stepping Out of the Page
4.0 out of 5 stars Proper job
Brett Easton Ellis' planet obviously; but more realistic; and under it all a proper, serious novel with proper, serious and engaging characters - some, but not all, of whom come to... Read more
Published on 13 Nov 2009 by Mr. David Cheshire
5.0 out of 5 stars Unorginal, but brilliant
By now we're all familiar with the spoilt little ultra-rich kids of America with their superficial little lives that revolve around drugs and getting laid. Read more
Published on 18 Sep 2009 by Stephen Newton
5.0 out of 5 stars wow!
I just finished this book and felt I had to review it. It's gripping, honest and utterly thrilling. Brilliant!
Published on 8 Jun 2008 by Mrs. N. L. Gill
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and shocking
I ended up reading this book very quickly because I just couldn't put it down. The whole thing is so real that it almost hurts. Read more
Published on 19 Sep 2006 by Kate
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best
As for myself, I would actually consider me as being a fan of Fantasy and Science-Fiction. However, as I opened the first page of the life of White Mike at Christmas a few years... Read more
Published on 20 April 2006 by Jonathan Oscar
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
This is one of those books that really impacts you, you find yourself thinking about it weeks after you've read it. Read more
Published on 11 April 2006
4.0 out of 5 stars Maichan's review
First I was really shocked about the book "Twelve", because I'm in the same age like the characters in the novel. Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2005 by Maichan
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