By (author) Nick McDonnell


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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 debut novel of 2002.

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  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 20mm | 240.41g
  • 15 May 2003
  • London
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 184354072X
  • 9781843540724
  • 207,735

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Author Information

Nick McDonell is seventeen years old and was born in New York City. He attends Harvard University.

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Review quote

Twelve is "a beautifully tragic and unsettling story ... a reminder of how engrossing a character-driven novel can, and should, be"

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Review text

17-year-old Nick McDonell's debut novel centres around White Mike, an upper-class drug dealer, and the days just after Christmas leading up to a New Year's Eve party destined to go down in history for all the wrong reasons. For this is New York City, and the bored, ultra-rich teenagers who roam free with seemingly no parental guidance are jaded and tough, fed a steady diet of Camus, cynicism and concealed weapons. Hunter is a nice kid who likes to play basketball in Harlem. Jessica is an athlete, popular and self-confident. Molly and Tobias are models. Sara is beautiful and famous not only in her school but all the surrounding private boarding academies. Chris and Claude's parents are never home, so their parties are legendary. Timmy and Mark are two white boys desperate to be black. Andrew's a quiet guy who has enough connections to save him from total obscurity. All these kids need White Mike's assistance at some point or another, never more so than for some Twelve, a new drug unlike anything they've ever experienced before. When at last they all come together on New Year's Eve, the drugs come out. And then the guns. McDonell has the bold and confident voice of a teenager, and his characters are clearly well known to him, as is their way of life, their speech and their conduct. However, the sheer number of characters proves a burden as, aside from White Mike, only the barest of surfaces is scratched before hastily moving on the next character's brief sketch and relevance to the plot. For all the vibrant attitude and gritty realism, the novel's not quite three-dimensional enough. Comparisons have already been made with Bret Easton Ellis, and the climactic party scene is admittedly reminiscent of Less Than Zero. But this is a new generation of wasted youth, the younger siblings of Ellis's coked up late '80s kids, inheritors of false corporate social responsibility, political correctness and September 11th. Once McDonell polishes and focuses his narrative, he'll be an important voice for the 21st-century generation drowning in a sea of drugs and guns. (Kirkus UK)

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