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3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  457 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Buddy Boyle lives year-round with his family in unfashionable Seaville, New York, in a cramped little house on the bay. Skye Pennington spends the summers nearby on lavish estate complete with ocean view and a butler named Peacock.But Skye and Buddy fall in love anyway. And every once in a while they visit Buddy's estranged grandfather, who makes them forget they're from o ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 8th 2001 by HarperTeen (first published April 1st 1978)
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Unsung YA
11th out of 74 books — 77 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 720)
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Mar 13, 2009 Devon rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Gentlehands would have been so much better if it was actually about Gentlehands, and not about Buddy. Buddy was boring. Skye got on my nerves. Everything annoyed me. And they had this whole, "HOLY SHIT!" thing going and then just basically ruined. The ending unfolded in like, five minutes. It pisses me offffff. I want the book, over again, from a different perspective. In fact, get rid of Buddy & Skye all together. They're boring and nobody cares. I want to hear about grandpa & the Itali ...more
Alex Baugh
This novel begins like a typical teenage love story. “Buddy” William Raymond Boyle is a 16 year old boy from a lower middle class family, living in a small village near Montauk, Long Island, NY, where his father is the local policeman. Buddy works part time in a soda shop for a pot-head named Kick Richards, where he sees Skye Pennington whenever she comes into the shop. Skye is the daughter of an oil mogul, who summers with her family at their beachfront estate. Attracted by Buddy’s good looks a ...more
Aug 22, 2013 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any teenager
Recommended to Jason by: Mrs. Maury, 8th grade English teacher
I first read this in 8th grade English class, probably around April or May of 1992. About 3 or 4 years ago I remembered it, and scoped it out online. Being poor it went on my "to get" list on Amazon, and stayed there until last week when I needed to get one more thing to qualify for super saver shipping for some other item, and Gentlehands finally made it to the shopping cart, and got checked out. When it got here, I opened it just to read the first page or so to see how I would like it, and I e ...more
Oh, boy. The thing I find truly useful about this book is its exploration of the heavy themes of the Holocaust without being a "Holocaust book." Written at a time (1978) when one's grandfather could have been a Nazi strongman in a concentration camp, the story doesn't center on the terrible things Buddy's grandfather might have done -- instead, the focus is on Buddy, trying to find his way as a blue-collared "townie" in love with a super-rich girl outside of Montauk, New York.

Without spoiling,
Feb 01, 2012 Lynne rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young people interested in WWII, people who are not put off by ambiguous endings
Recommended to Lynne by: a university professor, years ago; just now got around to it
Shelves: coming-of-age, ya, realism
4 stars for thematic elements, 3 for the execution thereof.

Can a person be redeemed of past actions by present good deeds? Are there some events or actions that are simply unforgivable?

The protagonist and we the readers are left to decide that for ourselves.

Jun 11, 2010 P rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
I know my colleagues are sick of this one, but the kids still LOVE it! It does seem dated, but unfortunately, there is always something in the news to which we can relate it. And I'm a fan of anything that gets kids to read. Kerr does that.
I really enjoyed this book. There's so much happening, that it's hard to classify the story. On the outside, it looks like a teen romance novel that explores class differences. It also talks about drug and alcohol use. Antisemitism, and family communication issues. A mom who won't forgive her father for not being a part of her life, and chooses to ignore him now. Bringing us to the eccentric grandfather, who turns out to be a Nazi war criminal known as Gentlehands.

The story is told from Buddy's
Amy Rae
I've read several M.E. Kerr novels at this point (Night Kites, Deliver Us from Evie, I Stay Near You: One Story in Three, and the different-pen-name-and-age-group-same-person Spring Fire), and Gentlehands is by far the bleakest yet. It's fascinating to see so many of her different tics in play; this is one of her earlier young adult novels, and it seems like she's starting to figure out what she wants to focus on in her stories.

Here are the things that Kerr is interested in, and the way they pla
community speculates old ass man is nazi, mignot is fileted (hahahahhahahaahaha)
Molly Back
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 24, 2011 Tori added it
2003- It was a summer that Buddy Boyle would remember all his life. (One thing that irked me was it was never stated when exactly the book took place!) Anyways, Buddy starts dating a rich girl, Skye Pennington, who summers in his hometown on Long Island. In order to impress Skye, he introduces her to his grandfather, who is pretty much not a part of his family's life. He grows to love his grandfather and spend more and more time with him, something his policeman father and mother (his grandfathe ...more
Billie Greer
I thought the book was profound. My oldest daughter had to read it as a school assignment. She was so moved, she asked me to read it and I was glad I did. I've never forgotten this book!
Edward Choi
It's a very calm, fun book where you can have a rest in between all your hard books you're reading or projects/assignments.
Not too bad. The execution could have used a bit of work, but on the whole I think it handles some difficult themes in a way that's good for Young Adults. I breezed through it in an afternoon, so it was certainly worth the time I put into it.
I wasn't overly impressed with this book. There wasn't really anything wrong with it, but it didn't really feel like much of anything. The relationship between Buddy and Skye was annoying, because Skye was obnoxious, and Buddy was a total wuss who never had anything original to say. Everything he said or did started with someone else's thoughts first. I felt like nothing was really developed throughout the book. The story was here and there, but never really developed. There was no depth to anyt ...more
Kat Mc
So I'm using this one to try to teach some active reading strategies. Uhhh, bad choice. Now I know why most teachers don't bother teaching it to our juniors. What a snooze so far. If you can't hook me in the first 2 chapters, forget it. I'll suffer through though for the sake of the children. Yawn.
Kerr's 1978 novel doesn't age terribly well, but it still hits on some important topics. I felt it could have been more sexually daring, and Buddy's blindness to (view spoiler) should have been played longer by introducing that issue earlier. Still, a good read.
I barely got through it. I almost put it down two times but, each time I just couldn't. I kept hoping that it would get better. Gentlehands is the story of Buddy a teenager who meets his Grandfather and then finds out that his Grandfather isn't what he seems. A Touching and sad story.
Book on CD. It was an interesting story, but I didn't relate well to any of the characters. I like how the main character's feelings were not so cut and dry when he found out the truth about his grandfather, but for all her 'deep' talk the love interest seemed kind of shallow to me.
This book was a quick read. I thought it was an interesting look into a unique moral dilemma and the way that the main character dealt with it. I'd recommend it for a quick - but not light - read. Overall 3 stars.
The book was so bad the teacher told us to stop reading it. Can you imagine? Oh well, maybe it would be better seven years later... I'll never know. Life is too short to read it again.
My in-class independent reading book...

Ok. Family discovers grandfather's secret from WW2; son dates girl from an the upper class. Grudges and tension ensue.
The plot unfurled really slowly and the conflict was kind of hazy and unreal. Overall the story just moved slowly and ended abruptly.
ben holum
Jul 05, 2008 ben holum rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to ben by: Fridley High School
Shelves: fiction
I want to remember as little about this as possible...but I never will be able to erase it completely. What a waste of memory.
Terrific "it-was-the-summer-I-fell-in-love" novel, with some classism issues and a nice big dose of moral ambiguity.
Kind of stupid. Just a 10th grade english assignment from 2009. I wouldn't read it again. Sorry Miss G!
This book is suppose to be about the holocaust, but it was only talked about for about 30 pages.
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M. E. Kerr was born Marijane Meaker in Auburn, New York. Her interest in writing began with her father, who loved to read, and her mother, who loved to tell stories of neighborhood gossip. Unable to find an agent to represent her work, Meaker became her own agent, and wrote articles and books under a series of pseudonyms: Vin Packer, Ann Aldrich, Laura Winston, M. E. Kerr, and Mary James. As M. E. ...more
More about M.E. Kerr...
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