Lisa is Busy Nerding's Reviews > Gentlemen

Gentlemen by Michael Northrop
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Mar 19, 11

Read on March 18, 2011

in a sentence or so: Micheal, Tommy, Mixer and Bones are that group of rough-around-the-edges, nothing goes right for them, and quite frankly a bit scary type of guys. when Tommy goes missing in the middle of the school day, they assume he got detention for flipping his desk in class. but then when their english teacher starts stirring up some seriously intense discussion over the next few days, their minds start to wonder if Tommy missing, or something more...

Mixer is the one who can read others moods. he can smooth out a potentially hairy situation, or he can screw with someone without giving them cause for retaliation. Bones is the hothead with a history of beating the snot out of people and packs an overall dodgey past. Micheal is normal enough, except for that messed up left eye of his and unfortunately misspelled name. Tommy was the one who brought them all together; the common thread. he complimented each of their quirks with his own brand of balance. it isn't necessarily unusual for Tommy to go missing - he's done that before. but what is unusual is their English teacher, Mr. Haberman, brings in a barrel with unknown contents the same afternoon that Tommy falls off the radar. a barrel that's really heavy. a barrel with contents that Mr. Haberman won't reveal. Micheal starts to wonder why Mr. Haberman is having such bizarre discussions with them in class about murder, guilt, and accomplices. and why is Mr. Haberman gone on the day that the police come by to investigate Tommy's disappearance?

the three boys try to piece together what happened to Tommy while skirting around their suspicions. these are serious accusations, they realize, but they can't shake the feeling that something is going on that they can't quite figure out.

from the very start, i loved Micheal's voice. the first person perspective intensified the emotions and allowed me to connect to the story immediately. flowing between formal quoted dialog and conversational interactions, you become Micheal's confidant in a way and you realize that your position is jaded, you're getting more information than you know what to do with (just like Micheal), but at the same time maybe you're not getting the right pieces of information to put it all together.

Gentlemen is unapologetically gritty and raw. that's not to say that it's intense merely for intensity's sake. the characters and the brief back stories are all necessary and vital to the overall plot development...it's just not pretty. these 15 year old boys have seen a lot in their short lives and being social outcasts certainly isn't helping matters. things don't go their way, things just don't get better, and things don't turn out the way they hope. which, of course, makes for some seriously good literature.

i blew through this book in a night. like i said, i was all about Micheal's voice. so combine that with a mystery, shady back stories, and an incredibly twisty and anxiety-inducing plot...you've got yourself a solid read, my friends.

fave quote: "Grayson raised his eyebrows and made a little whistle sound, which most of us thought was pretty funny. Grayson was the coolest teacher we had, which was kind of like being the best-smelling fart but still." (8-9)

fix er up: i honestly could have read about these boys forever. i think the length was perfect for what Northrop was trying to do, but for real - i want more of Micheal's voice telling me about things.
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