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3.40  ·  Rating details ·  630 ratings  ·  54 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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Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  630 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 ended up set ...more
Feb 01, 2012 rated it liked it
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: realism, ya, coming-of-age
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.

Alex  Baugh
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-2
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
Nov 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out as a "poor town boy meets rich summer girl" story. There was a bit of class tension, but nothing really serious. Then it took a turn. Someone accuses Buddy's grandfather, who he only recently met, of having been a guard at Auschwitz in WWII. Buddy doesn't want to believe it, and he has to try to stand up for him against the rest of the town.

Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-books
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, I'll
Anna Bowling
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Classic poor boy/rich girl love story (not a romance) meets coming of age tale, with an undercurrent of history. In 1970s Long Island, blue collar Buddy falls in love with the decidedly upper-crust Skye Pennington, which leads to clashes with his class-conscious parents, and sends him searching for his mysterious German immigrant grandfather, who opens his eyes to a new way of life. Grandpa Trenker takes Buddy in hand, teaching him how to dress, pour wine, and plan out his future. Grandpa Trenke ...more
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 f
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a child and it always stuck with me . Thanks to google I was able to find out what the book was. I remembered reading about a boy who’s grandfather was accused of being an SS officer. Reading this book now as an adult it is filled with so many lessons and is much bigger than a boy getting to know his grandfather without really knowing him at all. The main part of this story is the fact that Buddy is falling in love with the idea of his summer crush and he will stop at nothing ...more
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 01, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lamesauce
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
The love story was bad but the Grandfather and Gentlehands part was interesting
Nov 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
Hate, hate, hate this book. Very predictable plot; flat characters; cheesy.
May 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
More like 1.5 stars.


Okay, so I had to read this for my ninth grade English class this year.... and... I absolutely HATED these characters.
Buddy: I think he is the most bland main character (character in general) I have ever encountered in reading. All I knew about him is that him and his family are low middle class, he works at Sweet Mouth Soda Shoppe, and that he desperate
My son was reading this for his 8th grade English class. He asked if I might read it too, to discuss it with him and help a bit on his book report. It was short and a quick read (for me anyway, still took him a while). I didn't love it but could see how it has historical significance and points to ponder. It was just everything that lead up to that ... the "summer romance" between the poor kid and the rich girl would have been okay, but I just didn't care for Buddy much as a character, as he'd b ...more
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I can't even remember why I read this, except that I must have seen it on some list or other. It's a bit dated. Explores lots of class issues (the townies vs. the summer people), though in a fairly shallow way. But it has interesting themes about whether redemption from horrible deeds in the past is even possible. A quick read, and it moves very quickly. Everything is very surface-y though - not a lot of depth here. Buddy is a bit annoyingly passive in that he just tries to copy/echo other peopl ...more
Sheila TC
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really want to give it 4.5. Remember when it was serialized in a magazine 40 years ago! A good read, but a bit dated.
Jessie Adamczyk
Aug 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Amy Rae
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it
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 h ...more
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.
Jul 24, 2011 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
Moira Ward
Gentlehands, is all about a young man and girl who fall in love, but they come from two completely different families. Buddy the main character, is very shy while Sky who Buddy has a major crush on is very outgoing. But when they finally meet, and fall in love what happens?

I really enjoyed this book, it was a very easy and quick read. I liked the characters a lot and the plot was very interesting. I would recommend this book to any girls because it is mostly about love. This was one of the few
Jan 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: edwards-award
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 O
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-for-work, 2011
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.
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read this book in the 6th grade and I absolutely loved it. A couple of years later, I read Deliver Us From Evie and Gentlehands popped into my mind. The story is easy to follow and I never once wished it would speed up. Definitely a book to read if it's raining/thundering or if you just want a book to get you out of a reading slump.
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, 2011
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.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Love teaching this rich, well-crafted book by Marijane Meaker to 9th graders, which has been almost universally liked since I first included it in the curriculum. Finished it again this October for the sixth or seventh year?
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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. Kerr, Meaker has produ ...more
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