Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gentelmen by Michael Northrop

Micheal is not cool. It's hard to be taken seriously when your own parents don't spell your name right on the birth certificate. His friends Mixer, Tommy and Bones are also losers who are either ignored at school or instill fear in their fellow classmates. Mr. Haberman, their remedial English teacher who is Boring and Weird, is the only one who pays any attention to them and always refers to them as "gentlemen."But when one of the group members mysteriously goes missing, suspicion turns to Mr. Haberman as the boys search for clues and meanings from his class lectures and strange behavior.

First, can we take a second to admire the creepy factor of the cover? That boy is in a body bag. I know - AWESOME.

Right from the get go this story pulled me in. Micheal is a great narrator; he's simple and self-deprecating, but honest and clever. His voice is distinct and somewhat gritty but in a way that feels very age appropriate. Through his eyes we see the unfolding of some bizarre behavior coming from people who surround Micheal, and the author is able to convey this strangeness very simply and convincingly. He weaves in the story of Crime and Punishment, a book Micheal & Gang are studying in English, in a creative way that I quite enjoyed without actually copying the storyline from C&P. The story kept me guessing, right along with Micheal, and until the very end I had no idea how it would turn out.

It was a quick and enjoyable read, partially because it's so unlike other books I've read, and partially because Micheal was such a fascinating character to get to know. Two thumbs up!

Book source: Local library.

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