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GENTLEMEN by Michael Northrop


by Michael Northrop

Age Range: 15 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-545-09749-9
Publisher: Scholastic

Underachiever Micheal finds that art imitates life a little too closely when his friend Tommy leaves school in a fit of anger and doesn’t return for days. The timing of Tommy’s disappearance coincides with the beginning of an English class unit on Crime and Punishment. Due to an unusual introduction to the book, Micheal and his friends Bones and Mixer start to believe that their English teacher, Mr. Haberman, is responsible for Tommy’s disappearance and possibly his death. As he reads the book, Micheal cultivates the idea of Haberman’s guilt. In violent Dostoevskyian fashion, the three boys take action against Haberman and are subsequently punished both by prison and guilt. Micheal’s practiced, smart-yet-slacker voice is authentic but also uneven; there are times when the author, not Micheal, is describing his surroundings. A few subplots involving meeting girls and the changing nature of the boys’ friendship add some realism but are ultimately unimportant. The boys’ immediate, assured suspicion of Haberman’s complicity in Tommy’s disappearance is frightening and realistic, but Tommy’s return and his reasons for leaving are a letdown, told and not shown. (Mystery. 15 & up)