Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gentlemen by Michael Northrop

New to the Moore Memorial Public Library Young Adult collection is Gentlemen by Michael Northrop. The story is centered on four boys, who are known for their bad behavior. Growing up in a small town, Mike (the narrator), Tommy, Bones, and Mixer, are largely ignored and reviled at their high school and among the community. They spend their school days hating their remedial classes and most of their teachers and peers. They are outcast and constantly reminded of this fact.

The story quickly grows suspenseful when one of the boys, Tommy, who was kicked out of class for tossing a desk, goes missing. Around the same time of this event, the remaining three boys also notice their English teacher, Mr. Haberman, begins to act strangely. The combination of these two events allows the boy’s minds to draw wild conclusions as they try to figure out what happened to Tommy. Northrop creates a story that is both suspenseful and deftly communicates the bonds of adolescent friendship in his writing.

Gentleman is an easy read, as it is written like Mike is talking directly to you as he tells the tale. Crime and Punishment, which Haberman is teaching in his class, is referenced throughout the story; however, the reader doesn’t necessarily need to know this classic to be gripped by the plot and taken in by the suspense. Some of the language and content may be a little harsh for younger readers.

Gentlemen is Northrop’s first novel. He has published short fictional works in Weird Tales, McSweeney’s, and the Norte Dame Review. His second Young Adult novel, Trapped, will be out soon.

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