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on February 22, 2012
I don't normally read books like this, and decided I would take a chance on it because of the good reviews. After the first chapter I was hooked! The main character Micheal's voice is raw, funny and believable. The conversations between the boys were well written and enjoyable. Although some parts of the book were intense (violence, rape scene) it added to the overall feeling of the book and the lives that these boys lead. The ending is definitely a surprise and leaves you wondering what will happen up until the last chapter. Ultimately this book is raw, but gave proper closure to the reader at the end. Overall, this book made me laugh, think a lot and gave great insight into the book Crime and Punishment. Would highly highly recommend it!!
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on January 31, 2015
Prompt delivery. The book's interior condition was good. There was a scratch on the front cover. I'm satisfied for the most part.
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on April 9, 2013
This book has serious plot changes and lots of bone chilling parts,well written and well done. If you like suspense, this is the book for you.
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on September 15, 2011
I gave this book one star only because it would not let me give it a zero. I bought this book because my son was listening to it in class. It definitely needs a warning on it that there is a rape scene and questionable language with violence. Not really something that should be promoted in schools.
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on December 20, 2009
Gentlemen by Michael Northrop is the story of four friends with trouble in their lives.

Micheal (deliberately misspelled) is the main narrator in this tale. And it's a dark story about the disappearance of their friend Tommy. Micheal and his three friends are not stellar students, they aren't big fans of school, and well they are the kind of kids who sometimes don't end up with the best lives. They are kind of hoodlums in some way, the kind of guys I would have crossed the street to avoid in high school.

When Tommy disappears, the guys have to figure out what happens and well, all the clues seem to be leading back to their despised English teacher, Mr. Haberman. But he couldn't have murdered their friend, right? Micheal may not be the strongest student but he's not stupid and he knows something is up.

This book is about changing friendships and the things that can tear apart friends. Tommy's disappearance is not the worst part of this story, the hardest detail to take in. There is a scene that was to me, a rape, and well, it was to Micheal too though he didn't voice that thought. Then there is Bones, Micheal's brutish friend who has a few secrets of his own.

This was an odd little book. I was compelled to keep reading because I did want to figure out what was going on with Mr. Haberman, Bones, and Tommy, but yet, I was repulsed also. Publisher's Weekly mentioned a sense of dread that permeates this novel and I'd have to agree. I just knew things were going to keep getting worse for these boys.

This is an intense look at changing friendships and well, brutality. I think boys will find this book particularly appealing, or really, any teen who likes a gritty story that will not end well. I wouldn't call this a horror story but at the same time, it was gothic in its narration and content, gothic and twisty. Michael Northrop had me hooked. This is not the best book I've read this year by far but it's also an unusual story that I can see hooking teens in very easy. The cover itself makes you take a double-take because of its body bag image. The back of the cover features a body bag tag too. It fits so well with the story. This is one of the few times when cover and story merge together very well.

I can see this kind of story being a good recommended read for teens who like street lit. It's kind of street lit lite in fact. I will end by saying this is a compelling read. You're going to want to read to the end, that's for sure.
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VINE VOICEon February 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I didn't really know what to expect from this book, but I did enjoy it. It is the third book I've recently read written from the perspective of a teen boy, and I'm an adult female. As much as I know about teen boys, this seemed pretty realistic to me. This story is a quick, interesting read. The first person narrative makes it fly by like listening to a friend relate a story. Not much time is wasted on flowery descriptions of scenery.
Micheal (that's the spelling on his birth certificate) Bones, Mixer and Tommy are in the remedial 10th grade classes at school. The group of four has been tight since grade school, with the exception of Tommy, who came along a couple years ago but fit right in. After getting sent to the office for acting out in class, Tommy leaves school and disappears for several days. He's disappeared before but never this long and the other boys start to suspect foul play. In a stroke of incredibly bad timing, their English teacher, Mr. Haberman, whom they hate, brings a barrel to school filled with mysterious contents. He asks the class to make guesses as to what's in the barrel. This is tied into his teaching of the book Crime and Punishment. Things Haberman says spark the boys' imagination that maybe he killed Tommy and stuffed him in that barrel.

I can't give away the ending, but the boys make some bad decisions that impact their futures and their friendships. Loyalty is tested when one of the four crosses a line and puts them all in jeopardy. You can tell Micheal, the book's narrator, is actually quite bright. I don't want to give away any details, but the way his thoughts process after the crime is committed, I can tell he is both smart and has a conscience. He's really not a bad kid

Another reviewer compared this book to those of S. E. Hinton. I hadn't thought of that, but then again, I read all her books 25 years ago and I did love them at the time. I do see the similarities. Both writers portray underachieving teen boys that have been written off as juvenile delinquents even before they actually become them. But this book doesn't have the same heart. The Outsiders portrayed three kids that were actually brothers and a few others that they treated like brothers. The kids in this book are just really good friends. I don't think they'd go to the same lengths as the boys in The Outsiders.

I recommend this mostly for teen boys, but anyone could enjoy it.
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VINE VOICEon February 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Mr. Haberman is a strange teacher at Tattawa High School in the small town of Soudley. He resorts to unconventional teaching methods in order to maintain his students' attention during tenth grade remedial English. One day, he brings a large blue barrel to class; he asks each student to strike it with a club and guess what is inside by the sound that is produced. A student, Tommy, has gone missing, and his three highly imaginative, overwrought friends begin to suspect that Mr. Haberman killed him and hid his body in the barrel. They embark on an investigation that has tragic consequences for all of them.

"Gentlemen" is a highly suspenseful debut novel from Michael Northrop. He has expertly written a bizarre tale of four troubled friends as told to the reader in the first person by one of them, Mike Benton. Dark and brooding, "Gentlemen" is hard to put down until the mystery of what was in the blue barrel is finally solved.

"Gentlemen" is a sad, depressing commentary on the violence that is perpetrated by today's troubled, youth. It doesn't always occur in large cities, but is happening everywhere, even in small, rural communities. Though it has a shocking, downbeat ending, "Gentlemen" leaves us with some hope. A little guidance, a little patience, and a little love is all these young men need in order to grow into true gentlemen.

Michael Northrop has an extensive writing career that includes: publishing stories and humor for "Weird Tales," "Notre Dame Review," and "McSweeney's;" publishing articles in "Sports Illustrated," "The Morning News" and "People" online; and serving as editor for "Sports Illustrated Kids." He has also moonlighted as a standup comedian, which would explain the dark humor that is prevalent throughout the novel - humor that made me laugh out loud.

"Gentlemen" is highly recommended reading. It is a bizarre, provocative tale that the reader will find hard to forget long after it has been read.
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on April 22, 2010
I found this book to be a very sad tale of unrealized potential and broken spirits. This story is very slow moving and it meanders around quite a bit mostly because it is being told by Micheal, a 15 year old boy put in the remedial class in high school. We get to know him and his three friends as Micheal remembers their elementary school and middle school years together. He can tell you when Bones first lost his spirit and when he himself first got pigeon-holed as a delinquent. The characters here are rich and full of a darker more gritty form of the usual teen angst.

The story solidifies around an english teacher and his teaching of the book Crime and Punishment. This is what hooked me into this story, since I did enjoy reading Crime and Punishment many years ago. The author did a great job of drawing parallels - it really added to the general bleak atmosphere. This story is drawn in shades of grey. It's an interesting book. I wouldn't classify it as a fun read but I can certainly appreciate it for the talented writing. Some may be put off by the incredibly slow pacing of the novel, but I think those who stick it out will be rewarded with plenty to think about.
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on February 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Micheal narrated the story of four boys. 10R, they were tenth-grade remedial students. Micheal felt as though he'd begun his life with "a bad way to start things out" - his name was misspelled on his birth certificate. He'd actually begun high school as an Honors student, but got tired of trying.

The Gentlemen, as they were dubbed by their English teacher, were Micheal, Tommy, Mixer, and Bones. Schoolmates and friends outside of school, they seemed to have average lives before the book begins.

After their math teacher sent Tommy over the edge, probably intentionally, things changed. Their English teacher brought in a barrel to physically explain the idea of An Idea. Then Tommy went missing.

What happened in the following days was horrifying. I was on the edge of my seat, spellbound and appalled. What ultimately happened with Tommy was a total surprise after I thought I couldn't get any more surprises from this book.

The more mature teenagers will really appreciate The Gentlemen. It may be too much for other young adults. That said, the story is told excellently and, with perhaps a bit of input from parents or librarians, belongs in libraries to give this book more access to the kids who will really enjoy it.
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on June 12, 2010
The first time I saw the cover of Michael Northrop's "Gentlemen," I was intrigued. (Isn't Marc Tauss's photo great?) Anyway, I'm very happy it grabbed my eye because this is a book to remember.

Micheal Benton, whose birth certificate bears a misspelling, is a Sophomore whose group of friends is the rough crowd at school. He quit "applying himself," but gets by. At first it's nothing too unusual when one of his friends, Tommy, flips a desk over in math and is sent to the assistant principal. It's also not that unusual when he doesn't show up for English later that day. What is unusual is the behavior of their English teacher, Mr. Haberman. Why is he employing a sudden hands-on approach, bringing a barrel with mysterious contents into the lesson? And as days go by without any word from Tommy, Mr. Haberman's lectures on Crime and Punishment sound like clues pointing to a sinister act.

I loved Micheal Benton's consistent and humorous voice; the book is written in first person and it works. Although he's only meant to be 15, he seemed older to me-especially by the end. This is a different kind of book; I haven't read anything like it. It's far from a commentary on troubled teens. Gentlemen has a unique plot line, which while it takes a little to get into, wowed me in the end. It's the type of book that leaves you thinking through the story in your head again, discovering new things. The book lives up to its premise and I'm proud to own a copy.
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