Review of Gentlemen by Michael Northrop
Micheal, Tommy, Mixer, and Bones aren’t just from the wrong side of the tracks–they’re from the wrong side of everything. No one at their high school takes them seriously, except for Mr. Haberman, their remedial English teacher. Mr. Haberman calls them “gentlemen,” but everyone else ignores them–or, in Bones’s case, is dead afraid of them. When one of their close-knit group goes missing, the clues all seem to point in one direction: to Mr. Haberman. Gritty, fast-paced, and brutally real, this debut takes an unflinching look at what binds friends together–and what can tear them apart. (From Amazon.ca)
The first thing that got my attention was, the protagonist. It’s being told by a point of a view of a guy. But not just any guy. Most of the male characters I’ve read in the majority of YA literature are..let’s say sugar coated. They’re there to attract the girl readers and make us into fan girls. (Yes, it’s true. I have several crushes on some of them). In this case, it’s different. Micheal (main character) is, acts, well, like a normal guy. The way he talks, the way he tries to get a girlfriend, his behavior with his friends and his attitude towards school, all of it is so realistic and well written. His friends are equally the same way so this part of the book, I thought was good.
Getting onto the plot is a different story. First, the pace is a little slower than I thought. Also if you’re looking for a super thriller, you won’t find it here. There’s really nothing thrilling or suspenseful about it. Which is disappointing as I was expecting something that packed a punch or at least with something that has a shocking twist. There were also several mini plots throughout the book and none of them contributed to the plot whatsoever. One that particularly irked me was Micheal’s internet moments. He periodically checks back to see if he gets any responses from a potential girlfriend, and what this has to do with anything is beyond me. I thought it was terribly pointless and a page filler, which does nothing to advance the main plot.
The ending climax is, well anti climactic. Tommy’s end result wasn’t anything special and you’re left wondering if you’ve read the entire book for nothing. However, there’s one particular moment when the students confront Haberman, the mood and tension between all of them was well written and felt. Otherwise, once the mood is over, everything just seems to come back to normal again. It’s frustrating as some parts of the story was good and some of the writing is well done but the plot could have used a lot of work.
The cover was a job well done, but I don’t know if the book is really worth a read. It is pretty short so it can be covered in one sitting but it ends up being frustrating because with such an anti climactic ending, you feel as if you wasted your time. I’d say take it or leave it. Your choice.
I give it a 6 out of 10.