Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Dead Gentleman by Matthew Cody

Finding new books for Guy’s Read is fun, but can be very challenging.  There is a three year, maturity, level; and probably, a seven year reading range.  Therefore, it is hard to find books that most of the guys will enjoy.  That is why I read blogs and spend time in front of the bookcases at The Bookies.  On a recent visit I found a book that will fit most of the readers in our group.  Of course I need to wait for it to come out in paperback.  Besides that it will be perfect.

I’ll be very honest, often I judge the book by the cover.  In other words does it look like something third, fourth, and fifth grade boys will be willing to open and read.  After checking the cover I read the back and the inside flap to see if it catches my interest.  Call me shallow, but it seems to work!  The flap was filled with words like: secret, Explorers, street orphan, mysterious, investigating, and betrayed.  These are the reasons I dropped The Dead Gentleman by Matthew Cody in my book basket.  (Thank god they don’t have shopping carts.)

Tommy Learner, a street orphan from the 19th century; and ends up meeting Jezebel Lemon, a 12 year old girl dealing with her parents divorce, from the 21st century.  They meet in the basement of the apartment building Jezebel calls part time home, and the building Tommy was betrayed in. 

Their meeting sets of an adventure where these two have to save earth and figure out how to travel through time.  Tommy was a street urchin that crossed the wrong “gentleman”.  Through a string of events he ends up in the underwater ship of Captain Scott.  The Captain tells Tommy that Jules Vern based his ship in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea on his ship. 

I’m not going to go into more details of what happens, but instead focus on what I liked.  (I’m stealing this from Ms. Yingling Reads.)  I loved the voice.  It was cool the way one chapter was the author and the next was of Tommy telling the story.  This will make kids think.  The reference to two time periods was exciting and interesting, and once they were together and traveled through the “worm hole” it was hard to put the book down.

Often when a book ends it is easy to tell that there will be a sequel of a series.  Sometimes this is a great way to end a book.  Others it seems to be a copout to coming up with a great ending.  It happens in movies too.  The worst being Star Wars:  Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back.  I mean we knew there was going to be another one, but can’t you do better.  I am not going to do a spoiler, but…..I really liked the end of The Dead Gentleman.  It ended soundly, but could be interpreted that a sequel could happen. 

When it comes out in paperback, and the guys pick it I will let you know what they thought.

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