The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
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A Kirkus Prize nominee with five starred reviews! A New York Times bestseller!
Named one of the best books of 2017 by NPR and the New York Public Library!
"The queer teen historical you didn’t know was missing from your life.”—Teen Vogue
"A stunning powerhouse of a story."—School Library Journal
"A gleeful romp through history."—ALA Booklist
A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi Lee—Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.
Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.
Smart, Unpredictable, Cute, and Amazingly Fun
(Not entirely spoiler-free, but I'll do my best to keep them to a minimum.) At first, I thought I knew exactly what this would turn out to be, and I still was confident in these thoughts up until the chapter in which Monty faces the first set of consequences for what he did in Versailles and is separated from Lockwood. That's not to say I thought it would be boring - I just assumed it would be a few chapters in each city, with a different hilarious scandal in each new locale, and a romance that developed in the background, hampered by a third wheel that gets in the way. How wrong I was.
When the traveling young adults are separated from Lockwood, you can almost feel the author's excitement as she suddenly gets to the real story. What follows is a series of unexpected twists, wherein the genre even seems to change a few times, but not in a way that suggests disorganization whilst plotting the story - Rather it all feels natural. A manhunt in the aftermath of the initial escape from the Duke, a mystery of sorts as the trio attempts to piece together the story of the Lazarus Key, and an adventurous, swashbuckling, pirate-filled romp across the ocean.
Speaking of the "At Sea" portion of the book - This is when it really gets good. Not that the rather unexpected betrayal in Barcelona wasn't amazingly well-executed, of course... But when the trio ends up stowing away on a ship and then being seized by pirates, a new sense of tension, adventure, and badassery enters the story. While the book ends rather abruptly, it certainly goes out on a high note and with quite a bang... No pun intended... Ahem...
And, there's Felicity, who is one of the best parts of the book. I could go on and on about her, but I'd rather not spoil it. I'll just say: She is brilliantly intelligent, and there is much more to her than meets the eye. She's outsmarted her entire family and kept a few secrets of her own from them for years. I'm glad that, by the end, she and Monty have reached a sort of understanding and are, for lack of a better word, friends (Although they'd both deny it).
The romance between Percy and Monty was done exceptionally well. The author captured the feelings of pining after a friend of the same gender better than I think anyone else ever has.... Not that too many authors write books about it, but the point still stands! It's truly realistic. It's ugly at times, beautiful at times, tense, confusing, adorable, and makes Monty want to tear his hair out most of the time. The final resolution to that plot arc is one that will surely satisfy the reader, even though it took it's time getting there.
Overall, the book was sometimes hilarious, sometimes extremely tense, sometimes romantic, always intriguing, fun, smart, relatable, and unpredictable, and occasionally quite sharp-tongued. Monty is characterized fantastically, and he performs his role as narrator extremely well. The book was everything I'd hoped for and more, and while I wish for a sequel, I also understand that the story is resolved and I believe that it couldn't have ended in a more satisfying way.
Still, though, I wonder what happened to Felicity... Did she take the offer she was given, or not? Other than that, everything was tied up and put to rest fantastically.
- Level: Grades 8 and Above
- Category: Romance
- Published: Jun 27, 2017
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Seller: HarperCollins
- Print Length: 528 Pages
- Language: English