BookPage Teen Top Pick, July 2017
Jumping from country to country across 18th-century Europe, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue follows a bisexual lad on a raucous adventure of self-discovery.
Henry “Monty” Montague was lucky enough to be born into one of England’s wealthy noble families, and now that he’s come of age, it’s time to make his grand tour across the Continent. It’s a year-long trip he’s assuming will be nothing but fun times, fast love and excessive libations with his biracial best friend (and secret love) Percy—until his unforgiving father saddles them with Monty’s boring sister, Felicity, and a killjoy tutor employed to keep them in line. Nevertheless, while attending a royal party in Paris, Monty insults and steals from the former prime minister, disgracing his family name.
As punishment for wasting his last chance to redeem himself, Monty and his motley crew are ordered home, but their carriage gets attacked by highwaymen with ties to the French crown. Once they escape, Monty, Percy and Felicity must learn about themselves, each other and the world around them to survive a trip that’s become far more than they bargained for.
Award-winning author Mackenzi Lee adeptly addresses vital themes in her historical novel, including women’s rights, racial biases, domestic abuse and LGBTQ struggles—issues that today’s society is still struggling with. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is such a stellar piece of young adult fiction that it could easily entertain the adult reader as well.
Justin Barisich is a freelancer, satirist, poet and performer living in Atlanta. More of his writing can be found at littlewritingman.com.