Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Review: Rotters by Daniel Kraus


Title:  Rotters
Author:  Daniel Kraus
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Publish Date:  April 5, 2011
Source:  Star Book Tours

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It's true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey's life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.
Everything changes when Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey's father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey's life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.
Daniel Kraus's masterful plotting and unforgettable characters make Rotters a moving, terrifying, and unconventional epic about fathers and sons, complex family ties, taboos, and the ever-present specter of mortality.

My Thoughts:  I have to be honest here, I had no clue what the book was really about.  I mean, I knew it was a little about grave robbers but was not expecting this.  That said, I thought this was a very good book!  Disturbing?  Yes, for sure but so interesting and it involved you right away. 

Joey is your typical high school boy.  He lives with his single mom in Chicago and really has no thought about his dad at all.  Until the day his mom dies.  After the accident, Joey is sent to Iowa to live with his estranged father.  His father, also known as "the Garbage Man" in town lives on the outskirts of town in a small cabin.  Joey immediately notices the stench and the mess.  His father immediately takes off and leaves Joey to his own devices, including starting at a new school.

School life is not easy for Joey.  From they first day, the kids notice the smell that comes off him and when they find out his dad is the "Garbage Man", they make Joey their newest target.  His time at school is spent in misery when even his Biology teacher decides to ridicule him on a daily basis. 

After following his father on one of his outings, Joey figures out what his father is doing and demands to learn as well.  From this point on, Joey's life is in a downward spiral.  He meets many new and unsavory characters along the way and learns things about himself that he never wanted to know.

I loved the diggers!  They were all so well developed and I loved their nicknames.  Baby was the most atrocious character!  He actually made my stomach turn.  The description of Baby was just sickening but so real I could almost smell him!  My favorite diggers besides Harnett (Joey's father) were Lionel and Crying John. 

This book is not for you if you have a weak stomach or are disturbed by death.  It is brutally honest and holds back nothing.  The descriptions of the corpses in their graves are realistic and extremely detailed.  In fact, after reading this book, I'm thinking cremation sounds good!  It was so amazingly interesting though that I couldn't stop reading.  My morbid curiosity won out on this book and I think it completely paid off! 

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