Monday, June 06, 2011

Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Joey Crouch was a sheltered kid, if one can be sheltered in Chicago. He is very attached to his mother and fears for her life daily. His life gets flipped upside down when she is hit by a bus and Joey is sent to live with the father he has never even heard of. Ken Harnett doesn't know what to do with his new son and Joey has to attend a new school, Bloughton High. But school isn't any better, Joey is bullied, used as a specimen in biology and still gets straight A's. Determined to find out the source of Harnett's horrible smell and local nickname "The Garbageman," Joey climbs in the back of his truck with a camera and follows Harnett to a job. Then it is revealed that Ken Harnett is a grave robber. Eager to make something of himself in a place where everyone wishes he wasn't there, Joey and his father come to an understanding and Joey starts learning the family business.

Rotters is a very dark novel but it doesn't end as darkly as I thought it would at the beginning. It seems well researched and smart. The characters are surprising but relatable; everyone has faced the type of rejection Joey has. The book's major overarching themes are family and mortality. It's a new view of the outsider storyline without the typical ending. Rotters is an unusual and absorbing coming of age story that anyone (who can stand to be grossed out a bit) would enjoy.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Sterling Heights, MI United States