Review: Rotters by Daniel Kraus

ROTTERS by Daniel Kraus
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (April 5, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385738579
Source: Publisher (HC)
Rating: YYYY

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 always favor a book that dances on the edge of darkness and embraces the macabre, a story I cannot easily wash away with another read and I had my wish over flowing with ROTTERS by Daniel Kraus.

ROTTERS is the most unusual story showcasing an unforgettable male protagonist, Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old that had avoided being noticed his entire life. Then his mother dies and everything changes for him. He is sent to live with a father he has never met before and whom is secretive and reclusive. This fact comes to haunt and follow him as he enters a new school and his life of living below the radar becomes of thing of the past. He becomes the social pariah of the school. This becomes too much for Joey whom in turn unleashes his pent up anger and frustration upon his dad, but where most stories might support a deeper canyon in their relationship abyss, it actually brings them strangely together. How this all comes to pass is what gives this story it's unique and creepy edge and soon you encounter characters that make you cringe and squirm.

ROTTERS is not meant for the squeamish or for those looking for a quirky story wrapped up in a neat little bow, it will never be showcased on the Hallmark channel. This book is dark and terrifying, delving into a world that is full of secrets and unfathomable horrors with the most unconventional of relationships and unforgettably disturbed characters that you will ever encounter.

It has been weeks since I read ROTTERS and was left wishing for cremation upon my demise but I can look back upon this novel and appreciate what Daniel Kraus has created. This is not a book that I can easily recommend to just anyone because it is wickedly disturbing, but if you can welcome a different kind of story that makes you shudder at the taboo of it's core and still fall easily to sleep at night then you should give it a try.

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