Monday, May 6, 2013

ARC Review: Rotten

Rotten by Michael Northrop, April 1, 2013. 256 pages. Published by Scholastic. Source: Book Tour (arrived too late).
A troubled teen. A rescued Rottweiler. An unlikely friendship.
Jimmer "JD" Dobbs is back in town after spending the summer "upstate." No one believes his story about visiting his aunt, and it's pretty clear that he has something to hide. It's also pretty clear that his mom made a new friend while he was away---a rescued Rottweiler that JD immediately renames Johnny Rotten (yes, after that guy in the Sex Pistols). Both tough but damaged, JD and Johnny slowly learn to trust each other, but their newfound bond is threatened by a treacherous friend and one snap of Johnny's powerful jaws. As the secrets JD has tried so hard to keep under wraps start to unravel, he suddenly has something much bigger to worry about: saving his dog.
First Sentence:
The bus heading down from upstate says Peter Pan on the side.

While I was reading Rotten, I couldn't help but think every few pages that the dog, Johnny, was going to bite somebody. Seriously, it was like the first (and only time) I watched the movie Soul Surfer; you know it’s going to happen but you just don’t know when. So, even though the book is as much about JD as Johnny, you can easily guess that the dog stole all of my concern and attention.

While I generally liked Rotten and how it was about second chances, I did not care for JD one iota. What really kept me from liking him as a character was his attitude throughout the book. But what really bother me, other than his attitude, was that it felt like he used his interest in heavy metal as an excuse for that way he acted. Now, it could have just been the way I saw it, but I find it very hard to care about characters that needlessly get into fisticuffs and who seem unable to take responsibility for their actions.
     So, even though on a whole I didn't like JD, I did enjoy the way Johnny seemed to have softened him up a little. It was nice to see that he was capable of being a decent person.

The one thing I really enjoyed about Rotten would have to be that as the story progressed and things started going downhill for Johnny you got to see a different side of JD. It was interesting to see how much both Johnny and JD benefited from being with each other; I really liked that as the bond between JD and Johnny deepened you begin to see that they both were not such bad characters.

Now, I don’t do this often, but when things were looking there bleakest for poor Johnny…I cheated and checked out the ending. I had to know if the poor guy was going to survive being accused of being vicious after he bit someone. While I may feel a little guilt over reading the last chapter while I was still in the middle of the book, I regret nothing because seeing how it played out help to keep me from setting the book aside. I guess what I’m trying to convey is that what I liked least about Rotten was that there was a strong shot that something bad was going to happen to the dog.

Final Verdict: Rotten, an interesting tale about second chances.

Rotten earns 3.75 out of 5 pineapples.

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