Saturday, 16 August 2014

Review: Rotten by Michael Northrop

Title: Rotten
Author: Michael Northrop
Release date: April 1st 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: ARC
Pages: 246

Source: Author

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.

Rotten is a book that would appeal to dog lovers everywhere, as well as adolescent readers. It's an interesting story, and I loved the growing affection between JD and Johnny Rotten. There's also a mystery aspect that we don't get to find out much about until later.

JD spent the summer somewhere upstate, no one really knows where. Or what he was doing there. He's actually really mysterious about it all. When he gets back, there are only a few days left for school to begin, and he gets a surprise when he enters the house - his mom got a dog! Johnny Rotten (a.k.a. JR) is a rescue dog, which means he's been treated pretty badly in the past and had to be taken out of that hostile environment. So it's hard for JR to trust people, especially males. But JD and JR soon take to each other, and it's cute to see that. Until of course, something has to go wrong, and JD has to figure out how to save his dog before it's too late.

I really liked the way this book was written - it totally felt like a genuine teenage boy's thoughts. JD's interactions with his friends were especially amusing and pretty awesome, because these guys are legit and realistic teenage boys (despite their reputation). None of that annoyingly perfect/sexy/romantic attitudes that male YA characters all have now. I guess most people would call this a guy book, but really it's a dog book. If you love dogs, you'll love JR.

I wish we'd got to know some things closer to the beginning of the book, though. Maybe a little more information about JD's summer, or how he fell out with his girlfriend. JD and his friends also seem really immature, though maybe that's just to authenticate the teenage guy POV. I did find their jokes and conversations pretty funny, though!

There's a lot here about friendship and compassion, both human and with Johnny Rotten. I really felt for JR, and for JD as well when everything started going wrong. I adore dogs (though I sadly don't have one of my own), and it was cool reading about an adorable misunderstood dog like JR.

*Thank you to Michael Northrop for sending an ARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

1 comment:

  1. Hm, I'm not sure if this book is for me. It doesn't really seem like my type of book... to be honest. The idea seems decent though.

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