If one thing, other than the looks, can sell me on a book I've never heard anything about, it's the quotes by authors I like. So one look at the glowing praise for Rotters and I was sold:
"Grueling, demented, and so crammed with noxious awesomeness that I had to read it twice."
SCOTT WESTERFELD, Leviathan and Uglies
"A strongly written tale of adolescence, grave robbing, and the mysteries of death, ROTTERS is uncompromising, dark, and true."
GUILLERMO DEL TORO, Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, The Strain
& CHUCK HOGAN, The Town, The Strain
"This is an unforgettable book. An unforgettable character. And an adventure that leads to unforgettable horror. I loved it."
"Profoundly affecting and deeply disturbing, ROTTERS kept me reading to the wee hours of the morning. A multi-layered, complex novel that pulls no punches. Terrific!"
RICK YANCEY, The Monstrumologist
Upon the untimely death of his mother, Joey is sent to live with the mysterious father he didn't know existed prior to her demise. He smells awful, has a dumpy house with no place for Joey to sleep, no food and promptly disappears for three days and leaves him to fend for himself penniless. More horrors await at his new school where he is immediately picked as the new to-be-bullied candidate by not only the tough kids but by the most god-awful biology teacher ever. Starving, bullied and desperately close to the edge Joey thinks he's hit rock bottom. Until he discovers his fathers darkest secrets. Steeped in history though it might be, grave robbing is not generally considered a rite of passage, but for Joey it will be.
This was truly the best horror novel I've read in a long time. YA or Adult. It was equal parts enthralling and appalling with lots of truly gross details and unspeakable acts. Mixed in was the story of a teenager just trying to make it through the almost equally horrific high school, and his relationship with his father who couldn't be more different from him if he'd come from another planet.
Gruesome but full of historical antidotes and details, I wasn't sure if I was repulsed by the grave robbery or if I was fascinated with it. The fact that the horror of the story encompassed so much more than just the simple act of grave robbing was what really made this book notable. Honestly, I was pretty sure I was never going to find a fictional teacher I disliked as much as Umbridge- until I met Joey's Biology teacher. His appalling abuses of Joey and his more than secure position in the town was an entire Horror story in and of itself.
Although I have yet to brave The Monstrumologist and it's sequel The Curse of the Wendigo (the hubby gave me dire warnings of it's uber descriptive goriness, with some of the nastiest bits read to me while I was eating, ugh), I would have to say this book was likely made possible by it's success. A horror story far surpassing the YA horrors that have come before them, Rick Yancy and Daniel Kraus are embarking on an all new genre of their own, one that doesn't pander to teens by throwing in requisite side love stories, or fluffing past gory subject matter. These books are that missing stepping stone between YA and Stephen King and other adult horror novelists. I expect teens everywhere to be joyful about publishers finally deeming them up to the challenge.
Thanks to the Sharp Agency, for my beautiful signed copy.
Rotters, by Daniel Kraus
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, April 2011
Check out Daniel Kraus's website
Buy Rotters on Amazon