Sunday, March 16, 2014
Book talk: JD comes back from Juvie with only a week left before school starts. He has a lot to do before then: make up with his girlfriend, deflect all questions about where he spent the summer, and above all else make sure that no one ever finds out what he did to get himself arrested. He's had a lot of time to plan what he's going to do, but there was one thing he wasn't expecting. While he was gone, his mom adopted a dog. Not just any dog either, but a big Rottweiler with a past as shady as JD's. His mom called the dog Jon-Jon, but JD knows the perfect name for him: Johnny Rotten.
Rocks my socks: Watching JD and Johnny learn to trust each other and struggle to make things right after their past mistakes was heartwarming. The book was far from saccharine though. JD and his friends aren't exactly model citizens and the tone of the story is true to Johnny's punk rock name. I spent most of the book eagerly flipping the pages because I wanted to find out if Johnny was going to have to be put down. I grew fond of JD as well. His voice sounded authentic and his struggles were all realistically drawn. The supporting characters are well rounded and Northrop avoids facile solutions to the complex problems that arise.
Rocks in my socks: none
Every book its reader: I'd give this to students looking for a realistic fiction book, especially dog lovers. It's more relationship than plot driven, but it has an edge and a humor to it that gives it appeal to a crowd beyond those looking for a sweet dog story. I'd say 7th grade and up.
Michael Northrop has a website with a blog, bio, and more information about his books.
Here's a video all about Rottweilers for those unfamiliar with the breed (let's face it I'll take any excuse to post animal videos):
Source: school library
Rotten by Michael Northrop: buy it or check it out today!