3.65 (3,390 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 151 x 211 x 39mm | 594g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0385738579
  • 9780385738576
  • 1,128,846

Review quote

Starred review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May 2011:
"A masterly touch at thriller pacing, Kraus gives the current crop of pretentiously serious supernatural YA novels a wild run for their money."

Starred review, Booklist:
"A tour-de-force combination of reader and writer."

School Library Journal
"A gripping and emotional tale."

Kirkus Reviews:
"A cerebral romp through a fascinating, revolting underworld."

"Twists and turns will leave readers gasping."

"As suspenseful and masterfully told as it is gruesome and terrifying. You'd be hard-pressed to find a coming-of-age story as satisfying as this."--Cory Doctorow, author of "Little Brother" and coeditor of "Boing Boing
"Grueling, demented, and so crammed with noxious awesomeness that I had to read it twice."--Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies series

"This is an unforgettable book. An unforgettable character . . . and an adventure that leads to unforgettable HORROR. I loved it!"--R. L. Stine

"A multi-layered, complex novel that pulls no punches. Terrific!"--Rick Yancey, author of "The Monstrumologist
"Uncompromising, dark, and true."--Guillermo Del Toro, coauthor of the Strain Trilogy and director of Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth, and Chuck Hogan, coauthor of the Strain Trilogy

"A cerebral romp through a fascinating, revolting underworld."--Kirkus Reviews
"One of the darkest, wildest, most unsettling adolescent novels I've ever come across. . . . Kraus is absolutely original."--"The Millions
"A new horror classic."--"Fangoria
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About Daniel Kraus

DANIEL KRAUS is a writer, an editor, and a filmmaker. He lives with his wife in Chicago.
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Rating details

3,390 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 26% (884)
4 34% (1,141)
3 25% (842)
2 10% (340)
1 5% (183)

Our customer reviews

You may also read review here: Rotters Review After his mother is killed in a freak accident, 16 yr old Joey Crouch is sent to live with the father he never knew in rural Iowa. Devastated and shell-shocked, Joey is further disheartened to learn that his father is known locally as "The Garbage Man" and lives in a filthy, smelly shack. Tormented at every turn by school bullies, Joey struggles to find his place. When he finally learns exactly what it is that his father does for a living, he is at once horrified and fascinated, and realizes his life is about to change forever. Rotters is a hard book to classify. It's listed as YA, but has themes that might be a bit beyond a younger reader. I would most definitely recommend it to older teens. It will take someone with a fairly strong stomach to get through some of the passages, but the writing is superb, and Kraus' take on teenage angst is probably a lot closer to the truth than most parents would like to think. Joey is absolutely tortured at school. Some of the things he's subjected to horrified me at times, but, as I said, I wouldn't be surprised if this kind of thing happens to kids on a daily basis. Kids are cruel, and that cruelty is part of what drives Joey to embrace the unusual lifestyle that his father has chosen. Joey's dad is a Digger, part of a long, rich history of grave robbers, and after Joey follows him to a job one night, he starts accompanying his father on digs, and is drawn into a world unlike which he's never known. To his surprise, Joey discovers an affinity for the trade, and there begins his adventure. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and was fascinated right through to the shocking ending! Kraus manages to take an unusual, taboo subject and turn it into a fascinating, horrifying, and sometimes heartwrenching read. When Joey was being tormented at school, I felt it. When he labors over his first dig, fingers bleeding, body aching, drenched with sweat, I was there. I imagined I could smell the grave rot, and the stench that clung to Joey and his father after a job, and permeated their house. Kraus is that good. If you haven't discovered this writer yet, what, exactly, are you waiting for?show more
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