Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: April 1st 2013
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.
When I saw this on Netgalley, I knew I had to request it because of my own little Rottweiler sitting right in front of me. I even broke my “no books about animals” rule to read this, and I am glad I did!
JD comes home from his summer stay at his “aunt’s house” to a surprise. His mom adopted an abused Rottweiler dog, which JD names Johnny Rotten. Their relationships starts out rocky, but they learn trust each other. JD sees that Johnny isn’t aggressive, and Johnny sees that JD won’t treat him like his old owner.
Unfortunately, the peace doesn’t last very long, and JD’s friend gets bitten by Johnny, and he wants compensation, but might end up taking more than that. They might end up taking Johnny’s life. His second chance.
After Old Yeller, Where The Red Fern Grows, Wild Animals I Have Known, Black Beauty, Marley and Me, etc; I had promised not to read any books or watch any movies about animals. Why can’t there be a Happily Ever After? I’m not saying whether or not ROTTEN has one, but I had to read this regardless of the promise I made to myself.
I did not connect to JD’s character at first, he was somewhat rude, vile, and gross: a teenage boy. Once I got used to his voice, I really saw that underneath he was a great person. He goes through some intense rounds of character development as well. Mr. Northtrop can write a believable male protagonist, something that is refreshing and unique. He also knows Rottweilers, I found that the behaviorisms and actions were spot on with how my own Rottweiler acts.
This is so much more than just a “boy and his dog” story. There are many different elements that make this a good novel, especially the relationships. JD and his mom, JD and his friends, and most importantly-JD and Johnny. They all are written excellently: they are realistic and relatable. You find out that everyone has their own story, and own reasons for behaving the way they do.