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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  2,071 ratings  ·  594 reviews
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 playi ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Delacorte Press
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YALSA 2012 Best of the Best List
16th out of 82 books — 60 voters
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57th out of 421 books — 298 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I admire the hell out of this book.

Kraus doesn't play games, he doesn't compromise, he doesn't pander, he just writes the hell out of this utterly original story. This is the kind of book that will stay with me for a long time. It's the kind of book that sends me back to my laptop determined to work harder. Just: yeah. Yeah, this is the real thing.

Look, I want everyone to read what they enjoy, regardless. But for your own growth as a human being occasionally put down your mopey chaste romantic

That one world says so much. So much meaning in that one little word.

I've been meaning to review this book for a really long time, but because I didn't (still don't) have the right amount of time I couldn't do it as fast as I wanted to.

Rotters has literally changed the way I see things. My perspective on life has shifted, thanks to this book. Of course I'm not talking about the grave digging part, I'm talking about the Rottters part. Only those who have read the book will know what Rotte
I feel like I have to give this 2 different reviews. I listened to it and the reader was great. He does a fantastic job of creating mood and emotion and creating very distinctive characters. Him, I would give 5 stars. But, let's face it--nothing he did could change the story he was reading. First of all, waaaaay too long. Second of all, I'm not sure what the story wanted to be. If it was a story about father and son relationships, it missed by a mile. If it was trying to be the most brutal bully ...more
By far-- by FAR-- the creepiest, most disturbed thing I have read to date.

Am I the only one thinking, ".... how does Daniel Kraus know all the precise, knitty-gritty details of how to rob a grave?"

I half expected to find the bio in the back of the book: "About the author: DANIEL KRAUS is a writer and currently resides at Iowa State Prison, where he's serving a 20 year sentence for--you guessed it-- digging up dead bodies, robbing graves, and other sorts of general mischeif. Rotters is his first
Stephanie D.
I have to take a deep breath here because my enthusiasm for Rotters is such that my review might quickly decompose to incoherent gushing.

This is the highest praise I can give:

If two of my favorite books got together and made a child, Stiff by Mary Roach and The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, Rotters would be that unholy Frankenstein child - a breathlessly macabre creation of horror and pathos.

Death is all over this book, fear of death, physical death, emotional death, death of hope. Joey has b
Bark's Book Nonsense
Do yourself a favor and do not read the synopsis for this book. It’s hard to avoid. I accidentally did it myself when I added this book to my virtual shelf. For some reason, marketing decided to spoil the first part of the book in the very first words of their blurb. I can only guess at why they did it (to hook people in? to lure them in with the taboo?) but for me it spoiled much of the mystery surrounding the first few chapters of the book. I would’ve liked to have figured things out myself. I ...more
This was just a fucked up story. And I don't mean that in a bad way. It harkens back to classic horror which relies not on blood and guts but on general creepiness to freak you out. There's no magic or super powers or monsters. Just people. Really weird people. It has a very odd narrator. Joey goes through many situations that the general public could identify with (bullying, the death of a parent, the hardships of friendship) but he never, ever reacts in a way that I understand. It's like he an ...more
I want to hate this book - but I don't.

I want to love this book - but I don't.

What a strange novel.

I want to give it a 5, I want to give it a 1...I have no idea what to rate this novel.

From the very first page this book was a contradiction. A boy 'knows' that his mother will die today...and she does...but that's the only time he is psychic. I kept waiting for his 'visions' to reappear - they don't.

Instead, we jump into the story. He is forced to live with his father and soon enough learns that
Clare K. R.
I wanted to like this book. I am a horror fan. But I couldn't get to the horror part, if there was one (I'm not convinced grave robbing is horrific). The prologue was confusing--which is OK, I don't mind being confused in a prologue as long as the rest of the book clears it up. But it doesn't. There was never any explanation (okay, in the 68 pages I read) as to why Joey seemed to know or believe his mother was going to die before she did. Then the only character I liked was Boris, and he was qui ...more
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4.5 Stars
I received an advance review copy of this book from Star Book Tours for review. I requested it purely based on the cover and title - I didn't know anything about it, but I'm kind of morbid so I hoped it would be as good as it looked. I wasn't disappointed.

I didn't really know what to expect... zombies? I was hopeful, I'll admit. I love zombies, and if this one contained them, I had no doubt they would be awesome. But no zombies here, and the more I read, the more I appreciated this for
Got this audio book from Sync's summer 2013 free audio book downloads.

A word of warning - this book is definitely not for the squeamish - however, if you can sit through an episode of CSI without covering your eyes, you should be able to handle it.

The audio book was well done. The narrator brought all the characters to life, especially that of Joey, our unlikely hero in this story. He portrayed Joey very well and it was easy to get invested in Joey's daily life.

The book started off a little slo
Why I picked it up: It’s on the list for the YALSA challenge

Joey has never been outside of Chicago. He lives with his mom, gets straight As, plays the trumpet, and tries to get by with as few problems as possible. Until his mom dies suddenly and he is sent to Bloughton, Iowa to the father he’s never met. Joey’s father does not seem happy to be reunited with his son, and the living conditions are pretty terrible. Then Joey learns his father’s secret: he’s a grave robber.

I don’t even know what to
Joey Crouch, consumed with his grades and playing the trumpet, loses everything that matters to him when is mother is suddenly killed. Forced to live with the father he never met, Joey discovers that his father belongs to the secret brotherhood of grave robbers. When Hartnett finally includes Joey in his nightly forays into graveyards, the older man begins to teach Joey what he knows and the pair develop a tenuous relationship as mentor and apprentice.

Rotters reminds me a great deal of the Steph
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
I'm sorry, but I really would rather have a 9-5 job than have to dig up dead bodies and steal from them.

Also, are all Biology teachers assholes in modern YA?
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Not really my cup of tea. I like tea but I didn’t care much for Rotters. I don’t know if I’ve become squeamish about my YA/children’s fiction all of a sudden (I was a bit put off by the nosebleeds in Dead End in Norvelt, although some of that may have been the story as well). I personally doubt that to be the case but feel free to try to convince me otherwise. I do think that Rotters is doing something interesting by importing aspects of fantasy into contemporary realistic(?) fiction, perhaps co ...more
Hylary Locsin
Originally posted on my blog: ! Check it out for more reviews!

Joey Crouch has lived a sheltered life in Chicago with his eccentric but loving mother. After she is tragically killed in a bus accident, Joey is sent to live with the father he has never met in the small town of Bloughton, Iowa. Not sure what to expect, Joey's worst fears are realized when his new smalltown life fraught with unhappiness: his father, Ken Harnett, is an unkempt and unfriendly man w
I didn't really enjoy this book, but I kept reading it because I became invested in the life of the main character. Sixteen-year-old Joey Crouch is the quintessential underdog. When his mother dies in a sudden accident he is sent to rural Iowa to live with a father who he knows absolutely nothing about. When he arrives, not only is his father as distant as a parent can get, the house is a wreck and Joey must sleep on the kitchen floor next to the sink. At his new school he is severely bullied ri ...more
Oh my, where to begin...

First of all, I really loved this book, and I can't stop thinking about what this says about me. It's a heartbreaking, disturbing, beautifully written book, yet it's the kind of book that I will be very, very careful about who I recommend read it.

Joey Crouch's mother dies suddenly and is forced to move to Iowa to live with a father he has never met and knows nothing about. His father leaves him for a few days and Joey, with no money, new to town and new to his high school
"My path to school took me past lawns ornamented with foam gravestones spray-painted with novelty names like Dr. Acula and D. Ed Corpse. I saw little kids with backpacks and lunch boxes rush out front doors and pause to straighten these memorials and I almost laughed. For one day a year, even children pretended to cozy up to the dead. What everyone forgot was that beneath those fake stones were real graves - maybe eons old, maybe fresh. The dead were below everything and everyone and that fact d ...more
Wow, what an amazing book. I haven't been so thoroughly engrossed (in all senses of that word) in a book in some time. This is supposedly a young adult novel, though the sensibility is quite a bit older than that, I'd say. It follows the adventures of young Joey Crouch when he is forced, upon the accidental death of his mother, to move from his safe, comfortable life in Chicago, to live with his estranged father in a small Iowa town. His father is distant and uncomfortable and often gone for day ...more
After the sudden death of his mother, fifteen year old Joey Crouch is sent to live with his estranged father in small-town Iowa where his father's status as "Garbageman" makes Joey a high school pariah. Curious, Joey discovers his father's true employment and embraces it despite its macabre nature.

I really had no idea what to expect when I opened "Rotters". What I got was a tale unlike anything I've read to date. I found myself intrigued at points and cringing at others.

The book has been tagged
Aug 17, 2014 Julia added it
This book is trying too hard & failing. "the piss yellow dawn" really? I made it only a few chapters in before my head exploded from the overwrought attempts at grim dark writing. Also women seem to exist only for plot points
All I wanted was a little light reading. I had just finished Drood by Dan Simmons and American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and had decided to take a break. What would be better than a little light reading about modern day grave robbers? Reading Daniel Kraus’ Rotters taught me two things, if I ever had any doubts about how I want to be interned when I die, those have been resolved (Cremation, definitely), and high school is a thousand times more brutal than when I went to school.

I have to joke ab
Mr. Kraus, I applaud you, because you are one sick puppy! I had no idea your mind was so twisted when I was sitting next to you a few months ago!

This audiobook won the 2012 Odyssey Award, which means it's one darn good produced audiobook. I was thrilled when I received a copy for attending the Odyssey Award program in Anaheim last June, and can't wait to get some students to listen this Fall.

This book is disgusting. Gross. Yucky. The kind of audiobook where you do NOT want to be eating in your c
Samantha Boyette
This book gets five stars for being so incredibly different than anything else I've ever read. It's also really well done. Joey Crouch is an average sixteen-year-old in Chicago when his mom dies in a tragic accident. After that, he's sent to live with his father, a man he's never met, and Joey does his best to survive. The man's house smells disgusting and after just one night there Joey smells just as bad. Kids at school are horrible and his dad seems to be no better, worse even. But his dad ha ...more
Martha Schwalbe
When my grandmother dies, she wished to be buried with her wedding ring. My sister and I complied, yet a friend told us not to bury it with her. Part of me wants to dig up her grave and learn whether someone has dug her up already and taken her rings.
People are buried with their cell phones now and based upon the other research Mr. Kraus did I have to assume this is true. How did the author meet the "Diggers" who were willing to share information with him? This job seems much harder even than be
ok. So I am stopping at page 214. I just can't read it anymore. I'm not sure why I picked it up in the first place, but this book isn't what I consider horror. Gross? yes, it talks about putrid corpses and rotting flesh, but as an avid horror movie watcher and reader, I was never scared, my pulse never raced and it didn't make me lose sleep at night with masterful imagery.

I liked the writting, I thought the authour had good prose? can you say that about a book? Anyway, literary wise it was well
Where did I get the notion that this was a zombie book? My apologies to any middle schooler to whom I recommended this book thinking it was a typical zombie fest. No, this is about dead bodies that stay dead, and a boy who takes up the family business of digging them up to rob them. Joey Crouch used to live with his overprotective mother in Chicago, but when she gets hit by a bus he has to go live in rural Iowa with a father he's never met. Once there he quickly becomes the outcast and is horrib ...more
Have you ever read a book so good that, after you’ve finished, you immediately put it down and say to yourself, “I wish I’d written that”? Rotters is one of those. I don’t normally gush over books, but I’ve told everyone that will listen how amazing this book really is.

I came across it quite by chance when Amazon recommended it based on another book I’d read. I read the description and thought to myself, “Grave robbing? Why would I want to read a book about grave robbing?” The number of good rev
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Even Better as an Audiobook? 8 29 Aug 24, 2013 01:42PM  
Wild Things: YA G...: Rotters by Daniel Kraus 1 7 Jul 27, 2012 06:01PM  
SHSU Library Scie...: ROTTERS General Discussion 18 32 Jun 17, 2012 04:26PM  
Young Adult Books...: Rotters 9 14 Apr 25, 2012 07:36PM  
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Daniel Kraus is a Chicago-based writer, editor, and filmmaker. His debut novel, THE MONSTER VARIATIONS, was selected to New York Public Library's "100 Best Stuff for Teens." Fangoria called his Bram Stoker-finalist, Odyssey Award-winning second novel, ROTTERS, "a new horror classic." SCOWLER was a Library Guild selection and also the winner of the Odyssey Award.

Upcoming novels include TROLLHUNTERS
More about Daniel Kraus...
Scowler The Monster Variations Trollhunters The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume 1: At the Edge of Empire Speak Quebec! (Abridged Version): A Guide to Day-To-Day Quebec French

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“Darkness is a defining characteristic of Rotters. But it’s worthy to remember that darkness is just that—it’s dark—and what is being concealed in the dark is not just the horrible and fearsome, it’s also the inspirational and moving. Horror means nothing without happiness; dark means nothing without light. Rotters may make you feel scared, but hopefully it will also make you simply feel. It’s that kind of book, or at least I hope it is.” 10 likes
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