Heather's Reviews > Something Rotten

Something Rotten by Alan Gratz
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's review
Jun 05, 09

bookshelves: ya-reads, library, series
Read in June, 2009

Rating A+

Review How can I say anything bad about this book? I can't. The only bad reviews this book gets are from people who were expecting a modern re-telling of Hamlet to have a twist ending. It doesn't. The same person who did the killing in Shakespeare's classic did the killing in Something Rotten. New endings and surprise twists aren't the purpose of this book.

This book is so beautiful in it's simplicity, wit, and ability to get you to want to read Shakespeare. I am now yearning to go back and re-read Hamlet and pick up on all the things I missed because I didn't understand them (and my high school English teachers didn't have the time, curriculum-wise, to move beyond "Who are the characters?" and "What is the plot?"). Symbolism is rife, dialogue is rich, and now it makes sense.

I think this book (and Gratz's two follow-up Horatio Wilkes mysteries that tackle Macbeth and A Midsummer's Night's Dream) should be required reading in high school before Shakespeare. The added beauty of this book is that, although it's clean enough to slip right into any high school without making waves with the book-banning legislators, it's relatable, relatively contemporary (save Gratz's affinity for outdated cult-classic music that most kids have never heard of these days), and honest. Drinking happens, sex is alluded to, and high school is really high school. But it's all done so well.

A+ (+++) for him, and I'll be getting the rest in this series for darned sure.
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