Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rotters” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.63  ·  Rating details ·  2,791 Ratings  ·  709 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
Audio CD, 13 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published April 5th 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rotters, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Mattreads I think this book is a very interesting book, and I would recommend this book. I agree with most people that the son and father relationship is pretty…moreI think this book is a very interesting book, and I would recommend this book. I agree with most people that the son and father relationship is pretty pathetic. As a middle schooler if the Rotters book was on the reading list I would not be excited. Middle schools are supposed to teach about honesty and respecting the teacher, but in this book none of that happened. A school who put this on their reading list should be shamed (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Bark's Book Nonsense
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, horror
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
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, horror, audiobook
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
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 wha
Clare K. R.
Nov 12, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zombieslayer/Alienhunter {another apprentice}
After the death of his mother, Joey Crouch is relocated from Chicago to the small town of Bloughton, Iowa, with the father he's never known.
He didn't know his father's name, what he looked like or why his mother had left him until being passed off to him by social services.

The town of Bloughton knows Ken Harnett as 'the Garbageman'. Joey isn't thrilled about this, but at least the bum has a job, right?
However, Joey realizes the Garbageman is not a city employee. 'The Garbageman' is a hateful ni
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
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Grady Hendrix
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best YA book ever written. *Rotters* is all about a kid whose mom dies and he gets sent to live with his abusive, alcoholic dad in Iowa WHO IS A GRAVE ROBBER. And the kid decides to bond with his dad over DIGGING UP DEAD BODIES AND STEALING THEIR GOLD TEETH. Featuring 7000 new words for filth, the language of putridity becomes poetry, it is disgusting (to the point where I had to skim sections), gorgeously written, unflinching, really funny, educational (if you would like to dig up graves an ...more
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Spider the Doof Warrior
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ew
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?
Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
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
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The premise of Rotters is as intriguing as it is disturbing. 16-year-old Joey Crouch, after the death of his beloved mother, is forced to move in with his emotionally distant and neglectful father, whom he soon discovers works as a professional grave-robber. (Though the nature of Joey's father's profession is somewhat of a spoiler, it is a spoiler that's impossible to avoid if you read any of the book's marketing material.) I was intrigued by how the nature of the relationship between Joey and h ...more
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
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
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved Kraus's writing but the story in here didn't really do it for me. I think my biggest issue was that a lot of effort clearly went into making the book seem realistic but there were entire parts that I found completely unbelievable (which is fine I guess but then do that from the beginning? Idk). The evil teacher was like, CARTOONISHLY evil and it's completely unrealistic that he would have been able to keep his job and I found the final confrontation scene so ridiculous I kept laug ...more
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book clings to you after you've closed it.

It's dark, detailed, and disturbing. And probably other D-words. If it hadn't been for the little "YA" sticker on the spine, I would never have called this a young adult book. Sure, our hero is a teenager and he deals with teenagery things like having to move in with his estranged father, being bullied at school, having a crush on a popular girl.

But then there are ALL THE OTHER PARTS OF THE BOOK. I recommend it to the readers who like the macabre.
Oct 25, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I put this book down for a while hoping to pick it up again but the more I though about it, the more I didn't want to. I was intrigued at first but it got tediously long and I was losing interest. this book just wasn't for me.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
holding the book in my hand, and being asked about what it is a bout...I pause and find myself mumbling "Grave Diggers", but my mind is screaming it more than this , it is way more, and I cant talk about it without sounding obsessive , or hysterical.

Warning Might Contain Spoilers
I Don't think I have ever read something as shocking or as scary as this one, and am not talking about the main theme of grave digging-which is a whole level of horror on its own- but the idea of the main protagonist, J
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Even Better as an Audiobook? 8 35 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 37 Jun 17, 2012 04:26PM  
Young Adult Books...: Rotters 9 15 Apr 25, 2012 07:36PM  
  • The Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist, #3)
  • Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie
  • The Waking Dark
  • Carter Finally Gets It (Carter Finally Gets It, #1)
  • Young Fredle (Davis Farm, #2)
  • Long Lankin (Long Lankin, #1)
  • Perry's Killer Playlist (Perry & Gobi, #2)
  • The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline (Enola Holmes, #5)
  • Leverage
  • Torn from Troy (Odyssey of a Slave #1)
  • Nicholas Dane
  • Dreamland Social Club
  • Click-Clack the Rattlebag
  • What We Lost in the Dark (What We Saw at Night, #2)
  • Irlanda
  • The Long Weekend
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes/Book 2
  • Sign Language
DANIEL KRAUS has landed on Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Books of 2015 (The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch), won two Odyssey Awards (for both Rotters and Scowler), and has been a Library Guild selection, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, Parent’s Choice Gold Award winner, Bram Stoker finalist, and more.

He co-authored Trollhunters with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, and his work has been transl
More about Daniel Kraus...

Share This Book

“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.” 12 likes
“Such a shovel, it seemed a waste not to use it.” 0 likes
More quotes…