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


3.65  ·  Rating details ·  3,365 ratings  ·  800 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
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)
Meagan Brown He's white. He makes a comment at the beginning of the book about how white his new school is, and doesn't mention being uncomfortable about being the…moreHe's white. He makes a comment at the beginning of the book about how white his new school is, and doesn't mention being uncomfortable about being the only student of color, so he's definitely white.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,365 ratings  ·  800 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Rotters
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very pleasant surprise.

It’s like going to a film you were interested in and then learning that it was directed by Tim Burton, starring Christopher Lee and based on a Neil Gaiman short story. Whoa! Interest just spiked.

I first found out about Daniel Kraus when I read The Shape of Water. Knowing Guillermo del Toro because of his excellent films, I learned that del Toro had collaborated with Kraus on the idea and the book. Studying more led to the realization that perhaps it was Kraus who did the
Grady Hendrix
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Laurie  |  LOHF
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, audiobook
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
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Shelves: audiobook, teen, horror
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
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Ken B
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
Aug 17, 2014 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 ...more
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
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
Shelves: kid-lit-ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
Several distinguished authors supplied blurbs for this book. On the dust jacket of the edition I read, Guillermo del Toro, R.L. Stine, and Scott Westerfeld each praise Daniel Kraus and Rotters, but the blurb I take notice of is Rick Yancey's. His Monstrumologist series is undeniably similar to Rotters, about a talented practitioner of a grotesque ancient profession mentoring a teenager in its intricacies, trying to keep the art form from going extinct without a new generation to pass it down to. ...more
4.50 Stars — A gritty portrayal of the relationships many youths face through a difficult, ever-changing and often trying—adolescence.

Self-deprecating humour is used often as a vessel for self-doubt in this wonderful story that is filled with flowing yet waffle-free prose. Kraus has a wonderful ability to flaw his-characters in a way that endears them to the reader, slowly but surely.

I enjoyed this novel very much, the father-son exchanges go from fun to enriching the further the relationship b
Autumn Bridger
Jul 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Spoilers Below.

This book has one thing going for it. Voice. The writer has an easy way of drawing you in with natural prose.

The story itself is original, but fragmented. We hop from shut-in Joey to high-school drama-and-bulling-and-abused-by-his-father-and-teacher Joey. Then Joey discovers his father's gravedigging and goes from being horrified to partner-in-crime in a nonsensical twist that has no real transition. It's not believable and it's not thought out. It was like the author shouted "Hey
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, teen, horror, audio
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
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, horror-paranormal
I loved the premise. A teen/family business of grave robbing. Cool, that hasn't been done before. This just wasn't followed through correctly. The pacing was all over the place, then the ending just unraveled, almost like the editor was alright you need to wrap this up quicker. So it felt very messy.
I wanted to like this book. The gore and the creep factor was great, the story was just eh for me.
Spider the Doof Warrior
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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?
Otchen Makai
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting book.
I could identify with the normal bits of moving to a new place and instantly becoming the target of hatred for not much more than just being new.
The other more creepy dark bits were very well written, gruesome and interesting.
The book definitely has you holding onto every moment of this kids world.
A lot of gore, a lot of gasp-worthy moments, a lot of really unforgettable characters that the main character keeps forgetting about (as part of the story), all highl
Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"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
Oct 03, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bleak, horror
This had been shelved to read since 2015, the concept grabbed my attention at the time and I’ve been unable to avoid thoughts of it since. Through years of shelving endless novels which appeal to my macabre tastes, I’ve never come across another written on a subject such as grave digging/robbing.

The authors displays a unique style of writing in the opening and it was so well done, it’s got that hook. Unorthodox stories usually depict irregular/uncommon writing to the words authors pen to paper w
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Even Better as an Audiobook? 8 37 Aug 24, 2013 01:42PM  
Wild Things: YA G...: Rotters by Daniel Kraus 1 8 Jul 27, 2012 06:01PM  
SHSU Library Scie...: ROTTERS General Discussion 18 38 Jun 17, 2012 04:26PM  
Young Adult Books...: Rotters 9 15 Apr 25, 2012 07:36PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Trollhunters
  • The Living Dead
  • Clowns Vs. Spiders
  • Bad Moon Rising (Pine Deep, #3)
  • Those Across the River
  • Feeding Desire: Fatness, Beauty and Sexuality Among a Saharan People: Fatness and Beauty in the Sahara
  • Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue
  • Little Girl Lost (John Blake #1)
  • If It Bleeds
  • The Sniper
  • The Haunted
  • The Confession
  • Some of Your Blood
  • The Caretakers
  • The House by the Cemetery
  • The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling
  • The 13th
See similar books…
See top shelves…
DANIEL KRAUS is a New York Times bestselling author. With Guillermo del Toro, he co-authored THE SHAPE OF WATER, based on the same idea the two created for the Oscar-winning film. Also with del Toro, Kraus co-authored TROLLHUNTERS, which was adapted into the Emmy-winning Netflix series. Kraus’s THE DEATH & LIFE OF ZEBULON FINCH was named one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Top 10 Books of the Year, and ...more

Related Articles

If you've got an overflowing Want to Read shelf of books that you keep meaning to get to (one day!), you're in good company. Our company, that...
128 likes · 47 comments
“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…