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.
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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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-03-04
- Reviewer: Staff
Sixteen-year-old Jimmer Dobbs, known to his friends as JD, returns from a vague absence “upstate” to find that his mother has replaced him with a Rottweiler from a rescue shelter. JD christens the dog Johnny Rotten (after the Sex Pistols singer), but because the dog has been abused, it takes a while for Johnny Rotten to trust the new man around the house. When Johnny Rotten bites one of JD’s friends, the friend’s family smells a payday and files suit. Because the dog has bitten before, his days are likely numbered. This JD cannot abide. He attempts to bribe the friend into dropping the lawsuit by coming clean about his summer away. Northrop (Trapped) has a keen eye for the way teens move through the world (one of JD’s buddies never parks when picking him up. He “just rolls to a stop along the side of the road, like it’s a bank heist”) and for the mix of bravado and vulnerability that can drive boys’ friendships and interactions. A sure bet for any reader who loves an underdog, human or canine. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Apr.)
Protecting a boy's (not quite) best friend
An author of sports fiction and thrillers, Michael Northrop shows his versatility as he turns to realistic fiction in Rotten. After spending the summer away from home, 16-year-old Jimmer Dobbs (or preferably JD) returns to his small town to discover that his single mother has rescued an abused Rottweiler that’s not too fond of men, including him. Their tenuous relationship causes JD to name the dog Johnny Rotten (or preferably JR) after the lead singer of the classic punk rock band, the Sex Pistols.
JD spends his last few days of summer earning the dog’s trust with pizza rolls until he can finally approach JR comfortably. But when good friend Mars corners JR and the canine responds with a bite, it’s JD who feels like he’s in the doghouse. Mars’ lazy family threatens legal action to make quick money, which means not only that JD and his mother could lose their house, but also that their now-beloved pet will have to be euthanized.
Suspense drives the story as JD solicits the help of his buddies to do some intelligence gathering on Mars’ family. JD may also have to come clean about where he really spent his summer (and it was no vacation). In the process of trying to save his dog, JD may earn another shot at dating Janie, his on-again, off-again and hopefully on-again girlfriend.
Northrop knows just how to get into the male mind, blending subtle humor with convincing dialogue throughout. But above all, the author knows that nothing gets between a guy and his dog.