Rotten by Michael Northrop0
A troubled teen. A rescued Rottweiler. An unlikely friendship.
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.
After a summer away from his friends and his mom, JD is finally coming home but to a place that is not entirely the same as when he left it. His friends have bounded with different people, his girlfriend is somewhat of a sour note, and his mom adopted this dog that seems to hate all men. Welcome home? I've spent three or four weeks away from home and come home to a completely different place than the one I left behind. My friends are suddenly more busy than when I left, my parents have made plans that I had no idea about, and my dog isn't nearly as excited to see me as she used to be. The first thought that crosses any person's mind is, "What happened? Where is my real friends - my real family?" I liked the whole concept of the story which is very simple. There isn't a ton of subplots going on in the background. I know that compared to perhaps the concept of most other YA novels this one is pretty simple but it works for the plot line.
I prefer the shortened version of the main character's name, JD, far more than his actual name, which is honestly surprising because most of the time I like the full name more than the nickname. He is the rebellious guy that has a fun loving personality. He prefers to keep to himself in his room if he isn't hanging out with his friends. It takes some time for this rescued puppy that his mom adopted to warm up to him and a friendship sparks between the two of them. I wasn't extremely enchanted with him in the beginning because he honestly seemed a little boring, especially with the simple plot. I slowly started to warm up to him as his affections toward the dog grew and so on.
His mom is someone that I feel bad for. She is trying to have a good relationship with her son and keep their family together in a tight knit way. After sending him away, she hopes to protect him from his past mistakes but when she has to work a lot, it is hard to follow through. I admire her choices and the choices she wishes her son wouldn't make. I can sense a lot of my mom in this character because it was the same situation with her and my brother.
Johnny Rotten, oh how I despise this name for a dog despite how he may think it fits. I prefer the idea of calling him JR instead like JD. I adore dogs. I have a yellow lab that is my best friend, in fact she is more frequently by my side than not. So, of course, I was thrilled with the concept of this whole novel in general. The author really captured how an abused dog would act and how a dog in general is during the moments when JR is in the scene.
I am always cautious when friends take such a large role in the plot of the story because it can be either a very good thing or a very bad thing. More often than not, friends betray friends and that is what makes it hard. His friends are no different. Rudy is perhaps his best friend and I was thrilled that he stayed by JD's side throughout the story. I was worried that he would be the one that ends up hurting him the most. I was pleased to see it was not the case.
I enjoyed the story, it wasn't my most favorite story but it was a good read anyway.
**This book was received from the publisher via NetGalley. None of the review was influenced by the author or the publisher. This is a completely original review. The thoughts and feelings of the reviewer are entirely her own and have no ties to the publisher.**