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Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Bank Street College of Education
A 2014–15 Keystone to Reading Award finalist
Named to the 2015 TAYSHAS (Texas) high school reading list
A Junior Library Guild selection
Named one of 3 Thoughtful Summer Reads for Teens by the Christian Science Monitor


A sure bet for any reader who loves an underdog, human or canine.”—Publishers Weekly
“A fine portrayal of a boy, a dog and the ties of friends.”—Kirkus Reviews
“This book will appeal to readers of all ages.”—VOYA Magazine
“A laugh-out-loud book, with so many things to love about it.”—Christian Science Monitor

“Northrop knows just how to get into the male mind, blending subtle humor with convincing dialogue. But above all, the author knows that nothing gets between a guy and his dog.”—BookPage

“Keen … sharply observed … enjoyable … This is a testosterone-rich dog story, a book just right for animal-loving Chris Lynch fans.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“A compelling read, sure to appeal to boys with its humor, music references, and realistic characters.”—School Library Journal

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.

Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, or your ever-awesome local independent bookstore.


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  1. Stacy / Mar 17 2013

    I am half way through ROTTEN!! I will not be commenting again until I finish. I do not want anyone to ruin the ending. Totally loving the book so far. I am however disappointed that there is no book trailer. Boo Hoo!! I think book trailers are great. I love the other ones that you have made. Each and every one is so different. Hopefully we will see one soon for ROTTEN. JD and JR deserve one.

  2. Michael / Mar 18 2013

    Thanks, Stacy. You are officially the first commenter on this page (please imagine balloons falling from the ceiling and a marching band striding tunefully into the room)! You’re right too: I definitely need to get a book trailer for ROTTEN. I’ve been lucky to have different people make most of the book trailers for my other books. I made the cartoon one for Plunked, though. I thought about making another one of those, but their selection of canine characters is pretty slim. I’ll figure something out, though. In the meantime, I really hope you enjoy the book!

  3. Cari / Jul 8 2013

    I have just started this book and love it. I am a 5th grade teacher and have the summer to get through it to know if it will be appropriate for my classroom, but my husband and I work with 15 year old young man who can’t read anything with sexual content. I haven’t gotten to JD’s history, I am headed to the bookstore and was wondering if this is appropriate for him so I can buy him his own copy before I finish my own?


  4. Michael / Jul 9 2013

    Hi, Cari! I’m really glad you’re enjoying the book so far. As for content, I think you’re in the clear. There are some off-color jokes and things like that, though, so it might be best if you wait until you’re done and decide then.

    I hope you’re having a great summer, in any case. Cari on!

  5. Jillissa / Sep 2 2013

    I am about half-way through the book. I love it so much because I have a rescued dog also (she is a mastiff so she is also big like JR) and she was chained to a warehouse with her sister with very little food. She was also a little bit shy and skiddish for a while but she never bit anyone and she is a very good dog. I also had a rottweiler and she passed away of cancer. She was also a great dog and I miss her very much. Another reason I love this book is because I love dogs!!! You are a very good author. Oh, by the way, I love the cover!!! It looks so much like my rottweiler and I almost cried when I saw it.♥

  6. Michael / Sep 3 2013

    Thanks so much, Jillissa! I’m very happy that you like the book, and I definitely appreciate you writing to let me know. Big dogs rock, don’t they? It’s awesome that you have a rescued dog now. I’m sorry to hear that your great Rottie passed away, but it’s very cool that you could be a part of a loving home for both dogs. I grew up surrounded by rescue dogs, so this was a very personal book for me to write.

    Anyway, thanks again. I hope you had a wonderful summer!

  7. Alice / Mar 31 2014

    I just finished ROTTEN, I loved it! I’m actually writing an entertainment critique for my English class over it! I almost cried multiple times in this book. It hits such a personal level with me, Rottweilers are under the “bully breed” status. I am completely against the banning on bully breeds. I had a pit bull/boxer mix that passed over 4 years ago. This book brought back many memories of him. This was a fantastic book! loved it!

  8. Michael / Mar 31 2014

    Thanks, Alice! I’m really glad you liked the book so much, and that it could bring back some nice memories for you. I also got very emotional several times when I was writing it—probably at some of the same places. A few times I was so into the scene I was working on that I didn’t realize I was tearing up until I started having trouble seeing the screen!

  9. Natalia Johnson / Sep 15 2015

    I luv ROTTTEN im writing a book report on it

  10. Michael / Sep 16 2015

    Thanks a Rott, Natalia! I’m really glad you enjoyed it so much. Thanks for writing and letting me know—and good luck on the report!

  11. Lexi / Sep 21 2015

    I just finished ROTTEN!! It was so amazing and I am gonna hea to the store to buy it so I can reread it any time. I really loved it I hope there is like a part two or something because it was so great to read <3

  12. Michael / Sep 22 2015

    Thanks so much, Lexi! I am really happy that you enjoyed it so much. I loved writing this book, and JR is definitely one of my favorite characters.

  13. Lexi / Sep 23 2015

    Oh and one more thing your my favorite author ever <3 <3 <3

  14. Michael / Sep 24 2015

    Thanks, Lexi! I am honored!

  15. Jake / Oct 14 2015

    This book was great! I read this book over the summer. This is the best book I read over the summer.

  16. Michael / Oct 15 2015

    Thanks, Jake! I am really glad you enjoyed it so much—and I miss summer already!

  17. Michael / Jan 10 2016

    This book is great. I love the bond between dog and man and you illustrated that beautifully in your book.

  18. Michael / Jan 11 2016

    Thanks, Michael! The bond between JD and JR is the absolute heart of this book. I worked hard to get it right, and I’m glad to hear it worked for you!

  19. Draven / Feb 23 2016

    I loved your book

  20. Draven / Feb 23 2016

    It reminds me of all the dogs that I had 🙂

  21. Michael / Feb 23 2016

    Thanks, Draven! I’m really glad you enjoyed it. I thought of all the dogs I’ve had while I was writing it, too. Dogs are awesome!

  22. Draven / Feb 24 2016

    I hope that all dogs will come to like and love you. Because anybody who rescues dogs deserves all their love:) Hope you have a wonderful year. LOL

  23. Draven / Feb 25 2016

    I think that you are a hero. Because anybody who rescues dogs is a hard working hero. You deserve love from every dog you meet. 🙂

  24. Michael / Feb 25 2016

    Thanks a lot, Draven. Rescue dogs rule—and so do dog rescuers! I hope you have a wonderful year too!

  25. tyler / Oct 18 2016

    this is very good book so far and i will continue to read it to the end please do not spoil it

  26. Michael / Oct 18 2016

    Hey, Tyler! I’m glad you’re enjoying the book so far. Don’t worry: This site is a spoiler-free zone!

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