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Jersey Shore, United States
In case any of my friends or family members actually read this Blog, please consider all Names, Characters, Places and Incidents to be the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely COINCIDENTAL...Muaaah!! Now, really, about me: I bring the crazy wherever I go, so I've been told...I make fun of myself more than anyone else ever could. I hate: the awkward silence in elevators, watches with no numbers, picky eaters, Cancer and legalism. I love: coffee, stalking Hugh Jackman, my Spanx, COMMENTS, sarcasm and writing: Middle Grade, NA, YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse Meeting- July

Well hello there! It's time once again for the Cephalopod Coffeehouse. This wonderful group of diverse bloggers,  hosted by The Armchair Squid, meets on the last Friday of every month to discuss the best book they have read. (I'm posting a day early because I'm not going to be around tomorrow. Please pretend this is really Friday...) I'd like to take a moment to say thanks Squid, for inventing and hosting this fun group! I'm loving every minute of it. So, please, grab yourself a tea, (however you prefer it, iced or hot) or refill your tankard of coffee (like me) or whatever it is that you like to drink and curl up in front of the computer for a nice book discussion.

This month, I read A LOT of books. More so than usual. I think it was the heat. My family and I seemed to wrap things up a bit earlier at the Bird's Nest out of sheer heat exhaustion.  Since I was the only one awake and the house quiet, I choose to stay up and read. As I was thinking back over all of the titles I consumed, it was really hard for me to pinpoint which book I wanted to discuss today. I can't say that any one book would count as my all time favorite. But I can say this: I simply could not wait to discuss the book that took me by surprise. It's called Rotters, written by Daniel Kraus. And it was dark, gritty, raw, real and gross as all get out!

I know, I know. With a title like Rotters, I should have known it would be gross. But I found it in the YA section and I may have mentioned this before, but I pre-read everything I hand over to my kids. And holy guacamole thank God I do! Because this was something my ten year daughter was interested in reading.  Let me start by saying, the material in Rotters, is NOT appropriate for a ten year old girl and I'd be very careful who I recommend this book to.  That having been said, once I started reading this, I simply could not stop from reading it straight through to the end- and here's why:  Joey Crouch. The sixteen year old main character.

His life is a demented, twisted and very dark roller coaster ride. I could not put the book down out of fear of leaving him alone in his misery. His problems, his life, his story were so well written, Joey is one of those characters that long after you finish reading this book, you will still be haunted by and can't help but think of him. The torment he feels is so raw, so real, it's tangible. The reader is dragged along and sickly propelled right with the main character- and neither of you can help but get swallowed up in a circus of the macabre. Knowing how much I hate spoilers, I'm not going to get into a plot discussion here, as I think it would take away from too much of  the story.  But I  will say this, the pacing is slow at first, but I believe that's quite deliberate. And the foreshadowing of the title, "Rotters" really does not prepare you for all this book encompasses. Yes, it's about corpses and grave-robbing and death but there's so, so much more than that going on here.

In conclusion, I find myself in this very weird position. Because as twisted as it was, I liked it. Am I really going to do this? Yep. I am. I am going to recommend you read this totally dark, disturbing book. But with a strong warning: please do not read this if  (1) you are a 10 year old girl (2) you have a weak stomach (3) discussing corpses, grave robbing and desecrating the dead will freak you out and/or give you nightmares.

And if you do decide to read it, after that stellar endorsement, (LOL), please let me know what you think!

34 comments:

  1. All of that is in the book? Good thing you did read it before your daughter. Congratulations, Jaybird - you are a responsible parent.

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    1. Thanks Alex. I appreciate that. I do my very best.

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  2. Okay, I admit. I am intrigued. I'm kind of a chicken when it comes to horror. Is this horror? Although if it's YA, I could probably handle it. Cool book rec.

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    1. Hey girl! I am a big chicken too, and if I can handle it, you certainly could. It's not scary, per se, it's just a bit vile. Some of the stuff that happens is sick. Definitely not for my kid. At first glance, she thought this was a light weight zombie book. NOT! Which is exactly why I read her stuff first. :)

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  3. I've never heard of Rotters before, but I absolutely love dark books, so I think I'll have to keep an eye out for this!

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    1. I have zero trouble recommending this to an adult. You would probably like it too Heather. The protagonist is so compelling. If you read it, let me know what you think!

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    1. It's well written for sure. Just dark. And twisted. If you are into that, rock on.

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  5. The new story we're working on now deals with a man who drags a corpse out of her own funeral because he believes it's his destiny to marry her, so... this sounds right up my alley. I'm gonna have to snag a copy of this on Amazon.

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    1. I could see either of you (B&B) loving this book- it's right up your alley for sure. Another thing that was interesting about this book-I actually wound up learning things about corpses I never knew before. For instance, did you know that after an accident, a mortician will use PVC pipe to replace and reconstruct the broken body to make it look normal for the viewing? I never knew that!

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  6. Well, it sounds interesting if nothing else!

    I need to read more, just in general....

    Have a great weekend, Mrs. Bird :)

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    1. Thanks Mark! And an especially big thanks for that award on your blog! Wow. Blown away by your choice. Thanks so much!

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  7. A+ in responsible parenting. I definitely want to read this book. I can't help but delve into the dark side of human nature.

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    1. Hey Sheena! Thanks. I try my best.

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  8. Sounds like something I'd really like. Thanks for the recommendation! :) Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. It's creepy but also well written and just so compelling. Despite my chicken nature, I got sucked in!

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  9. Great review. I am so disheartened that the immense talent of today's novelists is being employed to write books for children inappropriate for children. More than one review today has been about a really dark book that is exceptionally-written and my heart is just overwhelmed with a mixture of grief and confusion. How did we get here? And how many of us even *want* to go somewhere else? The ideological isolation I sometimes feel as an aspiring novelist in this climate is intense.

    In any event, have a great weekend.

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    1. Now I feel bad about my own pick! All the other novels I read were explicitly *not* dark, including (naturally) Shine Shine Shine. I actually think reading dark stuff makes me feel better. Because my life is not like THAT.

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    2. "I actually think reading dark stuff makes me feel better. Because my life is not like THAT."

      I think you're making a good point here, Steph. One of the appeals of fiction for me is the opportunity to explore difficult situations from the safety of my couch (well, mostly my bed :)). Fiction has the power to transport us to worlds we will never visit and experience things we may never dare to do. And then we get to come back to our wonderful lives!

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    3. Suze- I actually think (even though the protagonist is still in high school) this book should be re-shelved in the adult section. Remember, this is just my opinion, there are plenty of seventeen/eighteen year olds who would find this to be perfectly acceptable material. But my daughter is advanced, and reads "up". It has become a bit of an issue (for me specifically) because of content. But she doesn't want to get stuck reading stuff that she considers "babyish". Oy, the joys of being a parent.

      Steph- Don't feel bad! I don't generally read stuff that is scary, but I do enjoy to mix things up from time to time. It's just not something I feel comfortable allowing my daughter access to, at ten.

      Lorena- I agree- Steph makes a nice point here!

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  10. Oh, my! I wasn't a child with a strong morbid fascination but I certainly have known plenty who were. It is, to a point, natural. But I'm still squeamish at 40.

    Sounds like quality material, nonetheless. Is it an adult book mis-categorized (not a real word, I know)? Or is there an age for which it would be alright?

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    1. Hi Squid- Thanks for hosting the coffeehouse! I'm really enjoying these discussions so much.

      Soooo, my daughter originally thought that this book was more benign and about zombies... although she was obviously mistaken, LOL. Which is why I make sure I pre-read all the material she picks up before I deem it acceptable for her to read!

      The main problem is this- for some sixteen or seventeen year old kids, this book might be alright and YA appropriate. But my daughter is only ten and going into sixth grade. She has always been an advanced reader but YA covers such diverse material and a large age group I really, really, have to be super careful about content. At least, this is MY personal conviction. And this book had some stuff that was certainly objectionable, to me.

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  11. Wow. This sounds really. . .interesting. ;) Not sure I have the guts to check it out. :)

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    1. It's not really "scary" per se, just super gross and real dark material. Farrah thought this book was about zombies for some reason. But that just wasn't the case, at all. And it had some stuff, erm, NOT ok for my daughter to read.

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  12. I echo everyone else's applause at prereading your daughter's books! I have noticed that YA books really are meant for older teens and not for middle-school students. I read a lot of YA and frequently pass books on to my high-schooler, but not to my middle-schooler. The latter is reading the 31 Clues and Percy Jackson and that; nothing too gory.

    Then again, when I was in middle school I read a lot (a LOT) of horror. Stephen King, HP Lovecraft, Poe, Thomas Harris, etc. I inhaled this stuff for about 10 years, and just when it was "appropriate" to read this genre, I stopped. I think kids like reading inappropriate things sometimes not just because it's prurient, but because it's safe. It's a safe way to explore scary/dark things. So I have mixed feelings about this.

    Anyway: this sounds like a really interesting book, and given my high tolerance for dark (see: Stephen King) I want to check it out!

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    1. Hey Steph! Thank you for the applause. Although I think it's just another part of the never ending parental job description, LOL.

      For the most part, my daughter is a high fantasy/sci fi fan, and loves authors JRR Tolkien and the like, (who can get gory, but not gross or sexually explicit) but she has torn though most of those books at a young age and lately, I am hard pressed to find books she likes in YA that also have appropriate subject material. As was the case with this book, I wouldn't consider it "scary" per se, but it had some sexually explicit material and dark parts that I am just not comfortable with my daughter being exposed to.

      I am probably a bit more conservative and maybe more naïve than most parents, but she will only be young for such a brief, fleeting period of time. If she wants to read this type of dark stuff later in life, well, then, that will be her choice. But at this age, I just don't feel comfortable knowingly handing a book like this over and exposing her to it, so young. So far, she's been completely fine with it whenever I tell her- this book is not for you to read. Then again, she doesn't have a habit of choosing books with content that is off limits- it's usually a mistake- like with this book. She thought it was going to be about zombies and so much more benign than what it actually was :)

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  13. Nothing like a novel about grave-robbing to restore your faith in humanity. :-)

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    1. Do I note a touch of sarcasm here? LOL!!

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  14. Thanks for the warning! I think it's great that you pre-read everything before you let your daughter read it. I make it a point to go through the books my daughter checks out before letting her do so. It's just another one of those things you have to watch out for as a parent. Although this book sounds like a real page-turner, I think I'll pass. For one, I don't care for much of the YA out there. It's all beginning to sound alike. Secondly, I don't like things to get too grotesque, if you know what I mean!

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Mary. I am glad I am not the only one who checks out what their kids are reading. I can't tell you how many times I've mistaken a book for something that it wasn't. If I do it, how can I expect that my kids won't?

      And generally, I'm a big chicken and don't do the "dark" stuff. This book wasn't for everyone, and I honestly am surprised by the fact that I liked it, despite it's gross material. That's a first for me!

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  15. Wow, I'm surprised these themes are being explored in YA books. And here I was nervous about my latest novel! (at least my corpse is properly buried!) :)

    "I could not put the book down out of fear of leaving him alone in his misery." LOL!

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    1. Hi Lorena! SO much more is going on in YA than when I was young. But then again, if you watch TV or movies, envelopes are being pushed further and further than ever before!

      "I could not put the book down out of fear..." I know that comment sounds so funny, right? But honestly, reading all about this poor, poor boy's life struck the mom chord in me and I really did feel like I HAD to finish reading his story or I was just one more adult who was going to let this kid down! Ridiculous, I know. But his character was so well-written I felt like he was real kid. Scary!

      Thanks so much for commenting.

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  16. I know I left a comment here somewhere, but then blogger hates me and has been known to eat my words.

    Sounds like a good book, something I might enjoy, but I think you were right to keep it out of the hands of the kids. You are such a good mom.

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    1. It was a good book. Well written- but just very different from what I normally read. And not for my kid. Not yet, at least. I try my best to be a good mom. Many things in this life are WAY beyond my control and are out there in this world that she will, no doubt, be exposed to. So as a parent I like to put some effort into the things I actually can still control in her life. If that makes any sense-without me sounding like a psycho stage mom. LOL

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