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.
Michael Northrop is the New York Times
bestselling author of the middle-grade adventure series TombQuest. He is also the author of On Thin Ice
, an Indie Next List selection; Plunked
, a New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing selection and an NPR Backseat Book Club pick; and other titles. An editor at Sports Illustrated Kids
for many years, he now writes full-time from his home in New York City. Learn more at michaelnorthrop.net.
- ! 'From ROTTEN
I grab my bag from the car and head for the side door. There''s
not much furniture in the front room of our house -- just a TV, an old couch, a
low table, and, most nights, me -- so when I bang through the side door, make the
right, and head in there to drop my stuff, I don''t bother to switch on the light.
Sure enough, I slam my shin into something and go down in a heap.
mid-fall that it must be the coffee table. I realize post-fall that mom must have
moved it while I was away. I grab my shin and swear, but my voice is drowned out
by the noise suddenly filling the room. It makes even less sense than the table
being out of place. It''s still dark and all I can see are stars from hitting my
shin, so for a second I think maybe I''m imagining it or it''s coming from the TV.
But the TV is off and the sound keeps coming: It''s a dog, barking its head off,
barking at me. It makes no sense: We don''t have a dog. We never have.
look around the dark room, trying to figure out where it is. It sounds close, and
I don''t want to get leg-humped or mauled or rabies. I reach up and sort of cover
my face, so that I''m looking out through my spread fingers. Just as my eyes are
beginning to adjust to the dark, the light flips on and I see my mom standing at
the edge of the room.
"Don''t worry," she says. "He''s new."
takes me a moment to realize she''s talking to the dog.'