The Copenhagen River is being heavily polluted, but because the town relies on the huge multi-billion dollar company, no one is willing to stand against the company and fight the pollution. The one girl that is willing to stand up for what is right,Olivia, happens to be the ex-girlfriend of the owner's son. But, just two months after the owner's death, the son, Hamilton, finds a message from his dad. Was Hamilton's father's death an accident or was it murder? Can Olivia save the town, the river and Hamilton's sanity? This book is a good read and keeps the reader thinking about the mystery!
Something Rotten was a good mystery that had me wishing I could read faster. The plot is interesting and Grantz makes you really feel for the characters. It might be a little controversial since Hamilton takes advantage of his mother's laissez faire attutude and drinks heavily in parts of the book. Generally, though, the book is well thought out and the plot twists are not extremely predictable. I would recommend it for 8-12th grade students.
Gratz is cornering the niche market of novels containing dissimilar topics. Here he combines Hamlet and hardboiled detective pulp. During a vacation from their academy, Horatio Wilkes accompanies his buddy Hamilton Prince to Denmark, Tenn. Just two months after his father passed away under suspicious circumstances, Hamilton’s Uncle Claude has married Hamilton’s mother. Claude now controls the Elsinore Paper Plant, a multibillion dollar company blatantly polluting the Copenhagen River. Horatio, with a knack for investigating, is determined to expose Claude’s corruption while Hamilton, dismayed by what he believes is his mother’s betrayal, drowns himself in alcohol. Ultimately, Horatio relies on environmentalist protester Olivia to reveal secrets about Elsinore. The many parallels to Hamlet are interesting, but Gratz wisely avoids producing a carbon copy of the tragedy. Horatio admirably plays the loyal friend but has a cocky voice that is too self-assured and as a teen rings unauthentic. However, this well-crafted mystery has appeal for readers familiar with both Raymond Chandler’s novels and Shakespeare’s masterpiece. (Fiction. YA)
This would be a great book to use in a science class with a unit on forensics or on pollution. It would be really fun to have the students come up with various scenarios, using clues from the book and teacher, to find out who killed Hamilton's father. For use with a pollution unit, the students could test waters and compare the toxic chemicals mentioned in the story to the water samples they find.
Gratz, A. (2007). Something Rotten. New York: Dial.
Unknown. (2007, September 1). Something Rotten Review. Retrieved April 24, 2011, from http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/childrens-books/alan-gratz/something-rotten/?spdy=2007