The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen

Philomel. Sept. 2022. 224p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593525821.
Gr 8 Up–For Orthodox Jew Hoodie Rosen, the move to a new city has not been all that bad even though the town resents the Jewish people moving into their community and worries about how it changes the status quo. Hoodie’s days, though, have stayed pretty much the same—he goes to religious instruction every morning and “regular” school in the afternoon, a school only for members of the Orthodox community. His comfortable existence, only slightly bothered by the conflict in the town, becomes much more difficult when he meets Anna-Marie Diaz-O’Leary, the daughter of the town’s mayor who wants the Jewish people gone. He has an instant attraction to Anna-Maria despite a relationship with her being forbidden by his religion. Hoodie’s life takes a difficult turn with the defacing of Jewish graves and a vicious antisemitic attack in the community. His relationship with Anna-Maria and his actions that offend the Jewish community result in him being ostracized. This unique coming-of-age story addresses issues of faith and action in a manner that has both light-hearted and very serious moments. Hoodie’s gentle rebellion against the constraints of his religion and his family will resound with readers of this relatively short novel who find themselves at odds with those closest to them. Adding to the uniqueness of the book are the easily understandable discussions of Jewish Orthodox beliefs. Hoodie, a nicely developed character, has special appeal because of his thoughtful analysis of what he believes and what he wants from his life.
VERDICT A great addition to a diverse book collection for any YA library.

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