The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen

The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
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Release Date
September 13, 2022
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The Chosen meets Darius the Great in this irreverent and timely story of worlds colliding in friendship, betrayal, and hatred.

Hoodie Rosen's life isn't that bad. Sure, his entire Orthodox Jewish community has just picked up and moved to the quiet, mostly non-Jewish town of Tregaron, but Hoodie's world hasn't changed that much. He's got basketball to play, studies to avoid, and a supermarket full of delicious kosher snacks to eat. The people of Tregaron aren’t happy that so many Orthodox Jews are moving in at once, but that’s not Hoodie’s problem.

That is, until he meets and falls for Anna-Marie Diaz-O’Leary—who happens to be the daughter of the headstrong mayor trying to keep Hoodie’s community out of the town. And things only get more complicated when Tregaron is struck by a series of antisemitic crimes that quickly escalate to deadly violence.

As his community turns on him for siding with the enemy, Hoodie finds himself caught between his first love and the only world he’s ever known.

Isaac Blum delivers a wry, witty debut novel about a deeply important and timely subject, in a story of hatred and betrayal—and the friendships we find in the most unexpected places.

Editor review

1 review
An Emotional One-Sitting Read
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The overwhelmingly Jewish themes of the story are made accessible to all readers, breaking down the insular Orthodox community in a humorous yet easy-to-understand way. Hoodie has a hilarious and sarcastic sense of humor, which made me laugh out loud many times while reading. It provided a nice contrast to the heavier tones in the story, where the author touches on subjects like antisemitism, hatred, and betrayal, as well as struggling with finding a balance between living in two separate and overlapping worlds. Hoodie is working to stay true to his religious beliefs while also figuring out what his moral compass is telling him to do, which doesn’t always match up with the expectations of his religious community.

For the first time in his life, Hoodie faces antisemitism, although he has heard about it for his entire life. The events in the story echo a real life situation, and while there is hate and violence portrayed in the story, it’s done sensitively, although there is one scene involving a shooting. This may be upsetting to readers at the younger end of the YA spectrum, although it can also help them process real-world events that they see unfolding around them.

The writing is straightforward, and Hoodie’s voice is immediately relatable. He’s a believable character, as are the people around him, so that despite how different the Orthodox community can seem on the outside, we get a chance to see them as regular teenagers—kids who play sports, slack at school, and argue with their siblings and parents, and have crushes, just like most kids in America.
The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen is a compulsively readable book with a storyline pulled from the headlines of recent news articles. It’s fearless in talking about topics like bigotry, hatred, antisemitism, and violence, against a backdrop of teenage love that crosses boundaries. Ultimately, this was a flawless story that I finished in a single sitting.
Good Points
Relatable characters, humorous writing, captivating and realistic plot.
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