cover image The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen

The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen

Isaac Blum. Philomel, $18.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-593-52582-1

Blum’s immersive debut follows Orthodox Jewish 15-year-old Yehuda “Hoodie” Rosen as he wrestles with forbidden first love in his increasingly hostile, mostly non-Jewish town. Hoodie and his large family have recently moved to a fictional Philadelphia surburb, Tregaron, where his father is overseeing construction of an apartment complex dedicated to housing Orthodox families. Mayor Diaz-O’Leary and the town council, however, oppose the plans, intending to “protect Tregaron’s character.” Despite stern warnings from Hoodie’s father and Yeshiva teacher not to spend time with goyim, Hoodie meets and falls for Anna-Marie Diaz-O’Leary, the mayor’s daughter, who helps him remove swastikas from Jewish gravestones in a local cemetery. When some of Hoodie’s friends are attacked while he’s hanging out with Anna-Marie, and he is shunned by Jewish peers as a result, Hoodie, hoping to resolve the conflict, plans a dangerous scheme whose consequences reshape their community. Hoodie’s sarcasm and complex relationships capably balance renderings of his solemn inner turmoil and society’s external pressures and expectations. Blum tackles themes of acceptance and community via an intricately detailed Orthodox Jewish cast and a steadily building anticipatory atmosphere, which enlivens this impressively drawn story. Hoodie and his family read as white; Anne-Marie is Latinx-cued. Ages 12–up. Agent: Rena Rossner, Deborah Harris Agency. (Sept.)