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The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen (2022)

por Isaac Blum

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1054260,565 (4.07)1
"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 obstinate 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".--… (mais)
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A very cute (but somehow also verging on horrifying) coming of age.

The Life and Crimes follows Hoodie, a 15-year-old orthodox boy coming to terms with his religion, community, and antisemitism after his community begins to move to a small town. The book has a wonderful array of religious-specific set dressing that makes the book unique and honestly quite special, where orthodoxy is seen in a loving, if necessarily critical, light. Our main character breezes through with a Percy Jackson-like coolness, and the author's experience in "both worlds" made Hoodie a terribly believable, naive boychik, horny and emotionally repressed but with a heart of gold.

The book also delves into some intense, intense topics, that I think were dealt with well given the age group this is for but is honestly fucking horrifying and I believe would cause far more emotional damage. Hoodie is put in herem, and deals with the entire community and family shunning him. Uh??? And then the ending... woof.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this. It was easy to read, and you could tell the author put a lot of love and knowledge into it to be a book observant and ex-observant people could relate to. Very cool. Would recommend. ( )
  Eavans | Mar 4, 2024 |
Hoodie Rosen is one of the most insightful, entertaining and hilarious YA voices I’ve encountered in several years. I thoroughly enjoyed Blum’s work and was impressed how the author managed to tackle a number of excruciatingly difficult and timely topics in a narrative that is often laugh-out-loud delightful. As someone how knows very little about Orthodox Jewish culture, the book served as a fast-moving primer. I'll remember Hoodie for a long time to come. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Jan 18, 2023 |
In a town seething over an influx of Orthodox Jews, a yeshiva boy falls in love with the mayor’s daughter.

Yehuda “Hoodie” Rosen tells us on Page 1 that his horrible crime ruined his life, humiliated his family, and put him in the ICU—but in some ways, he also thought it was pretty funny. Once you get to know this jokester, you’ll believe it; his sharp awareness of the ironies of life and language illuminate every page of this first-person narrative. Hoodie, his parents, and his “numerous and various” sisters have just moved to Tregaron, a fictional town (cued as being near Philadelphia) where his father is involved with building a high-rise intended to house many more Orthodox families. The community’s outraged opposition to this is spearheaded by the mayor, Monica Diaz-O’Leary, so it’s particularly inconvenient that the first love of Hoodie’s 15-year-old life is her daughter, Anna-Marie—who seems to like him back. But after the two attempt to remove the swastikas that have been spray-painted on Jewish gravestones, Hoodie is ostracized by his community and harshly punished for consorting with a non-Jew. Then antisemitism explodes in a violent, ripped-from-the-headlines incident. Blum’s engrossing debut explains myriad details of Orthodox Jewish faith and includes Hoodie’s questioning of them. Through the brilliant character of Zippy, his wise older sister, Hoodie can see the path to a less constricted but still devout way of living. Anna-Marie's surname cues her ethnic background.

Funny, smart, moving, courageous, and so timely it almost hurts. (Fiction. 12-adult)

-Kirkus Review
  CDJLibrary | Jan 11, 2023 |
The Life and Crime of Hoodie Rosen is a 2023 Lone Star novel. I think this book will reach a niche audience. You've heard the ubiquitous statement that books can be mirrors or windows and that we need both. This novel is definitely a window--a window into the Orthodox Jewish culture.

Yehuda, who goes by Hoodie, attends Jewish school, wears all of the orthodox regalia and only socializes with other orthodox Jews. His family has moved to a new town and are fighting with the mayor and city council. They couldn't afford their former town and many Jews have moved to this new town. They want to create a Jewish area--an apartment for Jews as well as businesses for Jews. The locals are not happy; they say they're being invaded, which has created tense moments. Hoodie meets the mayor's daughter when he leaves for a walk one day. They end up cleaning headstones in the cemetery where Jewish graves have been desecrated with painted swastikas. Unfortunately, Hoodie is seen with the gentile. This relationship is not allowed.

Hoodie finds ways to communicate with Anna-Marie even with a little help from his sister, Zippy. I like Zippy the most out of every character. She absolutely loves her fiance and looks forward to marrying him, but she also doesn't judge Hoodie for looking beyond their culture and cultural expectations. Hoodie is with Anna-Marie when his friends are beat up by townspeople and ends up being shunned by his people; Zippy finds ways to communicate and help him. As part of being shunned, Hoodie has to see the "head" rabbi to help set him straight.

I'm torn as to what to say about this novel. Is it good? Absolutely. Did I enjoy it? I honestly don't know. Yes? It's not a "no." I think I have a hard time because it's a very male dominated culture. Zippy briefly touches on this part of the culture, but she's found a way through--to an extent. She always tries to help Hoodie see a way through; instead, he usually responds with his own truth, which has a sarcastic and funny edge. I laughed out loud several times. I didn't like the shunning, but I'm not part of this culture. According to the way the novel ends, I don't think the novel believes in it either. I think there's a message that time has passed and perhaps a little change could be tolerated. Maybe I'm wrong. The end of the novel is intense and a bit amusing. It's only after he is the victim of violence that he's no longer shunned; that bothers me. There's a lot to think about--from both points of view. Both sides, to me, are wrong. Both sides are a little right as well. What's to be done?

The novel starts a bit slowly but ends really well--with quite a shock, for it deals with hate toward Jews and what people are willing to do with their hate. I will say that all the Jewish words were difficult. I don't live in a city with a large Jewish population, so my knowledge is very limited. I was not willing to Google constantly, for it would have broken the flow of reading. I would have liked some context to explain, so I know I missed a lot. Between a slow start and all the Jewish words, I was frustrated. When I could sit down and just read, the novel flew by. It truly is a really good novel. I recommend it, but be aware there's a lot and it's intense. No one comes out looking great except maybe Zippy. ( )
1 vote acargile | Dec 21, 2022 |
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"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 obstinate 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".--

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