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Check It Out: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen by Isaac Blum

This is Robin Wagner with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check it Out.

Today I’m recommending the book The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen by Isaac Blum, a title that made my list of the best teen books of 2022.

We’re introduced to our funny, self-deprecating hero, Hoodie, as he is staring out a window at a girl in white, clearly NOT paying attention to his class discussion of religious law. Hoodie is an Orthodox Jew who moved with his family and entire community to a quiet, mostly non-Jewish town. He knows there are people in town who are not pleased that so many Orthodox Jews are moving in at once, but Hoodie discounts the worried whispers of the adults in his community.

Then he meets Anna-Marie Diaz-O’Leary, the girl in white, who is the daughter of the mayor trying to push Hoodie's community out of town. Despite their differences, Anna-Marie and Hoodie are fascinated with each other and find a connection. But Hoodie is breaking rules even thinking about Anna-Marie let alone texting her. The shunning he receives from his family and the Orthodox community over his new friendship is hurtful and confusing. Then tensions in the town escalate to sudden and deadly violence and Hoodie finds himself stuck in the middle.

Isaac Blum gives us a compelling look at the life of an Orthodox Jewish teen discovering the outside world that is both heartbreaking and hopeful. In the end, Hoodie’s search for himself resonates with us all and shows us that maybe we are as alike as we are different.

Check out The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen at the Sioux City Library today!

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