Sunday, August 30, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: HOODOO by Ronald L. Smith

 Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is sponsored by Shannon Messenger at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe. For a complete list of today's participants, visit HERE.
Ronald L. Smith
Clarion Books
Ages 10 - 14

Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can't seem to cast a simple spell.
When a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger's black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He'll just need to learn how to conjure first.

Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.

“What a splendid novel. Reader, be prepared to have your foundations shaken: this is a world that is deeper, more wondrous, more spiritually charged than you may have ever imagined.”
—Gary D. Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor medalist and author of The Wednesday Wars


The moment I opened the package and held HOODOO in my hands, I knew I had to read this book. I love the cover. The Gothic spookiness in black and shades of blue and green along with that creepy crow reminded me of Poe and Du Maurier. I started reading and was instantly hooked by the wonderful voice of the 12-year-old protagonist, Hoodoo Hatcher. Hoodoo grew up in a magic-casting family, but he seems to lack the talent himself--until a mysterious, dangerous stranger comes to town wanting to take Hoodoo's hand.

Smith's writing is perfect. Though this is his debut children's novel, it's easy to tell he is an experienced and skilled writer. Hoodoo's world is vivid and lush with culture and an array of memorable characters. I'm already looking forward to reading whatever Smith writes next. I just hope I don't have to wait too soon.

I  received a copy of  HOODOO from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Profanity:  None
Violence:  Mild
Sexuality:  None

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