Sep 9, 2015

Early Reader Review: Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith

Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date:  September 1, 2015


Format: Paperback ARC
Source: HMH Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book in no way alters my opinion or review.



Goodreads Synopsis: 
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.       

Then a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, and 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.  

Hoodoo’s premise is a fun one with ancient magic, mysterious people, and a young boy that has to save his family from evil. It seemed like a book that I would love, and don’t get me wrong I did enjoy it, but not as much as I thought I would.

Hoodoo is a young boy whose family does Hoodoo (a play in Voodoo, I think) and there is a stranger in town looking for him and he is not sure why. Once he finds out, he learns that it is up to him to dispel evil and the stranger. Hoodoo was likeable enough but I never felt fully connected to him as a character – it felt like he just kept telling me things. For example, many times throughout the story, especially in the beginning he stops the story and says some like ‘BLANK is BLANK, if you didn’t know’. It is great that he is in essence defining things for younger readers but for me this really broke up the story and it kept me feeling detached from him as a character, like I wasn’t experiencing with him but watching from afar… (Hopefully that makes sense).

Overall the plot was a good one, there was just enough action to keep a reader engaged and there was mystery and a few scary bits. I think younger readers will enjoy this book for all its spooky fun.

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