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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,271 ratings  ·  313 reviews
Set amidst the red soil and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, HOODOO tells the story of twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher, who is born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic, or Hoodoo, as most people call it.

They use foot-track powder that can go up through your foot to make you sick, a black hen’s egg for getting rid of evil spirits,
Published 2015 by Clarion
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,271 ratings  ·  313 reviews

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Darth J
Harry Potter meets The Secret Life of Bees

If you like your books with a little bit of a southern folk magic bent, then this one's for you. The title character, Hoodoo, was raised with everyone else in his family having magic except him. He's tried a few simple spells but nothing has really worked for him the way it has for his aunt, mother, and grandfather.

He happens upon his dead father's spell book and that's when he learns more about himself and his own unique power.

The antagonist here is bac
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites


"The Princess and the Frog meets AHS: Coven"

THIS WAS AWESOME. It was scary, thrilling, heartbreaking, and one hell of a ride. Hoodoo is one of the best characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading, I just love his heart, and his determination to set things right and save everyone. This takes place in the 1930s in Alabama and though it is a Horror/Fantasy, it still deals with race and class issues which I thought melted beautifully together in this story. There's a talking crow, a cr
Cameron Chaney
This. Book.

Never before have I seen southern spirituality and hoodoo portrayed so wonderfully in a middle grade book as I have in Hoodoo by Roland L. Smith. This is a magical, gothic, eerie story that has plenty of charm and heart to boot. There were times when I had goosebumps crawling on my skin and other times where I thought I might cry. Not to mention, the humor is spot-on. I highly recommend this short, quick read to anyone who likes the cover. What you see is what you get, and you get som
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mg-fiction
I'm only partway through this, but I just wanted to note already: HOODOO has one of the most fabulous narrative voices of any MG novel I've read in a long while. It's SO delicious and compelling, and I love the way the (creepy) magic is worked so seamlessly into everyday life! I'm really loving this book.


ETA: And now that I'm finished: oh wow. This book is gorgeously creepy and magical. I really mean it about the creepy bit - I had to put it down at one point because I couldn't read it at nig
Thistle & Verse
Enjoyed this middle grade debut from Smith. The atmosphere and creepy imagery were wonderful. The antagonistic Stranger, in all his incarnations, was threatening. Hoodoo is an endearing protagonist. He's perpetually the odd one out - his mother's dead and his father lives in a disgraceful exile, he's the only one in his family without an affinity for hoodoo, and he's often bullied by his peers. I liked his relationship with his crush Bunny. Bunny's not quite a tomboy, but she's athletic, good at ...more
Set in the 1930s in a small town in Alabama, HOODOO is an enticing mix of history and folk magic. Smith's worldbuilding lets you feel the sticky heat of an Alabama summer and taste the juiciness of fried catfish. Meanwhile the arrival of the Stranger and Hoodoo's discoveries of his family secrets are creepy.

I enjoyed getting a glimpse into the spells and mojo bags used in hoodoo magic and following the narrator on his quest to defeat the Stranger. All in all a delightful middle grade story, maki
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
I really enjoyed Hoodoo as a character. He has a strong presence and is easily distinguishable from a lot of characters in this book and others I've read recently. I also liked the setting and the tone of the book. It's set in Alabama in the 1930's, and Hoodoo is having to protect his family from a Stranger bent on destroying his town with black magic. He must use his faith and his family's hoodoo magic to protect them. It's a little eerie, but I wouldn't say it's overly creepy where a reader wo ...more
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, kids, 2016
I would have adored this book as a kid. It's really creepy, but in all the right ways. The beginning was a bit slow, but once it picked up I practically flew through it. I loved reading about the practices of hoodoo and especially liked seeing how Christianity is woven throughout all of the rituals and prayers. My one complaint is the asides used to explain some of the concepts kids might not know. Smith uses the phrase "if you didn't know" a little too much for my taste, especially as he leaves ...more
Belles Middle Grade Library
Wow. This was my 3rd book by Ronald L Smith. I can safely say now, that’s he’s a favorite author. I’ve loved them all so much. This one was just as amazing-& this was his debut novel!! I couldn’t tell at all, & I read that at the back of the book when I finished, & was shocked. So much talent. This story was creepy & full of so much heart at the same time-brilliant. This is set in 1930s Alabama. Hoodoo was born into a family w/a deep tradition of practicing folk magic-Hoodoo(which they named him ...more
Maranda   Melange of Reviews
3/5 stars
You can find all my reviews here.
*Disclaimer: I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Set in Alabama during the 1930s, Hoodoo tells the story of twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher, who is born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic, or 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 shows up in town Hoodoo starts having dreams of a dead man ris
Engrossing and carrying a touch of spooky, Smith’s Hoodoo Hatcher is a 12 year old boy, born into a family in depression era Alabama. With both parents dead, his grandmother (Mama Francis) and Aunt Jelly are his parental figures. Named Hoodoo for the birthmark, he’s been unable to conjure even the smallest of folk-magic spells, unlike the rest of his family.

But, a mysterious stranger comes to town and everything changes. Soon, Hoodoo must find, with the help from his friend Bunny, a way to outw
Hoodoo Hatcher was born with a red mark under the eye, shaped like a heart. That led his grandma to declare he had powerful magic in him, which in turn earned him his first name. Unfortunately poor Hoodoo can't even manage a spell. However, things started to change when a strange and unsettling man came to town looking for him.

This book felt like home away from home, the same way Bayou Magic did but much, much stronger.
The culture of mixing Christianity and Paganism is very common in Togo, incl
Scott Fillner
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes books leave you speechless. Sometimes books leave you wanting more. And sometimes books are so creepy, scary good that you have to put them in the freezer for a bit (Reminded me of Friends episode) This book has all three and more. The figurative and descriptive language in the book is amazing. It has you hanging on words and phrases and even rereading chapters.

Enjoy, but don't say I didn't warn you that it is creeptasticly awesome!
Betsy Cornwell
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
HOODOO is an engrossing and eerie middle grade novel. Following the story of twelve-year-old Hoodoo, a boy from a folk magic practicing family who can't do magic himself, the book perfectly balances chills and sweetness. It's atmospheric and character-based without ever being slow. I loved HOODOO, and I'm looking forward to Ron Smith's next book! ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
glad that I pick this book.
it's all about supernatural, magick, omen, superstition, spell--I learn a lot about hoodoo and it is hella interesting.
the story does a well-done job in creeping me out in some parts, manage to get shiver on me! wow, finally nailed the real sensation of how your hair raises up on your neck.
Hoodoo cannot hoodoo me into 5 stars because I wish for more actions between him and The Stranger. the boy takes a little too long for preparation and all the like. but I am consider
This was kind of cute because of the young narrator, but also so creepy and gothic that I legitimately had trouble getting to sleep last night when I finished reading. XD

The pages dripped with lore and folk magic and religion and I devoured it.

I won't say it's flawless (and I know some might find the fact that it's told in a child's first-person pov annoying, so it's probably not gonna be everyone's cup of tea), but I will say that I enjoyed it a great deal! :D
Hoodoo Hatcher lives with his grandma Mama Frances in rural Alabama in the 1930s. His momma and daddy both died. The Hatchers all practice hoodoo, or magic, and Hoodoo got his name because of a heart shaped birthmark on his face. Hoodoo has tried to do a few spells and it doesn't seem to work for him. Mama Frances and Aunt Jelly tell him his magic will come if he just believes.

Hoodoo sometimes helps out Cousin Zeke by sweeping up at Miss Carter's. One day while he is in the back, he hears a str
Hoodoo Hatcher is basically an average kid living in 1940s rural Alabama. He gets picked on, has a crush on a girl, and struggles with his self esteem. Unlike most others though, he comes from a family of people who practice powerful hoodoo, or folk magic. Hoodoo was named after the practice and yet he has never been able to conjure anything. One day he sees a mysterious stranger in town and senses that trouble is coming. Little does he know that the trouble is tied to his family's past and the ...more
Patrick Samphire
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Take a little bit of David Almond, a touch of Stephen King and a whole lot of atmospheric 1930s, small town Alabama and you might get an idea of this beautifully-written middle grade fantasy.

Hoodoo is the story of twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher, born into a family who all have the the ability to use folk magic, all except Hoodoo himself. But when a mysterious man called 'The Stranger' comes to town, looking for Hoodoo, he is going to have to find his magic.

Hoodoo is a wonderful character: naive,
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Come for the beautiful cover, stay for the diversity and celebration of culture.

You know what is both amazing and really sad? This is the first middle grade book I have ever read where not only the main character, but the vast majority of the characters were PoC and were CELEBRATED because of it. It's not just coincidental that they are PoC, their culture and community and relationships are the core of this book. They are not othered, they are not painted as a single group with all the same beli
Dondee Gocongg
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the book hoodoo this kid his family die every time and he try to find how they die so he look then look he went to the graveyard and he found his dad and mama France right. Mama France said that the one that made the deed come back. At the end he found out who killed them it was a devil that there family sold there soul to and the devil what'd hoodoo soul but hoodoo killed the devil. And he went to heaven and be came a angel. ...more
Erin Cashman
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adored every page of this original and atmospheric middle grade novel. Set in the 1930s, Smith deftly weaves the historical time period into the fast paced narrative, ripe with sinister plots and magic. I adored Hoodoo and rooted for him from the first page. I highly recommend this gem of a novel!
Lee Kelly
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2016 Challenge: 30. A book with a blue cover

This debut is just spectacular. Our narrator Hoodoo is engaging and singular, and I guarantee you his voice is going to stay with you long after you turn the last page. The story manages to be both heartfelt AND extremely spine-chilling, and the setting is so rich and evocative it feels like a character itself. Do not miss this one!!
Kimberley Little
A spine-tingling story of the south in the 1930s about a resilient boy and his family, the love he has for them and the things he'll do to save them - and himself. Loved his best friend, Bunny, too - she was awesome. ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This wound up being a fun little read with bits of scary stuff. I'll recommend this at my store.
Erin Kelly
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It's unique, compelling, and wonderfully written. Hoodoo is an engaging, likable, genuine main character. Enjoyed it from start to finish. ...more
Kenya Wright

My kids and I LOVED this book!!

Banyan fell asleep before I
could finish a chapter,
and the rest of the kids went crazy.

Can I add that this was the first middle grade book to keep my attention since Harry Potter?

Initially, I was looking at the title and wondering if this would s
Jerby  Verderosa
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s definitely been taking me way too long to read lately.

I really should have finished this book much sooner. It’s a fun little novel and not at all long. Other aspects of my life have been intruding on my reading time; I’m going to try my best to read my next novel at a more reasonable pace.

Hoodoo, in many ways, is like savoring a rich piece of Southern dark chocolate. I adored how vivid the descriptions are in this book, from the swamp and the trees and the town to the food. And oh, there i
Arthur Petrosian
Hoodoo by Ronald J Smith is about Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher a boy who can't cast a simple spell.In Hoodoo’s house.Hoodoo’s family practice rich folk magic known as Hoodoo. Hoodoo finds out Hoodoo’s dad murders a man when he was protecting himself and now that man is out looking for hoodoo’s left hand the mandaglore the hand that did the deed. During the book hoodoo and his friend bunny have to find certain materials to make a mojo bag so he can be protected from all these evil spirits and t ...more
Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher, unlike his name, has inherited none of the family's magic for conjuring. But when he attends the fair with his best friend, Bunny, Mrs. Snuff, the fortuneteller, warns him of the Stranger, and tells him to search for the crow. He would dismiss it as nonsense, but then he hears a scream, and finds out the graveyard has been dug up, with the left hands of the bodies cut off. Who could be cutting off bodies in the graveyard? And who is the Stranger? More importantly, ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Donuts & Death: Hoodoo's 1930s Setting 1 4 Aug 26, 2020 11:55AM  
Donuts & Death: Connecting With Family 1 3 Aug 21, 2020 05:53AM  
Donuts & Death: Magical Traditions 1 5 Aug 08, 2020 09:40AM  
Donuts & Death: Hoodoo and Mama Frances 1 3 Aug 04, 2020 08:19AM  
Hoodoo and Mama Frances 1 1 Aug 04, 2020 08:18AM  

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I grew up on Air Force bases and have lived in Japan, Maine, Alabama, Michigan, South Carolina, Delaware, Washington, DC, Illinois and a bunch of other places I don’t remember. After reading Ray Bradbury’s R is for Rocket and Eleanor Cameron’s Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet I fell in love with books.

I haven’t stopped reading since.

HOODOO is my debut middle-grade novel. My second novel, TH

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