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3.8  ·  Rating details ·  788 Ratings  ·  227 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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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
Richard Denney
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


"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
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
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars, reviewed
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!
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
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
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
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,
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 scare the crap out of the kids. 

I mean Hoodoo is folk magic.

Most entertainment views 

of it tends to be pretty creepy.

But, this book was just PERFECT.

It held mine and the kids' a
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
This isn't the kind of thing I would normally pick up (too spoopy) but it had been highly recommended by a few people whose opinion I respect (and also I was looking for a short-ish audiobook) soo I checked it out. I loved the voice (literally, since I listened to this on audio) and the strong historical/cultural grounding.

A great, not-too-scary story, that's also a great historical fiction story about life in the Jim Crow South.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good stand-alone, somewhat spooky story about a boy in small-town Alabama in the 1930s who would like to practice Hoodoo (i.e. Voodoo), but can't quite figure it out, even though the rest of his family can. I liked the voice of the narrator/main character and the way he explained potentially difficult words and "foreign" (i.e. Southern) foods.
Bruce Gargoyle
4.5 stars
A "Top Book of 2015" pick

I received a digital copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley.

Ten Second Synopsis:
When Hoodoo meets a sinister Stranger who seems to know who he is, he finds out that secrets have been kept from him by the people he trusts most. With an ancestral power brewing inside him, Hoodoo must puzzle out the riddle of his family's past and defeat the Stranger - or watch as the people he loves are destroyed.

What an original little offering this book is! I trul
Hoodoo is a richly atmospheric ghost story in the African American oral storytelling tradition. In fact, the entire story is written as if it is being told to an audience, and like those old orals, there are interactive and theatrical elements throughout. Hoodoo repeatedly breaks the fourth wall in exaggerated asides to explain words and phrases to the listener. I say listener, because; again, it feels like the story is actually being read aloud and the narrator expects the listener to engage wi ...more
Sharon Tyler
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
HooDoo is a middle grade novel by Ronald L. Smith. 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 ...more
Danielle DeNoble
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(ARC) Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith is about Hoodoo Hatcher, a 12-year-old boy born into the only family in town to practice folk magic. His name, however, is the only hoodoo he has in him. That is until a mysterious and frightening figure known only as the Stranger comes to town. Hoodoo, with the help of his family, his friend Bunny, and some other strange acquaintances, uncovers the secrets, spells, tools, and courage needed to rid his little Alabama town of this unwelcome visitor.

Even though I a
Carla Johnson-Hicks
I am ranking this book as if I am a Middle School Student. This is not the type of book I normally read, but I believe that Middle School Children, especially boys and reluctant readers would really get into this story.

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. He was named Hoodoo because he had a birthmark and when he was born, his grandmot
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Ronald L. Smith’s novel Hoodoo, twelve year old Hoodoo Hatcher’s family has a history of practicing hoodoo or folk magic, but despite his name Hoodoo can’t cast a single spell. His grandmother Mama Frances tells him that his heart-shaped birthmark under his eye is a sign he’s marked for magic and his ability to conjure will come in time, but Hoodoo’s time is rapidly running out. A mysterious and malevolent Stranger has appeared in town and he’s stalking Hoodoo. Hoodoo has to discover the trut ...more
The creepy Southern swamp atmosphere of Ronald L. Smith's Hoodoo is particularly effective. And the crow with the glowing eyes on the cover works well also. Hoodoo makes for a highly sympathetic character as he struggles with harnessing his hoodoo magic in time to defeat the stranger who has arrived in his small town looking for him. This stranger turns out to be a daemon who wants something Hoodoo has and is willing to hurt everyone that Hoodoo cares about to get it. But Hoodoo has never learne ...more
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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
More about Ronald L. Smith
“You got to face your evil, Hoodoo," Zeke said. "If people don't face the danger that's seeking them, evil will find them first.” 1 likes
More quotes…