What to read in March 2024

Open book in front of a stack of hardback books on wooden table with a turquoise background.

As you know, I’m following two book clubs. One is hosted by my local library and the other, a neighborhood group. The library picked The Life and Crimes of Hoodi Rosen by Isaac Blum. The neighborhood group took a break for March since most everyone was traveling, so I used the 2024 Reading Challenge hosted by Books By Britton as a substitute. I selected Just My Type by Falon Ballard.

Both books were great in vastly different ways. It’s been a while since I read a YA book and The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen didn’t disappoint. It is a serious take at what anti-semitism looks like from a teenager’s point of view.

On the other hand, the rom-com Just My Type was light, easy-to-read and made me laugh. Which I needed after reading Hoodie’s story.

The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rose by Isaac Blum

Book cover of The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen by Isaac Blum

Book description from Kobo.com

Hoodie Rosen’s life isn’t that bad. Sure, his entire Orthodox Jewish community has just picked up and moved to the quiet, mostly non-Jewish town of Tregaron, but Hoodie’s world hasn’t changed that much. He’s got basketball to play, studies to avoid, and a supermarket full of delicious kosher snacks to eat. The people of Tregaron aren’t happy that so many Orthodox Jews are moving in at once, but that’s not Hoodie’s problem.

That is, until he meets and falls for Anna-Marie Diaz-O’Leary—who happens to be the daughter of the obstinate mayor trying to keep Hoodie’s community out of the town. And things only get more complicated when Tregaron is struck by a series of antisemitic crimes that quickly escalate to deadly violence.

As his community turns on him for siding with the enemy, Hoodie finds himself caught between his first love and the only world he’s ever known.

My Take

This story could actually happen today. It probably has, though I’m not sure the news would cover it in a way that is this insightful. Blum shows the reader what it’s like to be the new kid in a town where different isn’t accepted. The author’s choice of protagonist elevated made the novel both down-to-earth and impactful. Maybe it’s just me, but seeing the story unfold from the eyes of from 15-year olds was refreshing.

I also learned more about the Torah and the complexity of Jewish laws and traditions. This YA novel was a quick read and I think it would be interesting for adults as well as young adults.

Just My Type by Falon Ballard

Cover of the book Just My Type by Falon Ballard

Book description from Kobo.com

Lana Parker is an expert girlfriend. After a disastrous breakup with her high school boyfriend, she’s bounced from long-term relationship to long-term relationhip and even works as the dating and relationships columnist for one of Los Angeles’s trendiest websites. But when Lana suddenly finds herself single, she’s ready to take a break, both personally and professionally.

That is, until her high school ex, Seth Carson, takes an assignment at Lana’s site. Having spent years traveling the world as a freelance journalist, Seth’s finally ready to put down roots. Seth and Lana’s chemistry is just as combative—and undeniable—as ever and quickly leads to a competition that could shape both of their careers. Pitted against each other by Lana’s boss, they are each tasked with writing an article series that goes against their usual dating type: Lana needs to write about being single and staying single, while Seth must learn to settle down and become boyfriend material. Whoever’s series is most popular wins a highly coveted dream job. But when the two square off, it’s not only their careers on the line—it’s also their hearts.

My Take

This was a light-hearted take on what happens with unresolved love issues. Nothing particularly surprising, but it was fun to read. The competition between Lana and Seth is entertaining, and I particularly enjoyed the plant challenge. Lana is a fast-thinker!

Like I said before, I enjoyed this book because it is lighter than some books I’ve tackled this year (looking at you Demon Copperhead). There is a message in this book, but it is done in a comedic manner.

Word of warning: the book is full of expletives and some sex scenes. If that’s not your thing, I’d skip this one.

What am I listening to?

Nothing this month. I’m doing more reading digitally lately, so I’ll give a shout out to My Roommate is a Vampire by Jenna Levine. Another fun, light-hearted book that made me laugh. This book also comes with an expletive and sex scene warning, but it was entertaining to discover what would happen if your roommate turned out to be a vampire. And it isn’t what I thought.

Until next time…