Some Kind of Hate

  • Review
By – November 7, 2022

Declan is his base­ball team’s star pitch­er until the day he care­less­ly shows off for a girl, climbs an inse­cure rock fac­ing, and falls off, bad­ly break­ing his arm and dam­ag­ing his hand. A com­bi­na­tion of surgery, phys­i­cal ther­a­py, and rest ends his ath­let­ic career and strains his fam­i­ly’s already-pre­car­i­ous finances. While his friends con­tin­ue to play sports and social­ize, Declan stews at home in anger and plays video games, some of which are used by anti­se­mit­ic and hate-mon­ger­ing groups to recruit new mem­bers to their ranks. Declan, filled with rage and com­plete­ly bored, is sus­cep­ti­ble to their over­tures and becomes part of one of these mili­tia-style groups. He no longer iden­ti­fies with his close friends, some of whom are Jew­ish. Declan sinks deep­er into this new online world, going so far as to join the group in some of their vio­lent and hate­ful activ­i­ties. He adopts neo-Nazi imagery and ter­mi­nol­o­gy despite his twin sister’s efforts to remind him of who he is and where his roots lie.

Declan’s new friends plan an attack on a syn­a­gogue and he even­tu­al­ly real­izes, too late, that he has tak­en too many steps into a hor­ri­fy­ing world he can­not con­trol. He can only accept his con­se­quences and strive toward atone­ment. This por­trait of a con­fused teen, ripe for manip­u­la­tion, is worth read­ing and tak­ing to heart. It high­lights the many dan­gers that sur­round us and the impor­tance of stay­ing edu­cat­ed and vigilant.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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