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Red Rider's Hood

Red Rider's Hood

3.8 10
by Neal Shusterman

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In this second entry in Neal Shusterman's Dark Fusion series, he twists the familiar fairy tale "Red Riding Hood" into a brooding story about a city plagued by gangs. Red, a boy famous for cruising around in a bloodcolored Mustang, takes on the Wolves after they rob his grandmother. He decides to beat them by joining them, to learn their weaknesses. After a while,


In this second entry in Neal Shusterman's Dark Fusion series, he twists the familiar fairy tale "Red Riding Hood" into a brooding story about a city plagued by gangs. Red, a boy famous for cruising around in a bloodcolored Mustang, takes on the Wolves after they rob his grandmother. He decides to beat them by joining them, to learn their weaknesses. After a while, however, he finds himself drawn to the pack. At the next full moon, will Red take up their murderous ways, or will he take them down? Ingenious twists and turns come fast and furious in this urban thriller.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
One of the books in Shusterman's "Dark Fusion" series, this one takes the fairy tale of "Red Riding Hood" and gives it a unique twist. In this case, the Red Rider is a young man of mixed cultural heritage whose grandparents used to be werewolf hunters. Red finds himself pulled into the crossfire when the current group of wolves, under the leadership of Cedric Soames, attacks his grandmother and steals his red Mustang. Determined to bring down Cedric and his band, Red infiltrates the group and proves himself to be a potential candidate for a werewolf. But as he gets to know the members of the gang, he finds his loyalties shifting, and he begins to understand how difficult it is to turn one's back on power and a charismatic leader, even when one knows the truth of the situation. I did appreciate the "grayness" of many of the main character's personalities and how many of the characters are doing what they consider the best for their own families and friends. Nevertheless, by the end of the book, the "evil" characters have taken their place in the darkness and force others to make their decisions one way or the other. The book has a satisfying ending that will certainly surprise. Younger teens will enjoy this book. 2005, Dutton Children's Books/Penguin, Ages 12 to 15.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
"Wow, Grandma . . . What gnarly teeth you have." Fusing the tale of "Little Red Riding Hood" with werewolf legends, Shusterman crafts a fast-moving story about tough teenager Red Rider, who tools around his dangerous urban neighborhood with its gangs of Wolves and Crypts in his blood red Mustang. When his grandmother is mugged by some of the Wolves and Red learns that they're really werewolves, he joins the gang as a pledge in order to bring them down. However, he finds he must fight the growing urge to join them. This sinister, imaginative series (Dread Locks was reviewed in KLIATT in May 2005; Ugly Duckling is due out in March 2006) will appeal to fantasy fans as well as reluctant readers. Red Rider's Hood features lots of action and creepy details (e.g., the Crypts are really vampire bats who suck all the blood from their victims), and the cover, depicting a sweatshirt-hooded youth, a red Mustang, and a werewolf under a full moon, will attract an audience. (Dark Fusion, Book 2). KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Penguin, Dutton, 176p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-This is the second book in a series that melds fairy tales, myths, and legends. When readers first meet Red, he is riding to Grandma's house in his newly refurbished red Mustang. Already, it's clear that this is not the fairy tale they heard when they were little. Red arrives at Grandma's, delivering some "bread" (money), and when he gets there, he is confronted by a member of a gang called the Wolves. Grandma has been thrown in the basement, the Wolves take her bread, and the chaos begins. Soon, Red finds out that the gang members are actually werewolves who change when the full moon rises, and he's surprised to discover that his grandmother is a werewolf hunter, determined to eliminate them. At first, Red and his friend Marissa join forces with her, but problems arise when he infiltrates the gang to gather information and begins to feel a bond with them. Ultimately, it is his confusion about which side he is really on that could be his downfall. This installment in the series would be best for younger YAs as older teens might miss the good old-fashioned blood and guts that they look for in werewolf stories. The inclusion of a rival girl gang of vampires adds little to the story, but Red's journey is fast paced and suspenseful.-Kimberly L. Paone, Elizabeth Public Library, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Shusterman's second Dark Fusion outing follows Dread Locks (April 15, 2005) in adding folktale elements to a contemporary teen horror tale. Here, 16-year-old Red finds himself wrestling with conflicting loyalties after he joins the Wolves, a werewolf street gang, as a spy for his werewolf-hunter Grandma. Set on fictional mean streets (one significant encounter takes place at the corner of Andersen and Grimm) and featuring a melting pot cast that includes the Crypts, a rival gang of female vampire shape-changers led by Red's former babysitter, this page-turner winds briskly into a suspenseful battle beneath the full moon, and ends with multiple twists. Fine fare for a solitary evening's reading, and middle range on the gruesomeness scale. (Fantasy. YA). . . Silberberg, AlanPOND SCUMHyperion (304 pp.)$15.99Oct. 1, 2005

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Dark Fusion Series , #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.21(w) x 6.91(h) x 0.51(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Neal Shusterman is an award-winning author and screenwriter.  He lives in Southern California with his four children.

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Red Rider's Hood (Dark Fusion Series #2) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Lydia_McMullan More than 1 year ago
Neal Shusterman has done it again! With 181 large print pages Red Rider's Hood will take you by surprise. This book is told in the main character Red’s point of view. His town is infested with Werewolves (who as humans are all in a gang called the Wolves). With some help from a secretive werewolf killer and a determined girl he attempts to kill them once and for all. The Werewolf leader, Cedric Soames, has gathered even more Werewolves to keep killing humans every full moon. A “pledge” for the Wolves named Marvin Flowers has a sister who isn’t ready to believe that her brother could be a Werewolf, but in spite of that, she works with Red and The werewolf hunter to bring an end to Werewolves for good. It’s hard to feel safe in a bad urban area with gangs everywhere, but Red is brave, and reckless. He joins The wolves as a pledge to learn their names, their attack plans, and slowly but surely gain their trust, for now... I think this book is only for some people. If you like werewolves you’ll like this book because it’s a more action packed modern “Little Red Riding Hood”, of course Red is a boy this time. I recommend this book to kids from 4th-8th grade. If you’re a fast reader or just read a lot this book can be finished in two days tops. This book does mention death but does not mention blood or describe gross features, and With the mention of guns, violence, gangs, and the lack of illustrations this book would not be good for young children. This isn’t the best book in the world but if it sounds good to you it’s worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Aksnowbunny More than 1 year ago
All year my brother been reading excellent books (one's I've heard of ). He told me about this series of the darkfusion. I completely enjoyed the reading experience. I was thrilled and read each book a day. I don't want to give anything away by talking about the book. Two words treats and werewolf's. Pick this book up and read it you won't be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
o.K. Red who is your main character finds himself mixed up in a world of werewolfs and vampires! You just have to read this book it kept me reading until I finished. I finished it in a day! New record for me, imagine what could happen to you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
red riders hood is a book that has action and suspense. It also has a few disapointing spots but overall this book should recive a socer off three stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about a young man who hunts down evil werewolves, while joining them for infiltration, but realizing his hunger to roam free and kill. It was slow paced and very boring- C-