Inside Hudson Pickle

Questions Hudson Pickle has on his mind (in no particular order):

1. Is his uncle Vic an arsonist, a drug dealer or both?

2. Why does Willow Flores want to hang out with him?

3. Will he make his junior high school basketball team?

4. Why won’t his childhood asthma go away?

5. Who is his father?

Little does thirteen-year-old Hudson know that the answers will shake him right down to his core.

Cut from AAA hockey last season, seventh-grader Hudson Pickle needs to make the basketball team this year. But, after having an asthma attack at the first tryout, his chances aren’t looking good. His former best friend, Trevor, is also trying out. But he won’t even speak to Hudson since Hudson had all but ignored him while concentrating on hockey. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, now his uncle Vic — who’s been staying with him and his mom since a suspicious fire at his house —has been diagnosed with a genetic respiratory illness. Could this mean Hudson has something worse than asthma? And while this DNA mystery is being unraveled, will the truth about what happened to his father finally be revealed as well?

Yolanda Ridge’s compelling coming-of-age novel for middle-graders combines humor, action and mystery — with a dose of genetic science to keep things interesting. It offers a rich reading experience with complex characters and a multilayered story. Thoughtful, authentic and likeable Hudson will inspire readers with the grit and perseverance he relies on to get through his difficulties, and the self-deprecating wit he uses to manage middle-school social dynamics, evolving friendships and a changing family structure. There are also multiple mysteries running throughout the story — involving Hudson’s father, his uncle and his own health — that are sure to keep the pages turning.

Inside Hudson Pickle (Kids Can Press, 2017) is available through your local bookstore or online retailers (Bookshop, Indiebound, Chapters Indigo, Barnes&Noble, Books-A-Million, Amazon and others).

Awards & Acknowledgments

Red Cedar Book Award Nomination, BC Young Readers Choice Award, 2018/19

Chocolate Lily Award Short List, Novel Category (grades 4-7), 2019

Best Books for Kids and Teens, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Spring 2018

Junior Library Guild Selection, Junior Library Guild, Fall 2017


“Inside Hudson Pickle tackles every insecurity, fear, and emotion a middle-school boy could muster, while also painting a realistic and beautiful picture of a family struck by tragedy and a single mother doing everything she can to protect that family. I would recommend this book to all readers of all ages.”

Hannah, March 19, 2018 (#kidlitexchange)

“I had a blast with this book. The story is amazing with questions you want to know and boy it give you the answers. The characters make you feel like you just wanna jump in the book and hang out with them.”

JM, Student Reviewer, 7th Grade,  October 17, 2017 (Kiss the Book)

“The author does an amazing job at capturing the voice and concerns of a 7th-grade kid… This book covers topics such as bullying, lying but they are dealt with in a way that doesn’t glorify the activities and opens the door to greater discussions. The tone of the book was upbeat, and the storyline was nicely paced.”

Nicole Caulde  October 17, 2017 (Grits & Grace)

“Hudson Pickle is far from ordinary. His father is gone, his uncle may be involved with drugs, his best friend is ignoring him and a girl named Willow seems interested in him. While trying to make the basketball team, and figuring out a career, as well as trying to solve the fire at his uncle’s, he discovers a mystery involving his own DNA. This entertaining story will have readers aged nine to 12 laughing and cheering for Hudson as they turn the pages to eagerly learn the truth.”

Barbra Hesson  October 7, 2017 (Calgary Herald)

“The narrative tackles a variety of topics: asthma, a fire investigation, amateur sleuthing, and Hudson’s attempts to figure out why words never come out right when he talks to his basketball practice teammate Willow. Readers will enjoy this fast-paced book about awkward middle school adventures, the mysteries of genetics, and one boy’s efforts to cope with dark family secrets….Fans of novels about sports and family drama, such as Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover, will appreciate this realistic tale.”

School Library Journal  July 1, 2017 (Book Verdict)

“There were several interesting topics covered in this book, but they were presented in an intriguing fashion and written about in an engaging way. The book starts with the fire, and I loved that while Hudson knew full well that it was A Bad Thing, he couldn’t help but be excited about his uncle moving in with him! The interactions with Willow were perfect– embarrassing, but completely understandable. I found myself really interested in Hudson’s medical problems, probably even more than I was about his father. The tone of this was generally upbeat, but in a typical irritated, middle school way. Working in both hockey and basketball is inspired. I enjoyed this a lot, and think the cover is great as well.”

Ms. Yingling Reads June 1, 2017 (Goodreads)