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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Bad Mojo is a historical coming of age novel for preteens and young adults written by Eva Blackstone. They were all one family, an outwardly disparate one made up of outcast kids gathered lovingly together by Masha, a Russian emigrée who juggled children’s services and irate neighbors adroitly as she kept her kids safe and fed. Bobby had a secret; one he could never tell another living soul. His mom had been the world to him until that night when the physical abuse his dad inflicted on Bobby’s mom had become too much. Now his dad was dead, and his mom had never recovered from the coma the doctors had induced in order to operate and remove the bullet in her head. Flyn seemed changed after that last visiting day as well. And it wasn’t just that her mom had shaved Flyn’s head bald in her belief that everyone in Masha’s house had head lice. There was something else driving her as Flyn decided to help Bobby get rid of the bad luck that seemed to be dogging his every move. Bobby seemed almost relieved to think of his past as evidence of bad mojo, of a curse laid upon him. Flyn’s promise to help him be free of it was even more welcome -- even if he wasn’t entirely convinced of going to New Orleans to be treated by her Voodoo-priestess aunt. Bobby would rather Flyn herself cast the right spells to free him. But as one bad thing snowballed into the next, the two found themselves on a bus that was southward bound and headed to Louisiana.
Bad Mojo is an awesome and intense road trip story that follows Bobby and Flyn as they travel south to New Orleans. There’s a sense of foreboding one can’t help but feel as the two travel towards the city most are fleeing from as Hurricane Katrina roars ever closer. Blackstone’s story is a compelling one; her characters are outstanding and unforgettable, not only Bobby and Flyn but their friend Genius, carer Masha, and John Burgess, the janitor who knows exactly what needs to be done and stands out larger than life. And while this book is ostensibly about children who have no families, it far more eloquently demonstrates that the most powerful and enduring families are those we gather about us as we live our lives. Bad Mojo is categorized as a book for preteens; however, I believe it will speak to readers of all ages. There’s just so much there, and it’s all so beautifully laid out for the perceptive reader to discover. Bad Mojo is a book not to be missed or passed over -- it’s that good. It’s most highly recommended.