Bad Mojo

Children - Preteen
167 Pages
Reviewed on 05/22/2019
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Author Biography

Eva Blackstone has always been fascinated by language and storytelling. She was eleven when she won her first poetry contest and has been writing poetry, short stories, and full-length novels ever since. The power of friendship is a common theme in all of her work. She currently lives near the Great Lakes with her two human children, and two furry children.

    Book Review

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.

Louanne Piccolo

No-one actually wants to be cursed, do they? Bobby Thompson certainly does, because then there will be a valid reason for his mother to be in a coma. It also means that if he can shake off the curse, he’ll be able to cure her. Flyn, one of Bobby’s foster home friends, tells him that her aunt, a voodoo priestess, can help but he isn’t sure he believes her. After his curse causes a series of bad events, Bobby finally agrees to meet her. The problem is that Katrina – a category 5 hurricane – is bearing down on New Orleans where Flyn’s aunt lives, and Bobby is expected at a court hearing. Artfully written Bad Mojo by Eva Blackstone will have you asking: will the children find their way to New Orleans before the hurricane hits? And will Flyn’s aunt be able to help?

This fast-paced middle-grade novel builds in momentum, hurtling young readers towards a satisfying ending while teaching them the values of friendship, honesty, and forgiveness. Bad Mojo, all about high-octane adventure for children of ten and older, is a character-driven book showing the growth and development of Bobby and Flyn as they work their way through the tough situations that life has doled out to them. The book’s characters ring true to young readers as they behave in ways consistent with their age and context. Eva Blackstone draws readers irresistibly into the story while teaching valuable life lessons, in the most humorous and compelling way. Bad Mojo – be ready for the full range of emotions this book will evoke in you!

Maria Beltran

Bad Mojo by Eva Blackstone is a story designed for pre-teen readers. Bobby Thompson, a twelve-year-old boy living in a foster home in Illinois, is convinced he is cursed and that it has already affected everyone around him; his father, mother and the six pets he has owned since elementary school. Things take a turn for the worse as Bobby feels responsible when his mother's hospital roommate dies, a bully is hospitalized, his foster Mom's license is in jeopardy and he accidentally starts a fire. Taking his cue from Flyn, a friend in the foster home, who dabbles in tarot card reading and claims that only her voodoo priestess aunt can break the curse, Bobby escapes to New Orleans where the priestess lives. Together with Flyn and Genius, Bobby embarks on a journey that will change his life, hopefully for the better, but will it?

Eva Blackstone's Bad Mojo is an engaging story about a young boy and his mission to rid himself of a very bad curse. The setting of the story is the present time and it takes place across a number of states from Illinois to New Orleans in the U.S. It is easy to empathize with Bobby Thompson, so much so that after reading a few pages, we wish him all the luck in the world in ridding himself of his curse. Bad Mojo, however, is a magical realism novel that not only entertains, it also exposes a number of social issues like bullying and domestic violence among others. Dialogue and action-driven, Eva Blackstone's creative writing style results in a book every preteen should find precious time to read!

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Bad Mojo by Eva Blackstone is a preteen adventure story. Bobby believes that he is cursed. Everything around him just goes wrong and he can't stay out of trouble. He lives in a foster home with Flynn, Genius, Pip and Brock and Masha, their foster mother. When Flyn does a tarot card reading, she confirms he is cursed and only her aunt can break it. The problem is she lives in New Orleans and Bobby has no intention of trying to get there. One fateful night changes everything and Bobby, Flyn, and Genius go on the run to New Orleans. The police are on their trail but the kids become adept at hiding and escaping from their clutches. As they near New Orleans, the three friends are heading into the eye of more than one storm and this is one curse that really doesn’t want to be broken. Can they make it to Flyn’s aunt or is Bobby’s curse about to put them in real trouble?

Bad Mojo by Eva Blackstone is a fantastically written story, full of adventure and with every emotion you could possibly think of running through its pages. There’s humor, sadness, tears, anger; Eva Blackstone has also touched on many real issues that affect children the world over. We’ve got bullying, domestic violence, runaway kids, suicide, voodoo, foster care, disabilities and so much more, all dealt with perfectly and all wrapped up in one amazing story. You really do feel for Bobby all the way through the story – no kid should ever have that much bad luck in his life! I also love the way that Hurricane Katrina was brought into the story and depicted with all the reality and emotion that was there when the storm hit in 2005. The characters are wonderful, really likable, and the plot was steady and full of action all the way through. This book may have been written for kids, and they will love it, but adults can learn a lot from this too.

Lesley Jones

In Bad Mojo by Eva Blackstone, in Bobby Thompson's twelve years, he has experienced much tragedy and heartache. As he finds himself in a foster home, he strongly believes that the bad luck that follows him wherever he goes must mean only one thing. He is cursed and his friends at the home, Genius and Flyn, agree. All he wants is for his mother to wake from her coma, then he can sell his only possession of prized baseball cards and have a chance of a fresh start with her. After losing his baseball cards to the local bully, Bobby's frustration lands him in trouble with the police. Facing a bleak future, Bobby must rid himself of his curse and Flyn believes she has the answer. However, for her plan to work, they must leave the foster home and seek the help of her aunt three states away in New Orleans. Bobby is unsure but following a disaster at the home, Bobby, Flyn, and Genius have no choice but to leave in search of Flyn's aunt. As the three friends risk everything to reach their destination, and with the police searching for them, they are unaware that Hurricane Katrina is moving ever closer, destroying everything in her path and maybe Bobby's chance of a cure too.

Bad Mojo by Eva Blackstone may have been written for middle-grade children, but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the story. The descriptive narrative truly transported me into Bobby's shoes. I loved his character. He was flawed with a bad temper but the excellent way the author depicted his past experiences explained why he reacted the way he did. Flyn was an amazing character; strong, resilient and an emotional rock to the other children. There were superb chunks of humor throughout, especially the counter-hexing ceremony and when they were disguising themselves from the police. The relationship between the three friends was quite heartwarming and their relationship developed perfectly as they faced a string of dangerous events on their journey. Although the story covered serious issues such as child abuse and domestic violence, these were tackled with sensitivity and realism that the age range of the reader could understand. The author has an amazing ability to create sensational characters and narrative that transport us into their world. An amazing story that every child (or adult) would thoroughly enjoy.