I really like this. It’s really sweet. I mean, not at first, but it gets sweet. I love the ending. Absolutely love it. It’s kind of another “queer as monster” story, only this time I think it was more of an “autistic as monster” story. It’s really interesting, and I love the meta in it: evaluating storytelling and bringing in all different types of stories and elements. There are some super creepy parts, especially in the art, and it is overall just a delightful spooky book.
This captivating tale delves into the realm of imagination and magic. In this enchanting story, the author introduces readers to a mystical creature known as the Ojja-Wojja. With its vibrant prose and vivid descriptions, Visaggio transports us to a world where anything is possible. The Ojja-Wojja symbolizes hope and resilience, reminding us that even in the face of adversity, we can find strength within ourselves. Through this short yet powerful narrative, Visaggio explores themes of self-discovery and the boundless power of imagination. "The Ojja-Wojja" is a delightful journey that leaves readers inspired and filled with wonder.
I'm not sure what to think about this one. I wonder if it's maybe trying to do too much. I appreciate that protagonist being on the spectrum and that influencing the plot without defining it. But some aspects are a bit random. More of a niche read, if you're into the supernatural.
THIS WAS SO FUN!
Who among us hasn't wished they could summon demons as an assignment for school?
I always love stories about a group of friends investigating/fighting monsters, so this was great.
I liked how intense it got towards the end, as well as the feel-good ending.
Thank you HarperCollins and NetGalley for the advanced electronic review copy of this book. This is a story about friendship & overcoming obstacles. Creepy art, ghosts, magic, demons, and teenagers combine to make a good ghost story.
The Ojja Wojja focuses on best friends Lanie and June, who are autistic and trans respectively. Their friendship is the cruz of the novel, and their support and love for each other and their differences is very sweet.
The bully plotline felt a bit juvenile, and the two pages spent humanizing her were unnecessary. Using an antisemitic text during the magic rituals is disappointing in a book that celebrates diversity elsewhere. The story was a bit rushed, too, and needed more development in the ending sequence.
The artwork is expressive and the color work does a great job of setting the tone. I read a digital ARC, but I hope print manages to capture the intensity of the colors.
The Ojja-Wojja, by Magdalene Visaggio and Jenn St-Onge, is a middle grade graphic novel. Welcome to Bolingbroke. It's a small town just like any other . . . or so eighth graders Val and Lanie think. They’re the best of best friends—they love the same comics, they watch the same shows, and they’re always there for each other. Which is important when you’re queer, like Lanie, or on the spectrum, like Val, and just don’t seem to fit in anywhere. When a school project about their hometown’s supernatural history leads to a for-real ghost sighting, Val and Lanie realize Bolingbroke might not be as boring as they’d always thought. But after a run-in with the resident middle school queen bee (who also happens to be Lanie’s former friend), they decide to take things to the next level and accidentally summon the Ojja-Wojja, a demonic presence connected to a slew of mysterious tragedies throughout Bolingbroke’s sordid history. Now all heck has broken loose. With the whole town acting weird and nowhere left to turn, it’s going to be up to Val, Lanie, and their small group of friends to return things to normal—if “normal” is even something they want to return to.
The Ojja-Wojja is a well balanced graphic novel. First off, the art is fantastic and gives a great deal of detail and mood to the story. There were several times when small details appeared in the artwork to hint of the actual action or things to come that the characters in the story seem to miss. The art and story were seamless, as they should be in a graphic novel. I loved the story and how well developed the main characters became. I thought the character and world building was very well done. Laine and Val each have aspects that are seen as different by others, and I love that readers get to see how these characters feel and hopefully they might see someone like themselves in one of the pair, or the other residents of the town. Seeing yourself in books is important, as is better understanding how those who are different than you might be thinking or feeling. This book covers a little of both without feeling like it is trying to teach a lesson or feeling preachy. I loved that no character was all good or bad, sometimes pain and confusion can trigger actions that are easily seen as evil or mean. I can see so much room for more character growth and interesting developments in the small town of Bolingbroke as this series continues.
The Ojja-Wojja is a visually and emotional engaging graphic novel with a perfect balance of action and heart.
The Ojja-Wojja is a spooky, fun, and heartwarming graphic novel about misfit best friends Val and Lanie accidentally summoning a demon who feeds on hate and insecurity. Val is autistic and Lanie is trans, both of which I think are done well, but I would look for own voices reviewers when it comes to that. They were both easy to connect with and root for. There is truly nothing more fun for me to read than misfit kids defeating some great evil, and this book nails that. Our main characters have a great, funny friend group who all get to show off their own strengths. Needless to say, this is perfect for my fellow Stranger Things and It (2017) fans. I mean, it features a quirky friend group riding bikes through a small town that's been overtaken by an evil entity! And I loved it.
The art was so beautiful. There are these great interjections where the characters would break the fourth wall and we'd learn about some paranormal event before it'd switch back to the creepy red tones of the novel. The Ojja-Wojja is genuinely scary, and the character designs are adorable and distinct. The choices to cover the eyes and distort the limbs of those affected by the Ojja-Wojja were so creepy and so fitting. It was just great to look at.
Ultimately, this graphic novel checks all my boxes. The art is great, the character is great, and the plot feels like classic horror nostalgia while being totally unique. Plus the themes are great, and there's ample setup for a sequel. This is moving to the top of our library's to-get list. I can't wait to share it with young readers and let them experience the fun, horror, and friendship.
Generational blood sacrifices, demonic possession, and a couple of smalltown, nerdy best friends to stop their families and neighbors from being turned into mind-controlled zombies? The Ojja-Wojja is a perfect graphic novel for fans of video games like Night in the Woods or shows like Stranger Things.
Val and Lanie are longtime best friends and certified weirdos. Between Val being autistic and Lanie coming out as a trans girl, the impending transition to high school is literally scarier than accidentally-on-purpose summoning a demon to help them with the bullies at their middle school. What started out as a homework assignment to learn about the town’s ghost stories is fleshed out really well with the inner conflicts of the two main characters, who are a little scared about what high school will bring to their friendship and are willing to do anything to preserve it.
Of course, I HAVE to talk about the artwork. The visual storytelling in The Ojja-Wojja is some of the best I’ve seen in graphic novels. From distorting the images to express Val’s overstimulation to changing the art-style in the imaginary sequences that Val and Lanie use to cope with difficult situations, the art and the writing bring out the best in each other. In fact, I often gasped when I turned the page and saw a brilliantly horrific full-page illustration or the more abstract distortion and sharp, contrasting colors of the demon’s awakening.
Middle school troubles and relationships thematically connect really well with the horror plot of the book. While the final resolution felt a bit rushed, this is definitely one of my favorite books of the year. The art is charming and expressive (until it turns scary and unnerving) and the characters themselves are so wonderful—even the antagonists are characters want to learn more about.
The Ojja-Wojja by Magdalene Visaggio and illustrated by Jenn St-Onge. Got approved for this one by NetGalley and decided to give it a go on my off day.
This is a cool middle grade horror/mystery graphic novel with great illustrations. It stars an autistic teen and her trans best friend. They have always had trouble making friends, but together, they just click. I thought this was done pretty well and wasn’t heavy handed. And their being different ends up being the crux of the story.
They are investigating local ghosts and rumors for a class paper when they accidentally unleash the Ojja-Wojja, a spirit that eats children and grants wishes.
The climax is filled with these super deep red panels that looked so good on my iPad. Because of the color it felt very Stranger Things and the middle grade content felt like it was mixed in with Goosebumps or something similar. This was a win for me overall.
Personally a 4/5*
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Witchcraft. Demons. And things that go bump in the night. It's a new sort of Bolingbroke town after best friends Val and Lanie accidentally set loose a demon in the woods. It's known as the Ojja Wojja, a monstrous creature that wreaks havoc upon the small town. It's up to them and their small group of outcasts to save their hometown from the Ojja Wojja before it's too late.
Another fabulous horror-themed graphic novel set in a mysterious town where cliques are everything. With perfectly fleshed-out characters and one misunderstood demon, I loved The Ojja Wojja by Magdalene Visaggio. Blood reds and bright oranges paint the scenes after the demon is set loose, and I enjoy every minute of it. From the real-life fandoms that spoke to my heart to the endearing friendship of Lanie and Val, this graphic novel knows what I love. I can't wait for the next book!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!
I am absolutely in love with this story! Our two leads are Val, an autistic girl, and Lanie, a transgender girl. Val gets assigned to do a report for their history teacher on the town's supernatural past, and it ends up leading them to the Ojja-Wojja. During their hunt for the Ojja-Wojja, they end up summoning it and almost doom the entire town to being eternally brainwashed. I love this story, and the characters are written so well! Val being autistic isn't made out to be a joke or something that is merely stated but not shown in her actions. Her autism is intertwined with who she is as a person and it shows how it affects how she views and processes the world around her. I also like that the school bully isn't some one-dimensional straw doll of a character, but is shown to be a person with her own struggles. The story is well done, and at times, very frightening! It does not shy away from the fact that it is a HORROR story. Whilst reading, I turned the page to reveal a terrifying full-page illustration and felt like I had just been jump-scared by the book. It freaked me out, and I'm the kind of person who watches horror games on the regular! The art style is also to die for. I love how the characters are drawn, and the use of color, and sometimes lack of it, really entranced me. Also, I'm very impressed with how they explained magic and rituals! When Lanie talks about certain famous spellbooks and how to protect oneself during rituals, everything she said was one hundred percent correct. It's so nice to see someone did their research when it comes to real-life historical magical practices. The ending of this volume was so good as well, I love it! I don't want to say too much because I don't want to spoil it. I also like how with the last page, they made it so that this can either be a stand-alone book or easily continue into a series. I hope it does continue because I like it so much!
Honestly, I feel like if you like the vibes of Stranger Things, The Craft, or Over the Garden Wall, you'll like The Ojja-Wojja!
This graphic novel was incredible. Visaggio's character writing is impeccable, and her story was well crafted from start to finish. I found the ending especially satisfying and unexpected for a horror story. St-Onge's art is probably the best of her career. I especially liked the balance between the more light hearted artwork earlier in the story to the overtly horrific style of the climax that other artists would struggle with.
Val and Lanie have bonded over being the "others" in the small town of Bolingbroke. Loneliness is what brought them together, but it's their friendship and love of all things nerdy that keeps them together. But when the twosome suddenly stumble on a demonic presence in their sleepy town, Val and Lanie have to do something to stop it, even if it means facing some of their worst fears in the process.
The representation in this graphic novel is amazing! I loved that there was both neurodivergent representation (with autism) and trans representation. The art style also nailed the genre and tone of the book, keeping it light-hearted but also being dynamic and interesting to read. I also loved the dynamic backstory and exploration into identity and friendships! Val and Lanie have a lot of varied friends and experiences and it all combines to make a realistic representation of current kids.
Many of the in-story references thrilled me. From Lord of the Rings to Star Wars, nothing felt out of place as the two characters tried to rationalize the bizarre experiences through the lens of things they were already familiar with. There was also something so fun about taking the traditional story of kids against the world and adding a lot of diverse depth to it that impacted the characters' decisions and actions!
I loved this graphic novel! Even though it's the start to a series, it felt like it completely closed the plot out and let the characters rest. I can't wait to read more of Val and Lanie's eventual adventures.
Thank you to NetGalley, Balzer + Bray, and HarperCollins Children's for providing me with a copy for an honest review!
This was a really well done graphic novel, it had a great story within it and the art was perfect for this story. The characters were great and I loved how they dealt with the supernatural elements within. I'm glad I got to read this.
This is a great late middle grade graphic novel, and I loved the characterizations of the central pair. The story was engaging, the supernatural elements were intriguing, and the art style paired perfectly with the book's tone and narrative too.
This graphic novel is effortless to love!
It has a variety of representations (Autism and Transgender representation?! <3), honestly, such a realistic and adorable friendship PLUS fanfiction, self-discovery, magic, cults and sci-fi. OH, and did I mention GHOSTS?!
Switching between imagination and paranormal activities was a fun, creative addition to the style and story. However, we stayed true to our main character and kept a lightness in the story as it got darker.
Also, while it doesn't excuse her actions, I understand that Andrea does not want to be sick or go back to her illness being seen.
I loved how the monster was integrated and saved; it was healing and a pleasant twist!