Lola, A Ghost Story by J. Torres

Lola, A Ghost Story by J. Torres. Illustrated by Elbert Or

Pages: 102
Ages: 12+
First Published: Jan. 13, 2010
Publisher: Oni Press
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

The Tagalog word for grandmother is “Lola”.

Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Interlibrary Loan.

Reason for Reading: This was a Cybils ‘10 nominee and as a panelist for Graphic Novels was required reading for me. The panelists did not receive a review copy from the publisher and like most other panelists, I, unfortunately, was unable to find a copy before our nominations were due. My copy from Interlibrary Loan request had just now come in.

This is a great ghost story told in the classic tradition and very worthy to be read by all ghost story aficionados. Jesse sees dead people, goblins, demons, monsters, etc. but he’s learned to stop telling anyone since his parents’ and teachers’ reactions have been less than accepting. Now he and his family are traveling “home” to the Philippines; Jesse’s parents immigrated to Canada when he was four and this is his third visit here. He hates it here. They have come for the funeral of his grandmother, “Lola” in Filipino. The culture of his Filipino family is quite hard for Jesse to accept, they are devout Catholics, carrying Rosaries, with beautiful shrines of worship in the house and yet they are steeped in the superstitions of tradition. Lola had the “gift” and he’s heard all the stories of how she’s helped the community and even defeated demons. Jesse fears what it will be like here now that Lola is gone.

A fabulous story with lots of creepy moments. The tension mounts slowly through the story. Things start happening right away and the reader becomes unsettled knowing something is not quite right. Gradually we learn what is going on, and Jesse realizes the truth as well. His cousin easily figures out Jesse’s gift and berates him for hiding it, telling him it is a gift from God and he must use it. He has something he must do before he leaves. Then like any really good ghost story the book ends with a really fantastic heart-pounding shocker of an ending where one can only imagine what comes next. Loved this one!

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