January 27, 2021

Oh My Gods!

Written by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick
Illustrated by Juliana Moon
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
208 pp.
Ages 8-12
January 2021
When her mother has to relocate to curate a gallery show, thirteen-year-old Karen is sent to stay with her father, Zed, a man she barely knows, in Mt. Olympus.
From Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, illus. by Juliana Moon
She's surprised by his extravagance, from the carriage drawn by horses in winged costumes at the airport, to her multiple rooms at his mansion, at ordering every type of pizza imaginable since he doesn't know what she likes, and even the wrist corsage he gets her for her first day at Mt. Olympus Junior High. Not only is her dad the mayor of Mt. Olympus, he's the dean of her school. The man is ubiquitous, as well as charming and wealthy.
From Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, illus. by Juliana Moon
Karen is shown around the school by a really fast guy, Hermes, who introduces her to the different groups, from the Titans football team, to the Fates, random Jeff and the kids of the Mythbusters group who take Karen under their wing. There's the bright Tina who offers to catch her up; the kindly Dita; the guitar-playing Pol; and his sister Art who is wicked with a bow and arrow. 
From Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, illus. by Juliana Moon
When a boy is turned to stone in the library where Karen and Tina are studying, the group meet at a local diner and peruse a book on Monsters and Mythological Creatures, suggesting that a Gorgon might be at work. Karen is flummoxed by their earnestness, convinced they must be part of a LARPing group, that is, until they reveal themselves to be the gods and goddesses Apollo (Pol), Athena (Tina), Aphrodite (Dita), and Artemis. Learning that her father is a god as well, and that Karen may be a demigoddess whose powers could come in at puberty, all the weirdness of her new situation makes some sense.
From Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, illus. by Juliana Moon
But, there's still the mystery of the boy turned to stone which escalates when Pol is similarly transformed and there is a worry that Karen's arrival may be related to these bizarre crimes.

While fitting in to a new school, making new friends, and establishing a relationship with a previously-absentee father may be familiar circumstances for some young people, Karen's new life is anything but. By telling Karen's coming-of-age story in a world based on the immortals of Greek mythology, Toronto author Stephanie Cooke and American author Insha Fitzpatrick have added a playful dimension to this graphic novel.  Everything is a little more fantastic, from the characters and their abilities–details are provided in "Karen's Mythology Notes!!!" at the book's conclusion–to Karen's naive accounting for the weirdness she perceives–like centaurs as drama students really committed to their craft–and the inclusion of so many elements of Greek mythology. Every new reveal, like the diner called Ambrosia and the Fates literally bumping into Karen and her friends and saying "We didn't see this coming" (pg. 123), is cheeky and entertaining. While the illustrations by Brazilian digital artist Juliana Moon have given Karen and her friends the normalcy of young teens with their backpacks, clothes and hair, she also embeds it in the mythological Mt. Olympus and makes it realistic.  

I've just learned that this is a series–yay!–and Oh My Gods! is just OMGs #1. The next book, titled The Forgotten Maze, is due out in January 2022, and this is particularly welcome as Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick have left us with an impending adventure starring Jeff and a maze, as well as with wanting to know if and how Karen discovers her powers as a demigoddess.


  1. I love the sound of this one! I know who is getting this as a birthday gift. Thanks for the great review.

    1. Thanks, Darlene, for always being such a great supporter of CanLit for LittleCanadians.