Star Wars Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
Published: August 27th 2013 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published August 1st 2013)
Format/Source: Paperback ARC from BEA 2013
Genre: Childrens/Middle Grade Science Fiction Graphic Novel
New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Jeffrey Brown takes readers to a middle school in a galaxy far, far away…
This incredible, original story captures all of the humor, awkwardness, fun, and frustrations of middle school–all told through one boy’s comics, journal entries, letters, doodles, and newspaper clippings. The setting? A galaxy far, far away…
Roan’s one dream is to leave home and attend Pilot Academy like his older brother, father, and grandfather. But just as Roan is mysteriously denied entrance to Pilot School, he is invited to attend Jedi Academy–a school that he didn’t apply to and only recruits children when they are just a few years old. That is, until now…
This inventive novel follows Roan’s first year at Jedi Academy where, under the tutelage of Master Yoda, he learns that he possesses more strength and potential than he could have ever dreamed. Oh, and he learns other important things too–like how to make a baking soda volcano, fence with a lightsaber, slow dance with a girl, and lift boulders with the Force.
I thought this book was amazing when I first got little buttons with the cartoon figures on them like little superlatives from a yearbook. The book didn’t disappoint.
I grew up a HUGE Star Wars fan. To the point where I call Hans Solo my first love. So I loved reading a children’s graphic novel with a little spin on the universe. Sure, it’s not directly true to ‘canon’ but does it matter at this point? It’s cute, with Yoda teaching all the kids each day and Jedi Academy set up just like an American middle school with schedules and lockers. There were so many little things that I chuckled at. Like the school newspaper is called ‘The Padawan Observer’. Or the little pages of ‘Things Yoda Said Today’ or my absolute favorite: Ewok Pilot. (I’d read an entire book of that feature.)
Beyond the ‘cute’ factor, I really liked the art and the little asides the main character, Roan, makes. Little things in the margins that I remember writing in my school notes or in my journals as a kid that really help make the book seem more ‘real’.
While it reads a bit more episodic than as one overarching story, I don’t think it suffered from that. This would make a great read for a kid in between classes, or on the school bus.