Sunday, July 28, 2013
StarWars: Jedi Academy, by Jeffrey Brown
Roan Novachez has always known that he is "destined to attend Pilot Academy Middle School and become the GREATEST star pilot in the GALAXY." (p. 1) But destiny seems to take a wrong turn for most of us in middle school, doesn't it? Roan's friends all start receiving their acceptances to the academy, but his letter seems to be taking longer than everyone else's. Instead of following his brother Dav's footsteps into the pilot life, Roan receives his rejection letter from the school. He is devastated.
Soon, however, he receives a letter from the Jedi Academy. Complete with a hand written note by Yoda himself, Roan is invited to attend the school even though most kids are accepted when they are toddlers and Roan himself didn't even apply. It seems rather curious.
When Roan gets to the academy, he really feels like a fish out of water. The other kids been there for a while, and they all seem to be able to use the force in controlled ways. Roan is working on figuring out not only the force, but how to navigate the typical middle school things that all kids deal with no matter what planet they are from. Things like dealing with bullies, figuring out where to sit in the cafeteria, opening his combination lock, and navigating a dance! There are some things unique to Roan's situation as well - trying to understand what the heck Yoda is talking about, wielding a light saber, surviving a camping trip involving Wookies!
This is a fun and laugh-out-loud look into middle school that happens to be situated in a Star Wars culture. Readers needn't be super well versed in Star Wars to enjoy Roan's adventures. The cover will definitely attract younger readers, but I do think that the audience that will get the most enjoyment out of the story are 4th-6th graders who are wading into similar waters.