Thursday, 5 December 2013

Review: Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown

I love, love, LOVE this book. A middle-grade graphic novel with personality, a unique idea, wit, intelligence, and great Star Wars humour. I have minimal knowledge of Star Wars, but that didn't make the book any less enjoyable. The characters--human, alien, and droid--are recognizable, from ewoks to wookies to Darth Maul faces. If nothing else, they can learn a great deal from this book and be more eager to watch the films.

The humour of this book was a huge factor of my enjoyment. Brown makes many jokes about Yoda's age, his H.P.Ms (hmms per minute) and his aloofness. He jokes about how anyone could understand a wookie, about the Force, and many other parts of Star Wars culture. The book had me grinning like a fool through most of it, and chuckling quietly during my morning commute.

Roan's experience at Jedi Academy is so incredibly relatable to kids everywhere. It covers a multitude of social issues and childhood experiences that EVERYONE goes through. Roan's perseverance and courage and attitude are admirable.

Roan transfers to Jedi Academy, starting late into a new school. He's thrown into the deep end and feels very insecure and out of place. He is unsure of who his friends are and how to make friends. He worries about making bad impressions, of failing, and of disappointing others. He also develops feelings for a girl, makes enemies, and finds ways to get involved and be happy at school. The book teaches kids important life lessons like how to deal with bullies and how to deal with the ups and downs of being the new kid and of not fitting in. It teaches you that even when life throws you a curveball, things will work out. I am impressed by the gentle life lessons that are woven into every page.

Not only is Jedi Academy funny and relatable, but you can share with the next generation the wonderful franchise that is Star Wars. The book IS middle grade, but I enjoyed it as an adult. It speaks to both boys and girls, although I feel Star Wars will weigh better with middle grade boys.

I read this book in one sitting. It's written in journal and regular graphic novel format, and the book has a tiny section at the end that encourages kids to start journalling on their own--a very healthy exercise! The drawings and hand-written journal entries are endearing and better the reading experience and makes it easier to relate to Roan as someone just like them.

I absolutely LOVED this book. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time, and I think it's the best title that Scholastic has published this year!

I'm putting this book up in my ranks alongside JK Rowling and Rick Riordan!


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