Star Wars: Jedi Academy

illus. by Jeffrey Brown. 160p. Scholastic. 2013. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780545505178. LC 2013931939.
Gr 3–8—Roan Novachez has been personally invited by Yoda to attend Jedi Academy, but he's afraid that he'll flunk out and have to attend the Agriculture Academy on Tatooine next year. This Diary of a Wimpy Kid-like graphic novel follows Roan's adventures from the summer after elementary school through his first year at the academy as he makes friends (and enemies) and struggles to learn how to use the Force. Interspersed throughout the panels depicting events referred to in the diary are other items of interest, such as the boy's schedule and report card. The book's style matched with the popular subject will guarantee circulation in any collection. With the exception of Yoda, Brown has created an entirely new cast of characters set in the Star Wars universe around the events of The Phantom Menace. While it might be disappointing for those familiar with this world to see scant representation of beloved characters, it makes the book an easy starting point for new fans. There are plenty of references to other elements (the T-16 Skyhopper and Jedi training remotes, for example) for diehards to get excited about. Brown combines Star Wars excitement with real-life kid problems to make a fresh, inspiring, and humorous take on the franchise.—J. M. Poole, Webster Public Library, NY
Roan's experiences as a new student at the Jedi Academy turn out to be much the same as those anyone might face when starting middle school, albeit learning to use the Force and building a light saber sound snazzier. Told via cartoon strips, journal entries, letters, emails, and more, this is a slight, conventional school story of finding friends and building self-confidence.

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