Star Wars: Jedi Academy #2. Jeffrey Brown. July 29, 2014. Scholastic Inc. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Middle school was an awkward point in time for most of us–for this Jedi fangirl, especially. I went to a Catholic private school in the Bronx (though, I wish now it was a Jedi Academy), where my main focus was on my grades. Despite being studious, I was constantly surrounded by middle school drama and angst. I suffered through the occasional crush and the teasing remarks towards my weight and appearance, most of which continue to affect me today. All that said, middle school was a unique experience, and it’s intriguing to see that much of it hasn’t changed, even in that galaxy far, far away.
Brown puts forth another spectacular tale following the ups and downs of Roan Novachez’s journey through his second year at Jedi Academy. He faces some unexpected challenges: a teacher he believes is out to get him, girl problems, bullying, falling in with the wrong crowd, and mistreating his best friend. The characters, although placed in a fictional universe, reflect real children and situations in today’s society. Take the Holobook, for example, which is the equivalent to Facebook. There were instances of cyberbullying, where certain characters wrote mean comments directed towards their classmates. Brown did a sensational job portraying this common practice currently taking place in social media and its repercussions. It demonstrates to children that it’s wrong to treat others in ill-mannered ways, and it also shows parents what could be happening to their own child(ren) in an online space.
Another wonderful aspect of Brown’s book is how it incorporates a moral (or several morals) into the story. As the reader, you see the events develop through Roan’s perspective, and as a result, you learn the ultimate lesson with him: communication is key. The reason Roan had a difficult year back at school was because he didn’t communicate well with his friends. Without proper communication, things are misconstrued and could lead you down a dark path (to the Dark Side).
The humor is warm and exactly on point with what a young child would find funny. Just like its predecessor, the art is endearing and inspirational because now I want to pick up my own pencil and sketch out my own stories. Comprised of journal entries, taped letters, sketches, holomails, flyers, and more, Brown’s sequel is certainly a book for all ages with lots of fun and learning to be had.
Star Wars: Jedi Academy #2 will be released on July 29, 2014. You can pre-order it today!
This review can also be found at Goodreads.