Star Wars: Jedi Academy was so fun! I ran into a couple at ALA who had gotten a copy, and gotten it signed/illustrated by Jeffrey Brown. They were so geeked out about meeting him, I HAD to look into it more.
Told from the perspective of artistic young Roan, we see the galactic universe through the eyes of a middle-school boy from Tatooine. Roan wants to get into Pilot Academy, like his Dad and older brother Davin. However, he is rejected. Resigned to attending the local Agricultural School, he is surprised to get an acceptance letter from Master Yoda to...Jedi Academy! Through entries in Roan's journal, and graphic panels, we see Padawan Roan hone his skills in light-sabering and using The Force (as well as dealing with bullies, his first crush, and trying to understand Master Yoda!)
I love how Brown used so many mediums to tell this story. There are the journal entries, and the panels...but there are also bits from the student newspaper, Jedi Academy FAQs, yearbook-esque staff pictures, report cards, sign-up sheets...it's like a journal-scrapbook (instructions on how to make your own at the end!) It was kind of like...Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, but still its very own thing.
And it's funny! There are so many little quips, and especially drawings that made me snicker. There was something about algebra being used in real life (I hate math, so I liked that one). And the light saber teacher is also the Home Ec teacher. There are lots of Ewoks...and pictures of Endor. I have a bit of an Ewok obsession, so that made me happy. And the Librarian is Librarian Lackbar (sadly, no "It's a TRAP!" exclamations, though).
I can already think of about 20 middle-grade boys I'll be recommending this to- as well as a few adults. Brown has two other graphic novels out, too, that I need to check out now: Darth Vader and Son, and Vader's Little Princess.
Also, I dare you to read it without getting this stuck in your head:
I'd recommend this to middle-grade (and younger...and up) guys, fans of Star Wars, and those who'd like to learn a bit about Star Wars' more obscure characters.
Star Wars: Jedi Academy is published by Scholastic. Digital ARC provided by NetGalley.
Release Date: 08.27.13