Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Return of the Padawan by Jeff Brown

Return of the Padawan by Jeff Brown. Star Wars: Jedi Academy #2. 176 p. Scholastic Inc., July, 2014. 9780545621250. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review)

Roan Novachez is really looking forward to returning the Jedi Academy for his second year. He is so over his initial reluctance to attend this school instead of flight school and is looking forward to pilot training at Jedi Academy. Indeed, he complains to his older brother that his new friends get him in a way his home friends no longer do. So it is with newfound confidence that Roan returns and it isn't long before things begin to backfire on him. One by one, his friends distance themselves as misunderstandings pile up. His teachers are hard on him, especially Mr. Garfield, his flight instructor. The only thing that seems to be going Roan's way is the fact that the class bullies aren't picking on him much. In fact, they seem to think he's kind of cool. Could they be leading Roan to the Dark Side?

Book one of this clever and entertaining series is already wildly popular at my school, especially among fifth graders. Return of the Padawan has wimp appeal, appeal for graphic novel fans, appeal for fans of Star Wars and appeal for anyone who wants a quick and funny but satisfying read. The art is black and white and the diary is hand-lettered. The situations mirror middle school - bad food at lunch, a grumpy librarian, group projects, crushes, wrong conclusions, missing class pets, and a Wookie gym teacher. Star Wars fans will enjoy the riffs on the Star Wars characters. Expect patrons to return this with the question, "Is book 3 out yet?" I'm looking forward to it.

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