Why You Should Be Reading the Jedi Academy Series – The Phantom Bully (Spoiler-Free Book Review)

Maybe this book is called The Phantom Bully because it bullies it’s way unknowingly into your heart.  Not really unknowingly if you’ve read the other books in the series.  Jeffrey Brown has crafted yet another fun, easy-to-read tale about the life of a young padawan.  Through the eyes of young Roan Novachez we traverse the trials and tribulations of a middle school student just trying to make it to the end of the year.  Set in thStar Wars universe, the book is replete with tons of references to people, places, and things from the movies, so the avid fan will find plenty of little nuggets to nibble on throughout the book.  But for the child (or parent) who has never seen a Star Wars movie, they’ll find it’s a coming-of-age story done in a creative and insightful way.

The cover of Jeffrey Brown's newest installment of Jedi Academy
The cover of Jeffrey Brown’s newest installment of Jedi Academy

Title: Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully
Author: Jeffrey Brown
Cost: $12.99
Age: 8-12 (or any Star Wars fan who loves funny books that are good to read)
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Genre: Humor, Star Wars, Children’s Book

Scholastic sent me a copy for review of this terrific book and if you’ve read the others, it’s a fitting end to Roan’s travels through middle school.  In each of the three books, Roan has had to navigate different problems that any kid growing up would be familiar with.  Again, utilizing a style that readers have become familiar with, Brown intersperses narrative in the form of journals, images as if we’re watching the action happen through comic book-like storytelling, and fun mixes between the two like a peek at Roan’s personal data pad or the school newsletter.

Alternate versions of covers to The Phantom Bully from Jeffrey's website jeffreybrowncomics@blogspot.com
Alternate versions of covers to The Phantom Bully from Jeffrey’s website jeffreybrowncomics@blogspot.com

This particular book, as the title suggests, has Roan needing to deal with a school bully and how he’s able to navigate those tricky waters with the help of his friends.  It also tackles the subjects of budding romantic relationships, how people can change over time if you give them a chance, and not judging someone without getting to know them.  It does ALL of this in less than 200 pages that fly by without knowing it. What I loved about all three Jedi Academy books is that Brown also incorporates Roan’s family – not as adversaries or as side notes as is often the case in books for this age group, but as vital and important parts of Roan’s life.

If you’re wondering who this book would appeal to (or for that matter the series) it appeals to everyone!  My 11-year old daughter has read every single one with me and loved them all.  I loved them even though I’m almost quadruple times the “age range” for the book.  I’m sure you’ll love them, too.  It seems that this one will be the final Jedi Academy book for a while based on an interview I did with Jeffrey about his sojourn into the Star Wars universe, but who knows?  Maybe a Roan in high school book will eventually be on the horizon.  Until then, savor these books!

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