So You Want to Be A Jedi? (spoiler-free book review)

What is it like to be a Jedi? If you read Adam Gidwitz’ retelling of the classic The Empire Strikes Back, you’ll definitely have some idea – or you just might turn out to be Jedi material. Adam was tapped by the folks at Disney Press to write the second installment of the original Star Wars trilogy for a new generation.  Each author in the series put their own twist on the Star Wars universe, and Adam was no different.  Alexandra Bracken told the story of A New Hope from the point of view of Leia, Han, and Luke in The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy.  Tom Angleberger told the story of Return of the Jedi from a narrator’s point of view in his take on Return of the Jedi titled Beware the Power of The Dark Side!  And Adam told the story largely from YOUR point of view – well if you were Luke Skywalker.

So You Want to Be A Jedi? - a retelling of the Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back
So You Want to Be A Jedi? – a retelling of the Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back

Title: So You Want to Be A Jedi?
Author: Adam Gidwitz
Cost: $17.99
Age: 8-12 (it’s recommended for this age group but every Star Wars fan will love this book)
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Genre: Star Wars, fiction

Luke and Han on the ice planet Hoth
Luke and Han on the ice planet Hoth

Adam’s book has you step into the shoes of Luke Skywalker and experience his journey from X-Wing pilot to full fledged Jedi.  Although there are other scenes without Luke where the story is told in a more traditional format, Adam explores the world as if you were Luke himself and his parts are told in the 2nd person format.  The book is sort of a guide to becoming a Jedi and is written with that vein in mind.  The narrator will break in and make comments when it is appropriate or not appropriate for Jedi training – like the part where he says he is going to skip all the mushy parts of the story because it doesn’t add to your training.  Parts like that add a unique flavor to the storytelling.

Luke in training on the planet of Dagobah
Luke in training on the planet of Dagobah

In between chapters, Adam has Jedi training lessons that begin with physical challenges like breathing techniques and balance, but also explore some deeper issues like compassion, self-control, and concentration.  It makes for an interesting read and a natural break in the story.   The Jedi training techniques are geared not so much at actually trying to make you a Jedi like in the movies, but to be a Jedi in spirit – filled with calmness, understanding, and control.  Some of the lessons are aimed at a more sophisticated level of character building, but done in a way that is accessible to the middle school aged student.

This book will make you think.  At the least it will make you thoughtful.  At best, it might along the way make you a better person.  And it will tell you a very interesting story at the same time.  If you would like to read a book that really makes you think and find out what happens next in the story of Luke, Leia, and Han, pick up So You Want to Be A Jedi? when it comes out.

So You Want to Be A Jedi? is being released this Tuesday on September 22nd along with Alexandra Bracken’s The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy and Tom Angleberger’s Beware the Power of the Dark Side! 

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