#IMWAYR – March 7, 2016

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at BookDate, and was adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. This weekly roundup is a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

starwars

Title: Star Wars: A New Hope The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy
Author: Alexandra Bracken 
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Novel

My Two CentsWhen I was in high school, THREE of my closest friends were Star Wars fanatics. These girls could quote entire scenes of dialogue from the original trilogy with ease, and possessed an encyclopedic amount of trivia knowledge. They also read extensively from the massive range of Star Wars novels available, which carried on the stories of Luke, Leia, Han Solo and their children.

Star Wars is big business at my library – the range of Star Wars books available for young readers has simply exploded in recent years. Children can pick from a range of early readers, picture books, graphic novels, encyclopedias, nonfiction guides and novels based on the original trilogy, the clone wars, Star Wars rebels, LEGO Star Wars, and even Angry Birds Star Wars. Unfortunately, many of these books seem designed simply to move product and make a profit, and they aren’t typically particularly well written or original.

I came across The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy while planning a series of elementary school book talks. I was looking for novels that would excite and entice young readers while still providing a bit of substance and quality. I was intrigued by the title and the cover, and decided to give this book a go. Boy, am I glad I did!

This book is pretty darn awesome. Alexandra Bracken brings some old-fashioned joy and excitement to this space-age fairy tale, fleshing out the three main characters (Leia Organa, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, in case you were wondering) and providing more insight into their personalities and their motivations. I really enjoyed getting to know more about Princess Leia, who always feels like a bit of afterthought in the original series. The destruction of her home planet is a major event in the original film, and The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy finally tackles this traumatic incident in more detail, giving more insight into Leia’s emotions and her experience. You really feel like you’re finally getting to know the individuals behind the movie tropes.

This fabulous title will appeal to all sorts of readers, both male and female. Existing Star Wars fans will enjoy the fact that the story remains true to the original movies while adding exciting extra details. Still, it’s written with enough skill and style to still be interesting to non-fans, who will simply get an exciting, entertaining futuristic fairy tale adventure.

As a children’s librarian, finding a book like this feels like a win – it’s got major cover appeal – STAR WARS!! – but it’s still well written. Definitely worth checking out if you like a good old fashioned adventure yarn. 🙂

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25 thoughts on “#IMWAYR – March 7, 2016

    • Oh boy, Star Wars craziness is a big deal in my library, too. As a librarian you sometimes feel a bit guilty about booktalking books like this, it just feels a bit like cheating because the books just sell themselves. “Hi guys, I’ve got a new book about Star Wa-” and the book is checked out. 😉

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  1. Nice to see that this is well written. There is so much Star Wars out there it must be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. I do like the cover of this one, and the emphasis on Leia. Long overdue I imagine and nice to get in her head I would think.

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  2. I’m glad for this review, Jane. I bought a pack of Golden Books for a granddaughter, who is four & much in love with the Star Wars movie already. I’ll keep this book in mind for later, glad you shared that it’s a stand-out story.

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    • It’s amazing how early kids seem to fall in love with Star Wars! I get kindergarteners who know all the names of the different characters, fascinating how a 40+ year old story can still excite and entertain different generations of kids. We all just love a good fairy tale!

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    • I’m the same way, I don’t think I would’ve read this if I didn’t work with Star Wars-obsessed kids, but that’s one of the best parts of being a librarian – you’re always discovering new books you otherwise probably wouldn’t have considered!

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  3. Yea for quality books that tie into an exciting story kids already love! I hooked a lot of readers onto Gae Polisner’s Pull of Gravity with its Star Wars connection. I haven’t kept up with the Star Wars series, but this book sounds worth a look. And maybe I’ll get around to watching the latest movie eventually, too.

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    • Oh yes, sometimes it’s all about the lure – if we can just get some of these books into kids hands, the books will talk for themselves, but it’s getting past that initial reluctance that can be the hardest part! I’m not a huge Star Wars fan but I enjoyed the latest movie, it’s got a sense of humour and some of that campy fun that I think really appeals to people about Star Wars.

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    • I’m always surprised by the range of kids that seem into Star Wars, we’ve got little guys reading Star Wars early readers that I’m pretty sure are too young to have seen the films, I guess they must be watching Star Wars cartoons, or maybe have older siblings who are fans? It’s pretty amazing how pervasive this fandom is, it’s amazing that it seems to have remained so popular for 40+ years!

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  4. So many of my students enjoy the Star Wars books. At this point, it’s mostly boys that read these books. This looks like a great book to check out, since it looks like it appeals to both boys and girls. I have to admit I’ve not read any of the Star Wars books because I’ve not kept up on the films and I’ve always assumed that if you haven’t watched these movies, you’re not going to be able to follow the books. But it looks like I should give this one a try! Thanks for the tip! Have a great week!

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    • This is a nice series for non-Star Wars fans too, because it’s definitely approachable even if you know nothing about the films and just want to read a fun science fiction fairy tale. Always happy to share a new kid-pleasing title. 🙂

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  5. Wow! Why haven’t I heard of The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy? I am looking for that at the library tomorrow. I’m always searching for new things for boys. My 9 year old is currently making his way through the Origami Yoda series.

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  6. The timing for this book seems perfect especially with the new Star Wars movie – I have friends who are going through practically all of the Star Wars novelization that exist out there – so yes, there is a huge market for these novels. 🙂

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  7. I’m glad to hear that The Princess, The Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy is a good read! My son has what I think is another book in that set that focuses on Luke. We will have to keep an eye out for this one too (Plus the author wrote my current read!)

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