WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully by Jeffrey Brown
Type: Children’s, Science Fiction
Basic Idea: Roan Novechez is in his last year of middle school and plans to make it the best year ever, even if he has to put up with the shenanigans of other students.
Plot: 2½/5 Below Average: I was actually disappointed. The one word that could be used to sum up the plot was predictable. I guess that wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that the author was trying to make it sound like it wasn’t predictable or as if there would be these big twists, but it wasn’t.
Graphics: 3/5 Average: The graphic novel uses the same soft cartoon style as the earlier books did, though perhaps the fineness and detail have gotten better over time.
Moral: 3/5 Good Morals: The moral was change for the good. Several characters that had bad intentions throughout the course of the book change. Besides this were the little morals found throughout the series of self-control and hard work, and there was less emphasis on the force than usual, though it was still mentioned.
Overall: 3/5 Average: The story in this one tended to be a bit more predictable than the other ones, in my opinion. Those wanting to continue the series might want to read it, but it’s wasn’t really that interesting, even for a kid’s book.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Brief, Light Romance and Kissing: Boys are shirtless and girls are in one piece swimsuits at the pool. A boy is dating a girl and goes two dates with her. Several other characters go on dates as well. An unmarried boy and girl kiss on the mouth twice, and a girl tries to kiss a boys cheek but gets his hair. A boy and girl hold hands. A boy and girl engage in flirty behavior, like playful head bonking and staring at each other longingly. A boy wonders if he forgot to pack underwear.
A boy gets an e-mail that he will do butt training to fart more. An animal pees on a girl. A boy jokes that he did not poop his pants.
Violence: 1/5 Brief, Light Violence: Two boys engage in a light saber duel. Boys and girl friendlily and antagonistically elbow each other. A girl hits people with a dodge ball. A boy trips, pushes, and snaps a towel at another boy. A person crashes onto another one. A boy shows a picture of him accidentally dropping a rock on someone’s foot.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Brief Misuse: “Geez” is said once. A form of “suck” is used at least once.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: ½/5 Brief Mention: A boy falls and breaks his arm. Light saber fights are talked about in speech. A boy gets hurt falling off a couch. Space ships are blown up in a comic. A picture is shown of someone getting a shot. A man says improper hard work can be painful. A boy fakes tripping and getting hurt. Strange food includes body parts like eyeballs. A boy mentions blowing things up. A boy talks about doing dangers light saber tricks in class. A boy says he almost threw up from nervousness. “Pass out” is used for descriptive purposes.
Religious Issues: 2/5 Some Light Problems: Characters use the force to lift, find, and identify things, and it is talked about as something to trust in. A boy meditates, and a joke is told about making that his career. Characters go to a “sacred place,” that someone says is sacred partially because of its untouched nature, while others don’t know why it is considered sacred. A recommended career for the children is seer. Fate is briefly mentioned once.
Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: A boy is shown doing a magic trick with a top hat. “Magician” and “zombie” are used for descriptive purposes.
Others: A girl mentions she is “studying dance” in school, and she dances in a talent show. The dance is barely shown. A girl gets the “Best Victory Dance” award. A boy is a D.J., and says he makes remixes. A man plays the drums and guitar. A boy says he is a vegetarian because he doesn’t want to hurt animals.
Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: Overall it is a clean book, though parents may find problems with the dating aspects aimed at children and the trust and use of the force.